No Rushing A Good Potpie


A favorite for potlucks and family suppers alike is chicken pie made entirely from scratch. A potpie -- a main-dish pie filled with poultry or meat and vegetables -- takes time to put together but can be prepared in stages, making it ideal for starting the weekend before a busy week. You can simmer the chicken and prepare the filling and pastry up to two days ahead. On the day you assemble the pie, let the filling warm almost to room temperature while you roll out the pastry topping.

Chicken Pie

Serves 6

1 frying chicken (3 1/2 pounds)

1 small onion, coarsely chopped

1 medium carrot, cut into 1/2 -inch slices

2 sprigs parsley

1/2 bay leaf

1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

3 cups water

1/4 cup butter

1 small onion, finely chopped

1/4 pound mushrooms, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons flour

dash each: white pepper and nutmeg

1/2 cup julienne ham

1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

pastry topping (your own recipe)

1 egg white

To prepare chicken, quarter and place in Dutch oven. Add onion, carrot, parsley, half a bay leaf, celery stalk, salt, thyme and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer gently until chicken is done and very tender (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours). Strain and reserve broth; measure 1 1/2 cups of broth for pie; reserve remainder for another use. Skin and bone chicken; cut meat into bite-sized chunks.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion and mushrooms; cook until mushrooms brown lightly. Stir in flour, white pepper and nutmeg, cooking until bubbly. Remove from heat and gradually stir in reserved 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth. Return to heat and cook, stirring, until mixture is thickened.

Mix in chicken pieces, ham strips and peas. Taste, and add salt if needed. Spread chicken mixture in a 10-by-2-inch glass or ceramic deep-dish pie plate or any ovenproof dish with a 6-cup capacity, adjusting size of crust to fit top of dish.

Roll out your pastry to a 12-inch circle. Place over chicken mixture; trim edge so that it extends about 3/4 inch beyond edge of bakeware, saving pastry scraps for cut-out decorations, if desired. Fold pastry edge under, flush with edge of bakeware; flute edge if using pie plate or press firmly against edge of baking dish. Cut slits in top for steam to escape.

Beat egg white with 1 teaspoon water. Brush over top of crust. Bake until pastry is well browned and filling bubbles (25 to 30 minutes).

Pub Date: 04/11/99

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