Traverse City Record-Eagle


Garlic Lemon & Dill Chicken Pot Pies

Rebecca LindamoodI love pie. It’s a happy food. It’s the kind of food that makes you feel like God’s in his heaven and all’s right with the world. While I dig a sweet pie as much as Georgie Porgie*, I do believe savoury pies get short-shrift. Today, I’m representing for Team Savoury Pie!

*My mother bent over backwards to give me all the food my little pea-pickin’ heart desired on my birthday every year. And most years, when she asked what kind of cake I wanted I replied, “Blueberry Pie.” My poor mother. The one thing she had a mortal dread of preparing; pie crust. And every year I requested it. I was a horrid child.

My love of savoury pies has been pretty well documented (ahem). Honestly. How could you possibly go wrong with a tender crust, a luxurious sauce of some sort and loads of tasty fillings? The answer is YOU CAN’T! It’s not possible.

As for as the crust on pot pies, I like a different crust than I do for my fruit pies.  For fruit pies, I go for flaky and tender. For meat pies and other savouries, I like a crust that’s easier to work with — more forgiving, if you will — and still tender. For as long as she’s been making them — lo, these decades — my Grandma has used a hot water stirred dough for her Yooper pasties and pasty pies. And you’d better believe me, all the food that’s ever come out of my Grandma’s kitchen is all the convincing I need.

The basic procedure is vastly different than standard pie crust. Whereas with the standard you use cold fat and cut it in, working the dough as little as possible, with the stirred dough, you melt boiling water and fat together then beat in the remaining ingredients.

The resulting dough is incredibly easy to roll out and re-rollable (unlike standard dough). When baked, it manages to be sturdy enough to hold meat, gravy, vegetables and whatnot while still being tender as a standard pie crust.

If you were to compare a baked standard crust to a stirred crust, you’d find the standard crust to be more flaky but about equal in tenderness. If you’re a pie-crust novice, or pie-crust-o-phobe, this is the one to make as your starter crust. It’s a kinder, gentler dough for beginners.

For the fillings in this little beauty, I went in a Greek-inspired direction with a classic combination of lemon and garlic and dill, oh my!  Just for a moment think about plunging a spoon down through a tender pastry crust into a creamy sauce full of chicken, and potatoes and peas. Bright, springy lemon with fresh-tasting dill keeps the creamy garlic sauce from tasting heavy or overbearing.

While I used peas as the green vegetable  for taste, texture and geometry (SPHERES!)  in this marvelous little pot pie, you can substitute cooked green beans, asparagus or even carrots if you so desire. You’re not bound by cosine laws to keep the peas. I release you from any guilt or angst or math agita regarding peas. You are absolved.

Creamy Garlic Lemon and Dill Chicken Pot Pies

Click here and scroll to the bottom for an easy-print version of this recipe!

Yield: One large pot pie or 12 individual pot pies. There will be extra filling, but you can most definitely use the leftovers in a multitude of ways. Spoon over hot buttermilk biscuits or hearty toast for a serious brunch. Fill savoury crepes and top with minced parsley. Oh sure, you can halve or even quarter it, but where’s the fun in that?

Ingredients for crust (from the King Arthur Flour Tourtiere recipe):

  • 1-1/2 cups (9-3/4 ounces) vegetable shortening or (6 ounces) lard
  • 2/3 cup (4-3/4 ounces) boiling water
  • 4-1/2 cups (1 pound, 3 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1  teaspoon salt

Ingredients for filling:

  • 3/4 cup (12 ounces by weight) butter
  • 1 cup (4-1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 9 cups whole milk
  • 8 cups diced or shredded cooked chicken (I prefer a mix of white and dark meat for best flavor and texture.)
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and minced
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 4 leftover large baked potatoes (or the equivalent thereof of cooked potatoes. For these pies I used leftover Hasselback potatoes.) You can opt to use the peels or not, but either way, cut the potatoes into small cubes.
  • 5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or good quality bottled lemon juice)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried dill weed (or 3 Tablespoons fresh, minced dill)
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery seed
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Begin by making the pastry dough. Stir together the shortening and boiling water in a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer) until the shortening is fully melted and combined with the water.  It will probably be a thick, milky white liquid at that point.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix together on low (either with a stand mixer or by hand) until a smooth dough forms.  Divide in two and pat each half into a smooth disc on a piece of plastic wrap. Wrap tightly and refrigerate while preparing the filling.

To prepare the filling, melt the butter over medium heat in a large, heavy-bottomed stockpot.  Whisk the flour in, little by little, until smooth and bubbly. After it becomes bubbly, cook and whisk constantly for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk until completely smooth. Heat gently until the sauce is bubbling and thickened. Stir in the chicken, peas, and potatoes.  Continue cooking and stirring until heated through. Stir in remaining ingredients and remove the stockpot from the heat.

Cover and return to the pastry.

To make one large pie:

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Take one disc and cut it in half with a bench knife. Scatter flour over a clean counter and roll one half of the disc into an approximately 12-inch circle. Use the bench knife to fold it gently in half and then in half again. Place the pointy edge of the folded dough in the center of a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate.  Unfold the pie dough so it covers the pie plate. If needed, stretch or squash the dough so that it covers the whole plate and extends up a bit over the edges.  Spoon the filling into the prepared dough in the pie plate so that it is slightly mounded.

Roll the other half of the disc into a 9-inch circle and cut vents in the circle. Again, use a bench knife to fold the circle in half and in half again, place the pointy end of the dough at the very center of the filled pie plate and unfold the dough to cover the filling. Crimp the lower and upper crusts together.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until the upper crust is deep golden  brown at the edges, light golden brown in the center, and the filling can be seen to be bubbling through the vent holes. Transfer pie plate to a cooling rack and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.  To serve, use a deep spoon to scoop the pot pie into bowls.

To Make 12 (or 24) Individual Pies:

To make these, you need 12 wide-mouth 1/2-pint (8 ounce capacity) or 24 jelly (4 ounce) canning jars. Do not use jars that are not heat-proof.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Take one disc of dough and cut in half.  Roll out one half of the dough to a thickness of about 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch and use the screw-top ring from a wide-mouth jar to cut 12 rounds (or 24, depending on the size you’re making).

Pull away the excess dough and break off pieces to begin lining the jars. First, cover the inside bottom of the jar, using your fingers to squish seams together.

Continue grabbing pieces of dough to line up the insides of the jars to within about a 1/4-inch from the upper rim. When you run out of rolled pieces, pinch off pieces from the remaining dough disc and line the remaining jars.

Spoon filling into the dough-lined jars to within 1/4-inch of the top of the dough (not the top of the jars!).  Cut vent holes into the pre-cut discs and lay gently on the filling in the jars. Use your fingers or a fork to crimp the lower dough to the upper disc.  If you plan to freeze the pies before cooking, be certain to keep the dough and filling fully below the rim of the jar. The three pot pies in the forefront of the picture below are freezer-friendly, but the back two are definitely not.

Place jars on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, or until the edges of the upper crust are deep golden brown and the top is lightly browned. The crust inside the jars should look a very pale gold and the filling should be visibly bubbling when you look into the vent holes.

Transfer the jars from the baking sheet to a wire rack and let cool 10 minutes before serving. To keep the jars from sliding on the serving plates, you may want to put a damp hand towel or piece of moistened paper towel between the jars the the plates.

To Freeze Individual Pies:

Refrigerate the filled jars, unbaked and uncovered, until chilled through.  Fix two-piece canning lids onto the jars, label and freeze.

To bake from frozen, remove the two-piece lids and place on a rimmed baking sheet and into a cold oven.  Set the oven for 375°F and let it come up to temperature. Bake for 30 minutes after the oven reaches temperature or or until the edges of the upper crust are deep golden brown and the top is lightly browned. The crust inside the jars should look a very pale gold and the filling should be visibly bubbling when you look into the vent holes.

Transfer the jars from the baking sheet to a wire rack and let cool 10 minutes before serving. To keep the jars from sliding on the serving plates, you may want to put a damp hand towel or piece of moistened paper towel between the jars the the plates.

Dig in!

Look inside that little pot pie. Creamy, hearty, bright and garlicky; Go Team Savoury Pie!

The post above is taken from Rebecca Lindamood’s blog archives. For her most recent recipes, kitchen tips and parenting adventures, visit Rebecca also writes a monthly column in the Record-Eagle’s Food section.

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