Since I’ve been living abroad, I find myself longing daily for something I never thought I would : my Mom’s cooking. Might seem harsh, but if you’ve ate her food for the past 23 years you might understand. She is an acclaimed black belt- yeap she burns almost everything she cooks-, she likes dry food-not the desiccated type, more like extremely well done/ very dead meat- and she is the long ruling sovereign of the rock-hard muffin kingdom… Anyway, that was the way I saw her cooking BEFORE I started living abroad. Now I know that her forces lay in comfort food, preserved veggies and meals she dislikes…ironic isn’t it, but my mother is superbly great when it comes to sea food and sausages which she highly can’t stand. Funny, but good for us considering she makes the best mussels ever and out-of-this-world Italian sausages.
These days I dream about her tourtière, pâté au poulet and even the traditional pâté chinois -the French-Canadian way of saying meat pie, chicken pot pie and shepherd’s pie- all of which I grew up eating quite often as they are easy to do in advance and wayyy better after being freezed, which causes the flavours to blend together beautifully. I plan to do a post for every one of these meals, and probably even for her famous vegetarian lasagna, which I’ve been dying to do.
I omit taking pictures for this recipe but you can see what the pastry looks like in my Juicy Meatpie recipe. Next time I get to do it, I will surely take picture though.
I decided to go for the Chicken Pot Pie this time and found in Ricardo’s recipe something exactly like I was looking for. Ricardo is a well known chef all across Canada, and being from Quebec himself, I have faith in his recipes, and that faith is even stronger when it comes to more traditional ones. I remember him from my childhood when he was hosting the tv show Ricardo, we use to watch it in family, and then I would help my dad recreate some of the recipes he did. They were always a success, like his career.
Back to business, that pie recipe is as easy as it comes, full of delicious veggies in a thick gravy, and on top of that? The most wonderful savoury flaky pastry (pâte brisée) I ever came across, it’s flaky as and doesn’t have that overwhelming buttery taste that some have. If that’s your thing thought you can always omit the vinegar.
In Ricardo’s recipe the pastry is made after the filling but I prefer the other way around since the pastry as to be refrigerated for 30 minutes.
Starting with the pastry, you need to cut your butter in small cubes, the smaller the better if you don’t have a food processor, then out it in a bowl/food processor with the flour. If using the processor, pulse until the mix look like small crumbles as big as peas, if using a hand method, take a potato masher to reach the same consistency. At that point add the cold water and vinegar and mix until you have a dough. I know you are not suppose to use your hands because it heats the dough, but I like to help it with my hands when the dough is almost there. When the dough is all together, form a ball and cover with clear wrap, or put in a plastic bag in the fridge.
Time for the filling now!
Chop your onion, carrot, celery into small cubes. I added mushrooms too because I looooove the taste of all these together. In a high pot, heat two tablespoon of butter and soften all those vegetables together, you can add the mushrooms after two minutes so they don’t become mush. Your next step is to add the potatoes and condense chicken stock, so peel and cut the potatoes into small cubes (1/2” should do) and prepare the chicken stock. I had no “condense” stock under hand so I just went for 2 cubes into one cup of boiling water, so technically I only made a more concentrated stock.
After 4-5 minutes of cooking all the veggies should be ready. Season with salt and pepper, and add the potatoes and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so everything is simmering gently for 10 minutes.
While the potatoes are cooking, mix the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter with the flour, set aside. In another bowl, mix the milk and corn starch together, set aside as well. In a third bowl, have your cook chicken and your peas ready to go in.
When the potatoes are fork tender, well every single veggie should be at this point, add the kneaded butter (flour mixed with butter), mix and bring to a boil, then lower the heat. Next, add the cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil and lower the heat again. Now, add the chicken and peas and mix well.
At this point, I found that the gravy was a bit too thick for my liking and added 1/3 cup of water which brought the consistency to something more familiar. Take off the heat.
Finally cover the filling. Ricardo recommends to put clear wrap directly on it, but we are really close to plastic free in this house so I have no cling wrap and went for the conventional pot top, which worked just fine.
Back to the pastry. Take the cold pastry out of the fridge and cut 1/4 of it, if you only went pastry on top, or 1/2 of it if you also went bottom pastry. Lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin, put the pastry down on the surface, dust it with flour and set to roll out a 1/8” thick pastry. Once you reach that thickness, fill your pie dish with filling- if you use a bottom layer of pastry pit it down before the filling…duh- roll your pastry around your rolling pin and unroll on top of the filling. Cut out the excess pastry while making sure you have enough to fully cover the filling, otherwise it will go over the pastry while baking. Crimp the edges of the pastry around the bowl, or twist together two long string out of the excess pastry and apply on the surrounding of the pastry layer. This will prevent any filling from coming out. So does slashing the top a couple times. Do it in an artsy way, and it will look amazing when it comes out. Brush with milk for a nice matte finish, and hop in the oven. Leave it there for a good 50 minutes or until the crust is a nice golden brown.
When you take it out, it’s better to let it rest a good 10 minutes, but you can always serve it straight away. Just be mindful it’s hot, like extreeemely hot.
Next step, take your fork, cut down past this magnificently flaky pastry, that hot chicken and veggie gravy and direct it toward your mouth. Right about that moment, you should be gone miles away into comfort food heaven.
It’s cold outside, the wind is blowing and the rain is pouring, but it’s okay because the candles are lit, the fire is flaring and I have this holy goodness to feed from. Totally hygellig, the danes would say.
Could this get any more perfect?
I doubt it.