M: Before I talk about how much I liked this pie, I want to address yet another question to which I cannot seem to find a satisfying answer. Is there a difference between a chicken pie and a chicken *pot* pie? I figured a quick pass through the old interwebs would provide a quick answer. And it did. In fact, it provided a whole bunch of quick answers, many directly contradicting each other. So I hit the streets, asking anyone who would make eye contact if they could give me a solid answer. And they could. Time and again. And here is what I learned.
- Chicken pot pie has top and bottom crust, chicken pie only top.
- Chicken pot pie has only a top crust, chicken pie top and bottom.
- Chicken pie has only a bottom crust.
- Chicken pot pie has noodles.
- Chicken pot pie does not use pie crust, but is instead topped with biscuits.
- Chicken pie is shallow, pot pie is deep.
- Pot pies are single serving.
- Any pie made with meat is a pot pie.
- The difference in name is only regional (although no regions could be specified).
- There is no such thing as a chicken pie.
- And lastly, one smart aleck who suggested a chicken pie is like a cow pie.
So there you go. The difference between a chicken pie and a chicken pot pie. Needless to say, my ears are still pricked. Tell me convincingly and I will absolutely believe you until someone tells me differently.
Disappointing research aside, I liked this one plenty. First, what a terrific use for the copious root vegetables piling up in the pantry. The author wisely suggests that you make use of what is available rather than prescribe specific vegetables. In my case, it was turnips, parsnips, carrots and sweet potatoes. On a different week, rutabagas or daikon radishes my have made an appearance. I was very pleased with my choices and, although they would probably cook fully inside the pie, roasting them first really brought out the flavors (I also sprinkled them with a bit of sea salt before roasting).
My crust came out a little denser than I might’ve gone for, but who cares? That might’ve been my doing or just the recipe itself, but it didn’t really matter. Including crackings more than made up for it. Come to think of it, I may have been a little heavy handed on that front, but I assure you there were no complaints.
Finally, I’m a sucker for a single recipe that makes use not only of the chicken, but also the resulting stock. This flavorful filling stood up nicely. A top crust only dish runs the risk of winding up like camouflaged soup, but it was thick and luxurious. And how convenient that this recipe yields two pies. That first one disappeared mighty fast.
Recipe: Chicken and Roasted Root Vegetable Pie
Summary: Seasonal root vegetables anchor this versatile and satisfying savory chicken pie. From The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook.
- 2 c Flour
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 1/2 tsp Sugar
- 2 heaping T Pork Cracklings
- 1+1/4 Sticks Unsalted Butter, cubed and chilled
- 4-6 T Ice Water
- 1 (3 1/2 – 4 Lb) Chicken
- Salt and Black Pepper
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 4 c Assorted Root Vegetables (such as parsnips, turnips, rutabaga, sweet potatoes, etc), peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
- 1-2 T Olive Oil
- 3 T Bacon Grease or Butter
- 1 Medium Onion, diced (about 1 1/2 c)
- 2 Celery Stalks, diced (about 1 c)
- Pinch Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- A Few Sprigs Fresh Herbs (such as thyme, rosemary, sage)
- 3 T Flour
- 1 c Milk
- 2 c Chicken Stock (from cooking chicken)
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- 1 Large Egg
- 2 T Water
- Put flour, salt, sugar and cracklings in food processor and pulse to combine.
- Add butter and pulse until pieces of butter are the size of peppercorns.
- Transfer to a large bowl and stir in enough water to form large clumps of dough.
- Divide dough in half, wrap in plastic and chill at least 20 minutes.
- Place chicken, salt and pepper and bay leaf in a large pot.
- Cover with water, bring to boil, then reduce to medium-low heat for one hour.
- Remove chicken from pot and pull meat from bones (once cool enough to handle).
- Cut meat into bite sized pieces and set aside.
- Strain stock and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 365 degrees.
- Place vegetables on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast until tender (about 20 minutes).
- Saute onion and celery with red pepper flakes and herbs in bacon grease in a large pot over medium high heat until onions are soft (about 8 minutes).
- Season with salt and pepper, then add flour, stirring constantly until flour browns slightly (about 4 minutes).
- Slowly stir in milk and cook until thickened (about 3 minutes).
- Stir in stock, season with salt and pepper and bring to boil.
- Remove from heat, remove any herb stems and stir in chicken, root vegetables and zest.
- Let filling cool to room temperature and divide between two 9 in. pie pans.
- Roll out pie dough and top each pie, crimping edges.
- Brush with egg wash and cut a few slits in each crust to let steam escape.
- Bake 25-30 minutes at 375 degrees until golden brown.