Last week I received an email from the lovely Sarah of The Brooklyn Nester inviting me to participate in her celebration of National Pie Day. I’m not such a big fan of the sweet stuff, so once I confirmed that a savory submission was okay, I readily agreed.
Generally I rely on good quality all-butter puff pastry or prepared piecrust when I make savory pies, but since the addition of Robo McGee to our family, Mike and I have both been anxious to give homemade pastry dough a spin. Since he’s a little more patient with things like measuring things precisely, we decided that Mike would be in charge of making the dough, while I’d handle the filling.
As it turns out, I had spent some time on Monday making a batch of chicken stock, so I used a pint of that along with a couple of cups of pulled roasted chicken (left over from our last roast bird, which I had frozen and then thawed). A quick inspection of our countertop baskets and refrigerator produce bins turned up a few small potatoes, a leek and a carrot which I needed to use up, so I chopped them and sautéed them in a few tablespoons of butter until soft. I sprinkled a couple of tablespoons of flour over the veggies, stirred it through and let it cook for a few moments to get rid of any raw flour taste, then I added the chicken, stock, a couple of hits of Tabasco and some freshly ground black pepper. When the sauce was thick and the chicken very shreddy, I tasted it to adjust the seasoning, then tossed in a good handful of chopped fresh dill, some chopped chives, and a cup of green peas I had shelled and frozen last summer. With the filling done, I stepped aside and let Mike get to the pastry-making.
I had bookmarked Deb’s “pie crust 101” post in November, and after comparing it with a few others we found online and elsewhere, he decided to give it a try. He substituted an equal amount of butter for the shortening the recipe called for, and omitted the sugar since we wanted a savory crust, but other than that he followed the recipe to the letter. The result: silky dough that was incredibly easy to work with, and which baked up brown and incredibly flaky. It had a rich buttery flavor, but wasn’t at all greasy as some crusts I’ve tried have been.
In a nutshell, this recipe is a winner – easy to prepare, and absolutely delicious. We spent the rest of the evening brainstorming other things we could put into pies or tarts or bake “en croute.” I guess you could say we’re smitten.