Saturday, February 18, 2012

Chicken and Fennel Potpie

I hinted at this recipe once before; I'm not sure why I waited so long to make it again, as it is delicious.

Although the original recipe has a specific crust, it's pretty similar to the one we learned in our pie-making class a few years ago. Since we're both comfortable making that recipe, that's what we used (although we used bacon drippings in place of lard, both because it's what we had and because, well, why the hell not?). (Kate's basic recipe can be found many places on the web; she discusses both the recipe and a bit of the technique here.)

Basically any kind of poultry could work here; although it's nice to have the ham, too, it's definitely not necessary. Leftovers make sense, but when I made this last I didn't have leftover chicken, so I poached a large breast in a mix of broth and white wine and used that. The amounts are very much approximate, too.

Chicken & Fennel Pot Pie
adapted from As American As Apple Pie
  • pie dough (enough for one crust - probably half a recipe, since most make enough for both a top & bottom crust, and this pie just has the top crust)
  • 1 potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 fennel, cut into small cubes
  • 1 carrot, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 C peas (optional)
  • 1 1/4 C chicken stock (approximately)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp anise seeds
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour (I always use Wondra for making gravies/sauces)
  • 1 C cream or half-and-half
  • 1 Tbsp Pernod (optional)
  • 3/4 C ham, cut into small cubes
  • 1 1/2 C cooked chicken or turkey, cut or shredded into bite-sized pieces
  • dash of Tabasco
  • salt & freshly-ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp milk
Preheat the oven to 400F.

Heat a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Melt the butter and add the onion and anise; cook 5 min. Whisk in the flour. Cook, stirring constantly, about 2 min. Whisk in the 1 C warm broth and keep whisking until smooth. Heat to boiling; simmer 4 minutes. Whisk in the cream and continue cooking until thickened, 5-6 min longer. Remove from heat; stir in Pernod if using. Allow to cool, stirring occasionally, about 10 min.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add potatoes, and cook until tender (about 8 min). Drain and stir into gravy.

Combine fennel and broth in a medium saucepan and heat to boiling. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until tender (about 4 min). Drain, but reserve the broth. (Add more broth, if needed, to make 1 C.) Stir into gravy.

Stir in the chicken and ham and add a dash of Tabasco and a little salt & pepper, to taste. Transfer to a large buttered pie plate (9" or 10").

Roll out the dough and transfer it to cover the pie. Trim and flute the edges. Brush with the milk. Cut a vent (or vents) in the center of the pie.

Bake until golden brown, about 25 min. Let stand a few minutes before serving.
serves 6

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