By Chef Rachel Globensky, Photo by Patrick Chondon
“It’s Pi Day, Pi Day, – gotta get down on Pi Day…”
Maybe Weird Al should do a nerdy math version of Rebecca Black’s infamous “Friday.” Or maybe not—we really should just let “Friday” moulder in 2011. In any case, this March 14, we celebrate Pi Day, with pie! I’m definitely more of a word nerd than a math or a music nerd, and I do love pie, so natch, here’s a pie recipe.
Many cultures have some sort of version of pie: a (usually baked) crust enveloping a (usually cooked) sweet or savoury filling. In ancient times, the crust wasn’t eaten, but was meant merely as a storage vessel for the filling, to keep the contents juicy, flavourful, and in one place. In my opinion, an edible crust makes the dish—otherwise you’d just have a custard, stewed fruit, or thick stew, depending on if you had a creamy, fruity, or hearty filling. Who wouldn’t like a food with an enticingly flaky and edible lid? And scrumptious sides and bottom, too?! Come on. And, because you can make a pie to suit all kinds of dietary needs, it’s pretty much the perfect comfort food.
Luckily, we’ve moved away from having “four-and-twenty black birds” baked into pies, and that Mrs. Lovett and Sweeney Todd of Fleet Street are no longer in business. Pi Day or not, if it’s true comfort food you crave, look no further that the simple but delicious chicken pot pie. This recipe can be made in a snap if you have pastry in the freezer, and pre-cooked chicken at the ready.
|Chicken Pot Piemakes a 9” pie|
|¼ c butter, softened¼ c all-purpose flour||Knead together in a small bowl (you’ve just made beurre manié) and set aside.|
|1 Tbsp cornstarch½ c milk||Mix together in another small bowl and set aside. (This doesn’t have a fancy French name—it’s just a slurry.)|
|Pastry for double crust, enough to fit in a 9” pie plate||Prep your favourite pastry recipe (try my tourtière pastry recipe from the Seasons of Thunder Bay cookbook), or frozen pastry if that’s what you have in you to do today.|
|2 Tbsp butter1 small onion, finely diced1 carrot, peeled & diced1 celery stalk, diced||In a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot, melt butter and stir in veggies. Sauté to soften veggies.|
|1¼ c chicken stock½ c peeled & diced potato½ tsp dried thyme or marjoram2 tsp dried parsley1 tsp dried chives½ tsp poultry seasoning||Add to pot and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the veggies are tender, but not mushy.|
|Add in your beurre manié, and the slurry, stirring well to incorporate. Bring just to a boil—the mixture should thicken. Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking.|
|1 ½ c cooked, diced chicken*½ c frozen peas||*You can use approximately half of a store-bought rotisserie chicken if that’s what you have on hand. Stir in chicken and peas to veggie/stock mixture.|
|Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake bottom pie crust 6–7 minutes, then remove from oven and immediately spoon chicken filling into it. Brush around the edges with milk, and cover with top pastry disc. Crimp pastry edges, cut slits in the top for steam to escape, and brush top with milk. Bake about 50-60 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown. Let rest 15 minutes before serving.|