Sunday, March 22, 2009

Leftover chicken - GRANDMA'S CHICKEN PIE

John loves roast chicken because he knows it results in a chicken pie a few days later.

I learned to make chicken pie by watching my grandma. She didn’t use exact measurements and neither do I. So, there’s plenty of room for experimentation and adding your personal touch.

It starts with a roast free-range chicken that includes roast potatoes, carrots, onions and garlic, plus the flavourful jelly made from the drippings. Sometimes I add cooked fresh peas when I have them.

Approx. 1/4 cup chicken jelly or butter, or a mix of both
Approx. 1/4 cup flour
Leftover chicken, roast potatoes, carrots and onions
Dried or fresh sage and thyme
Salt and pepper
Double pie crust

In a large skillet, melt the chicken jelly and/or butter.

Chop the roast onions and garlic. If there aren’t a lot of roast onions, chop some fresh onion, too. Add to the melted chicken jelly. Sauté until warm and soft.

Sprinkle on most of the flour and stir with a fork to incorporate. The flour should absorb all of the liquid. If it doesn’t, add a bit more flour. Cook the flour paste until it starts to brown.

Add a cup of water and stir well so that the liquid breaks down all the flour, with no clumps. Simmer until thickened.

While it simmers, chop the roast potatoes, carrots and chicken into small pieces. When the liquid is thickened, add another half cup of water along with the potatoes, carrots and chicken. Stir well. Add the herbs, salt and pepper.

Sage is a powerful herb so don’t add too much. I start with about a teaspoon of crumbled dried sage or 4 big leaves of fresh sage, finely sliced. After cooking awhile, taste to determine if there’s enough sage and add more if you like. Also taste for salt and pepper to determine if more is needed.

By now, the mixture will have absorbed much of the liquid. Add more water so that the meat and vegetables are about half covered. Simmer. The liquid will thicken up again. When it is no longer runny, turn off the heat and let it sit until it cools off a bit.

Place a pie crust in a pie plate. Pour in the cooled meat filling and apply the top crust. Cut slits in the top crust. Bake at 375F for about 30 minutes, until the pie crust is a nice golden brown.

It’s best not to serve the pie piping hot from the oven. Let it rest and cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing.

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