- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I’m a sucker for potpies. Everything from the enticing aroma of the browning crust to the savory filling beckons me. This is the kind of food that doesn’t come from a box or drive- through window.

It’s been a long time since I tackled this dish: too much trouble for a Two’s Company kitchen was my reasoning. Fortunately, Elinor Klivans helped me see the error of my thinking.

“Potpies are great for people who don’t want to juggle two or three dishes. You get everything in one dish. It’s like a casserole with a crust,” says Miss Klivans, a cookbook author in Camden, Maine.

As a baker, Miss Klivans’ interest in potpies was inspired by her love of pie in general. “I hate a soggy crust and you never get a soggy crust with a potpie,” says Miss Klivans, author of “Potpies” (Chronicle Books).

What you also get is your favorite foods in a new package. If you’re a recycling devotee, think of a potpie as a delicious way to transform leftovers into a yummy new dish.

The following recipe is an adaptation of Miss Klivans’ farmers market chicken potpie. This version calls for raw chicken with notes on substituting cooked chicken.

Autumn harvest chicken pie

Crust (recipe follows)

5 tablespoons flour, divided, plus more for work space

Salt and pepper to taste

4 small boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of all fat

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 tablespoons butter, divided

1 cup sliced mushrooms

3/4 cup frozen green peas

3/4 cup frozen corn kernels

1/4 teaspoon crushed dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1½ cups chicken broth

Prepare dough for crust.

Place 2 tablespoons flour on a plate. Season with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in seasoned flour.

Heat oil in large skillet. Add chicken and cook at medium-high heat for 5 to 7 minutes per side, or until done. Remove chicken. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces.

Add 1 tablespoon butter to skillet. Add mushrooms, peas, corn, thyme and paprika. Cook for 5 minutes or until vegetables are thawed. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Allow to melt. Stir in 3 tablespoons flour and mix to incorporate into butter. Stir in chicken broth. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until thickened. Stir in cooked chicken. Season with salt and pepper.

Spoon chicken mixture into 1-quart baking dish. Lightly dust a work surface with flour. Roll out dough 1 inch larger in diameter than the top of the baking dish. Gently lift the dough and place over the baking dish.

Flute edges of dough around the inside rim of the dish. Make 2 slashes in the dough for steam to escape.

Bake in preheated 400-degree oven for 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Makes 2 servings.

Note: If desired, substitute 1½ cups of cooked, diced chicken for the chicken thighs. Skip the steps in which you cook the chicken and start by cooking the vegetables in butter.

CRUST:

3/4 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup cold shortening,

cut into small pieces

2 to 3 tablespoons ice cold water

Stir together flour and salt in a bowl. Cut in shortening until mixture is in small crumbs. Stir in water, a little bit at a time, and gently stir dough until it comes together. Form into a ball; flatten to a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate while making filling.

Bev Bennett is the author of “30-Minute Meals for Dummies” (John Wiley & Sons).

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