IT TAKES A PIE BIRD TO MAKE A BETTER CHICKEN POT PIE

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My two sisters are as passionate about food as I am.  It’s in our DNA.    During my vacation in my home town we cooked for each other and we cooked together.  It is a marvelous way to spend your vacation.

My older sister has what is known as “a dab hand with pastry”.  She has a special marble counter exactly the right height for rolling pastry.  She uses lard for all her pies – sweet and savory.  Her pastry is so light and flaky it literally drifts on to your plate.  She keeps everything chilled.  Even her flour.  In her opinion using a pie bird is the secret for flaky, tender pastry.

We were making chicken pot pie.  My sister  putting the chicken filling together and rolling out pastry..  My job  – to make the béchamel sauce.  The  sauce that binds.   To add extra flavour to the chicken pot pie I used rich chicken stock instead of milk and made it extra thick. After it was cooked I thinned it with a generous amount of cream.  You do know I have a reputation for gilding the lily.

The pie bird was positioned in the centre of the filling. On went the pasty with a slit cut for the bird.    The edges were crimped.  A little egg wash and the crust was sprinkled with coarse sea salt.    The pie bird vents excess moisture from the pie filling (whether it is chicken and vegetables or fresh fruit), and  prevents a soggy pie crust .  These ceramic birds are available in most well stocked kitchen shops.

Now you know my older sister’s secret for amazing pie crust.  Tell your friends “a little bird told you”!

 

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10 thoughts on “IT TAKES A PIE BIRD TO MAKE A BETTER CHICKEN POT PIE

  1. Good morning my far away friend.
    I can not find the recipe for the sauce of the chicken pot pie. This is something Pops will make for sure.
    Think of you often.

    • We must keep Pops cooking. The classic white sauce is quick to make. One tablespoon butter, one tablespoon flour, one cup of milk, salt and pepper to taste. Melt the butter in a saucepan, mix in the flour and let cook for a minute or two, then add the milk and whisk until thickened. Add a little more flour is you want a thicker sauce. You can substitute rich chicken stock for milk. Bon Appetit dear friend.

  2. Sing a song of sixpence
    A pocket full of rye
    Four and twenty blackbirds
    Baked in a pie

    When the pie was opened
    The birds began to sing!

    I love your sister’s trick, Virginia. Gorgeous crust! Does the little pie birdie have a story?
    ~Theadora

    • Dear Miss T. As child I was quite perplexed about this song. How could the birds be baked in a pie and then still sit up and sing. I don’t know where dear Sister found the pie bird, but she has been using it for more than fifty years. As for that chicken pot pie I shameless admit to have a second helping. XX Virginia

  3. I love to make chicken pot pie and will try your gilded lily sauce the next time. I have heard of having ingredients for pie crusts chilled but never tried it as I never think about it until I am ready to make it. What fun for you and your sisters to cook together like that! The bird is adorable! I remember seeing them in specialty kitchen shops but have never had one. Perhaps the next time I see one I will buy one. Thanks to your sister for the tips!

    You do know where The Tin Man is, don’t you? Spain and now in France! He is posting photos on Facebook and tempting us all with food, wine and marvelous hotels and sights! I can’t wait for his posts on his blog. I do envy him. It was so nice to find one of your posts! Cheers!

    • Chicken Pot Pie is one of my favorite one-dish meals. It’s the bechamel sauce that gives this dish added richness and flavour. Now all you need is a pie bird Jo Nell. Cheers Virginia

    • Have you a pie bird, dear girl? I didn’t have one and the very first time I visited my local thrift shop I found one. Obviously written in the stars! Now if I can just make pastry as perfect as my older sister. Cheers, Virginia

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