Three French ‘Hen’ Pies

I just realized that in the five years I’ve been doing this series, I’ve never addressed just how silly the song the 12 Days of Christmas really is.

I guess now’s a good time as any for me to do so: The 12 Days of Christmas is silly.

12 Days of gifts sounds great in theory. But when you actually stop and think about the so called ‘gifts’ that somebody’s true love picked out…meh.

I mean, five gold rings are fine I guess, but…what exactly am I supposed to do with seven swans ‘a-swimming’ or four calling birds?

A twelve person drumline may be cute, but…does that partridge happen to be sitting in a pear money tree? Cause if not…keep it.

Come to think of it, most of the gifts given during the 12 Days of Christmas were birds. And since I am a cook, and we are all just here for the food anyway, let’s just think of it as a bunch of poultry. I’ve got no use for a bunch of live birds. But dead, butchered poultry? That’s something I can definitely use.

So let’s pretend that on the third day of Christmas, your true love didn’t send you three French hens. Instead, they sent you three (or more) of these pies. (Hen is, after all, chicken so it’s not too big of a leap.)

I like to try to throw a savory recipe into the baking series, just to mix things up. Last year was this tourtiere pie. I wanted to do it again, and from very early on, I had what I thought was a pretty good idea of a place to start. A few years back I did a post where I made a chicken pot pie filling that I paired with biscuits. For these pies, I took that chicken pot pie filling and stuffed it into a delicious, flaky pie crust that I had made before last year for some Jamaican beef patties. (How’s that for recipe recycling?)

There are a lot of corners you can cut in making these to make the process go faster: you absolutely can make the filling for these with either rotisserie chicken or leftover turkey. I did. You absolutely can use a bag of frozen vegetables. I did. You can also make the filling and pie crust ahead of time, leave it in the fridge overnight, then come back the next day, assemble and bake so that the actual dinner prep takes less than an hour. I did.

It’s the 3rd Day of Christmas, so why not swap out 3 French Hens for these French Chicken–I mean HEN Pies?

DAY 1: VANILLA RED PINWHEELS

DAY 2: CHRISTMAS ELF BITES

DAY 3: THREE FRENCH HEN PIES

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Three French 'Hen' Pies

Recipe Adapted from Ina Garten

Ingredients

For Pie Crust

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, frozen
  • 1/2 cup butter flavored vegetable shortening, frozen
  • 3/4 cup, plus 1 tablespoon cold water, plus more if needed
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

For Filling

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 1 16 oz. bag of frozen mixed vegetables
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Onion Powder
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tbsp-1 tbsp. honey mustard (depending on taste preference)
  • 4 cups chopped, cooked chicken (from 1 large rotisserie chicken) OR leftover turkey
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (if needed)

For Assembly

  • 1 large egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons of water

Directions

For Pie Crust: In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt and pepper with a fork. Use the large holes on a box grater to grate butter directly into dry ingredients. Slice the shortening into small chunks and sprinkle into the flour. Mix together with a fork or a rubber spatula. (Mixture should resemble coarse bread crumbs, with chunks of butter/shortening throughout) Make a well in the center of the bowl and pour in the water, beaten egg and vinegar. Mix together until just combined, then turn out onto a cutting board or pastry mat dusted with flour. Working quickly, pat and press with your hands until you have a mass of dough that holds together. Shape into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at LEAST one hour, but preferably overnight.

In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the onions and sweat until the onions are translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the bag of frozen veggies, cook for further 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, 1 minute more. Remove the vegetables and garlic from the pot.

Heat the remaining 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in the flour. Cook until the mixture is just starting to turn golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in the chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the vegetables back to the pot, along with the bay leaf, rosemary, and thyme. Season with salt, black pepper, onion powder and the honey mustard. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in the cream, and chicken and return to a simmer. Simmer for 4 to 5 minutes more. Remove the mixture from the heat.

(If you need to thicken the mixture up, dissolve the cornstarch in about 1/2 cup of cold water with a fork, then stir this into the chicken mixture, allowing it to cook uncovered for about 5 minutes more until it reaches the desired consistency)

Refrigerate the filling overnight to allow the flavors to develop.

Preheat oven to 375°. Remove the dough from the fridge and divide into quarters. Keep the other 3 in the fridge while you work with one. Sprinkle a clean surface with flour. Roll dough out with floured rolling pin to about 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 4-5 inch circles and place two heaping tablespoons of filling on each. (Don’t overfill, it will mess up your finish) Use your fingers to rub the bottom edge with water or egg wash, then pull the top edge over the filling and press down to fuse the two edges together. You may crimp the outer edges afterwards with a fork if you like. Repeat until you’ve used all of the dough, keeping unused rounds AND filled pies in the fridge as you work to keep the dough cold as possible.

Once finished, line a sheet pan with parchment paper or foil, and lightly spray with cooking spray. Place pies on pan. Brush the tops with the beaten egg, then bake on the middle rack until dough is cooked through & golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. Let stand about 5 minutes before serving.

Linking up to this week’s Fiesta Friday #253, co-hosted this week by Liz @ Spades, Spatulas, and Spoons and Mila @ Milkandbun.

Pigeon {Chicken} Pies

Chicken Pies1

Game of Thrones Series {Wee1}

You guys remember when I mentioned in my Chicken Stir-Fry post that I was thinking about doing a series that was centered around the HBO tv show “Game of Thrones”?

Well, I decided to go ahead and do it. I really think this may be one of the best series that I will ever do on the blog. I’m so excited for it and I think you guys will  like the recipes I’ve decided to put out. Ideally, I would have started this 3 weeks ago when the show first returned for its 4th season. However, since things don’t always go according to plan, I’m gonna be a late bloomer and hit the series off today, on the day that the 4th episode premiers. As the show only comes on once a week, I also decided that I would post the recipes once a week, every Sunday. I’m hoping to have a GoT recipe every Sunday until the end of the season. Knock on wood that I can actually pull it off…

Chicken Pies4

For those of you that don’t watch it, Game of Thrones is a medieval/fantasy show that’s centered around a complex, intricate plot of characters that are all involved in schemes, intrigues and webs that involve a fight over an Iron Throne and who will sit on it. It’s based on a series of wildly popular books by George R. R. Martin that still isn’t complete as of yet. I’ve only read the first book, and now that I’m watching the show, I don’t feel the need to read the other books and ‘spoil it’ for myself so far as the plot goes. This is actually one of the rare times when I prefer the cinema experience to the book experience of a story. The show writers and actors have all done a phenomenal job of  bringing Martin’s story to life and I wait every season/week to see what’s coming up next.

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Don’t quote me on this (for any book loyalists out there), but I believe  that pigeon pies are mentioned several times in the book series. My inspiration for them however, came from the episode with the Purple Wedding- arguably the best episode of Game of Thrones, like ever. Why? Because Joffrey Baratheon (i.e., the worst character to have ever graced the screen of my television)……

STOP READING IF YOU DON’T WANT A HUGE SPOILER.

was poisoned at the conclusion of the episode. I have to be honest guys, when I saw him start choking and gasping after drinking the wine and I realized what was actually happening,  I literally stood up and screamed out a resounding “YES!”

Does that make me a bad person? I don’t think so, anyway.

Chicken Pies3

Anyway, back to the food. Just before that “huge” thing happens to Joffrey, an enormous pie filled with live pigeons is brought out at  he and Margery’s wedding that is typically served at festive , royal celebrations. In lieu of that momentous episode, I thought I would make a rendition of ‘piegon pie’ for my first recipe of the GoT series on the blog. Although I’m sure they’re plentiful in King’s Landing, Pigeons are…kinda scarce in the grocery stores of my neck of the USA.  However, we’ve got plenty of chicken. So I decided, hey, I’ll just use chicken breast- it’s all the same so long as it’s still poultry, right?

My original plan was to make this into one big chicken pie, however at the very last moment I decided to try to make them into individual servings. I thought it would look more medieval/rustic, or whatever. Aren’t they cute? I can just imagine them being made in a medieval style Westeros bakery and then being hawked on the street by some portly guy pushing a wooden cart down some  narrow cobblestone street and-

Okay, never mind.

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However, I will say though, that doing it my way will require using quite a few pie crusts for the recipe to cut out the dough for the individual muffin tins (around 8 full crusts). If that’s too many for you, then feel free to dump the whole thing into one 11 x 14 dish, or into 2 deep dish pie crusts. That’s perfectly fine.

So let’s talk about taste. I’m totally fine with admitting that I used a Pillsbury pie crust for these. I definitely didn’t feel like making 8 recipes of pie crust. Nope, I didn’t. (If you do, then congratulations: you were Betty Crocker in a past life.) The store bought brand was stills a delicious crust; flaky and buttery and the perfect compliment to the filling.  Ohhh you guys the filling: rich, hearty and thick, bursting with huge chunks of chicken and vegetables in every bite. You could put away two or three of these babies easily…maybe even more (not that I would know about that from experience, though.)

In short, these pies were just as satisfying to eat as it was to watch the episode with the Purple Wedding. If that doesn’t tell you how delicious they are, then I honestly don’t know what will.

Stay tuned for next Sunday, where I’ll be sharing my next Game of Thrones recipe 🙂

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Pigeon {Chicken} Pies

Recipe Adapted from Ina Garten

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 1 rotisserie style chicken
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 cups yellow onions, chopped
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 16 oz bag of frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, corn, peas and green beans)
  • 8 pie crusts (4 boxes of pre-made refrigerated crusts, like Pillsbury)
  • Non-stick cooking spray

Directions

1.  Remove skin from rotisserie chicken and discard. Pull chicken off the bones and discard carcass. Roughly chop chicken into bite sized cubes. You should have about 4 to 6 cups.

2. In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the bouillon cubes in the stock. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent.

3. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick. Add heavy cream, sugar, onion powder, pepper, rosemary, and coriander. Add the cubed chicken, onions and mixed veggies. Mix well.

4. Remove chicken mixture from heat and allow to slightly cool. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray 2 12 cup muffins tins thoroughly with cooking spray. Roll out 1 pie crust at a time on a floured, smooth surface

5. Using a 4 1/2 inch round (like from a small bowl), cut out shapes for bottom crust. Line crust in bottoms of muffin tins, making sure that the edges come out over the tops of the tins.

6. Spoon cooled chicken mixture into crust lined tins, about 2 heaping tablespoons per pie. Use a 4-inch round to cut out shapes for the top crusts. Place crust over the tops of tins, crimping the bottom crust edges together with the top ones to seal the pies. Spray pie tops with cooking spray.

7. Bake pies for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before removing from muffin tins (they will be very hot).

 

 

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