Chicken 101: Chicken Pot Pie

In the second part of the Chicken 101 workshop organised by the Richmond Food Security Society, Ian demonstrated how to make pie crust to make a Chicken Pot Pie.

Ian demonstrated how to make a flaky pie crust which will shatters when cut into it for the top and a mealy pie crust for the bottom which holds wet ingredients better.

The ratio of flour:butter:cold water to make a pie crust is 3:2:1. When comes to pastry, weigh your ingredients for precision measurement. If you want to use spelt for the pie crust, you may substitute 1/3 of the flour with spelt.

Chicken-101-Chicken-Pot-Pie-3Pastry making requires everything to be cold. Ian freezes the butter and grate it using a box grater (largest grate).Combine cold butter and flour (unsifted) in a bowl. Salt it for flavour.

Ian illustrated that the flour is like elastic band and the butter cuts (shortens) the gluten strand.

Chicken-101-Chicken-Pot-Pie-4Add cold water a bit at a time.
Chicken-101-Chicken-Pot-Pie-5Ian swirled the mixing bowl to combine the flour/butter and water until it starts to form chunks.
Chicken-101-Chicken-Pot-Pie-6Ian squeezed together the chunk (not knead), one small chunk at a time and place on a floured counter. You do not want to overwork the dough.Add more water when it becomes too dry.
Chicken-101-Chicken-Pot-Pie-7Once all small chunks are formed, Ian gathered them together and form a ball.
Chicken-101-Chicken-Pot-Pie-8Ian then flattened the dough with his palm with a motion away from himself.
Chicken-101-Chicken-Pot-Pie-9Pull back the dough and fold once.
Chicken-101-Chicken-Pot-Pie-10You”ll see chunks of butter and many layers. When the chunks of butter are big, you”ll have a flaky dough.
Chicken-101-Chicken-Pot-Pie-11If you work the dough further more, like a couple more times pressing and folding, you’ll get a mealy dough with smaller chunks of butter.You must rest the dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out for making pie.

Ingredients for filings of chicken pot pie:

  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced sweet onion
  • half a bunch of green onions, green parts only, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken stocks
  • 2 cups diced chicken


Source: Ian Lai; yields 1 chicken pot pie


Chicken-101-Chicken-Pot-Pie-16To prepare the filing for the chicken pot pie, Ian first saute the onions with a tablespoon of olive oil until soften and start to have color and aromatic.
Chicken-101-Chicken-Pot-Pie-17Season the chicken with oil and salt. Add the chicken in a single layer. Do not over crowd the pan as we do not want to steam the chicken. Season with salt. Do not bother to move the chicken until they start to change color on the bottom. Flip the chicken pieces over and let cook the other side.
Chicken-101-Chicken-Pot-Pie-18When the chicken pieces start to change color, add the carrots and celery and season with salt. Seasoning along the way will gives you a dish that tastes like it’s ingredients. If you season at the end, it will just taste like salt.
Chicken-101-Chicken-Pot-Pie-19Undercook the vegetables slightly as they will be cooked further in the pie. Add green onions and garlic at the end to retain the fresh tasting and avoid burning the garlic.You can serve this dish as it is as a stir fry dish if you cook the vegetables and chicken until fully cooked.
Chicken-101-Chicken-Pot-Pie-20Remove the pan off the heat and add 2 tablespoons of flour to the mixture and stir to coat to form a roux.
Chicken-101-Chicken-Pot-Pie-21Return the pan to the stove and add the chicken stocks. As the flour cooks, the mixture will thickens.
Chicken-101-Chicken-Pot-Pie-22If by any chance that the mixture is too liquidy, dissolve some flour in some chicken stocks to form a slurry before you add to the chicken mixture. Do not add flour directly to the chicken mixture at this point as the flour will form lumps in the liquid.
Chicken-101-Chicken-Pot-Pie-23Since Ian is making a bottomless pie, he placed the fillings directly into a pie plate and let chill in the refrigerator. You may add potatoes, peas or corns into the pie fillings.
Chicken-101-Chicken-Pot-Pie-12When rolling the pie dough, always roll from center out while it’s still cold. Dust with flour so that it will not stick. Flip the dough back and forth between your hands to relax it after rolling it out.
Chicken-101-Chicken-Pot-Pie-13When moving a rolled out pie dough, fold it or place it on a rolling pin to move it to prevent breakage.Everytime you work the dough, you have to chill it for at least 10 minutes, preferably 20 to 30 minutes so that it wont shrink.
Chicken-101-Chicken-Pot-Pie-24Remove the rolled out dough from the refrigerator and use a pie plate as reference to cut out the right size for the top crust.
Chicken-101-Chicken-Pot-Pie-25Alternatively, you can just place the rolled out dough over the pie plate with the fillings. Dont forget to wet the rim of the pie plate with water or milk or egg as a glue for the pie dough to stick on.
Chicken-101-Chicken-Pot-Pie-26Trim off the excess dough using the back of a pairing knife. You can freeze the excess dough and use it as a mealy pie crust for your next baking.
Chicken-101-Chicken-Pot-Pie-27You may crimp the edges with a fork.
Chicken-101-Chicken-Pot-Pie-28For a more rustic edges, use your handy dandy fingers to do the crimping.
Chicken-101-Chicken-Pot-Pie-29Brush the pie crust with milk for a nicely brown top or with egg wash for a glossier top.
Chicken-101-Chicken-Pot-Pie-30Snip the pie crust with a pair of scissors at several places to vent the pie.
Chicken-101-Chicken-Pot-Pie-36Bake the pie in a 400F preheated oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Chicken-101-Chicken-Pot-Pie-37We could hear crackles when cutting into the pie which indicates that the pie crust is very flaky. The Chicken Pot Pie is very flavourful.
Chicken-101-Chicken-Pot-Pie-35Ian also showed us how to make palmier (elephant ear) with the excess dough. Gather the excess dough and roll out. Brush with milk. Top with a sugary fillings. Roll half way up from opposite ends until meets in the middle. Brush milk in the middle of the rolls so that it sticks. Slice the roll into palmier. Chill it. It must be cold when you bake it. Bake in a preheated 400F oven until golden brown. When the cold pastry heats in the oven, the butter will melt first and form pockets of air and lamination.The excess dough can also be used to make tartlet shell.

Ian, thank you so much for such an informational workshop.

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