Recipes and Stories

30 October 2017: Chicken Pot Pies

October 30, 2017

Tags: Classic Southern Cooking, Classic American Cooking, Chicken, Chicken Pot Pie, Pastry, Autumn Cooking

My Chicken Pot Pie, with carrots, celery, onions, and peas and a basic pastry topping
One of the most welcome of all supper dishes on a crisp autumn evening is old-fashioned chicken pot pie. For warming comfort it may have its equals, but it has no superior.

Like so many homey dishes of its kind, there are probably as many versions as there are cooks, ranging from the elegantly simple triad of chicken, gravy and pastry to those loaded with vegetables, herbs, and spices. Some are even embellished with hard-cooked eggs and ham.

Some are made only with a whole chicken that was cooked specifically for the pie, while others are only made when there are leftovers that need using up. (more…)

23 November 2014 Mastering Thanksgiving IV—The Pastry Cook

November 23, 2014

Tags: Thanksgiving 2014, Thanksgiving Dinner, Pastry, Pie Crust, Classic American Cooking, Classic Southern Cooking, Classic French Pastry

More than half the battle in perfecting the Thanksgiving pies, whether they are sweet potato (shown here), pumpkin or pecan, is a flaky, made-from-scratch pastry
Never mind the arguments over whether the pie should be pumpkin, sweet potato, pecan or not pie at all, but cheesecake: the easiest way to deal with whatever you’ve planned for the grand finale is to sweet talk someone else into doing it. However, if you’ve not done that (or you’re the person who got sweet-talked), and are contemplating a ready-made pastry, know that the difference between a memorable pie and a merely good one is the crust. (more…)

20 November 2012: Mastering Thanksgiving VII—The Pastry Cook

November 20, 2012

Tags: Thanksgiving Dinner, Pastry, Piecrust

The elements of pastry are very simple: low-gluten pastry flour (a good all-purpose will do), a bit of salt, cold butter, an ounce of chilled lard (for tenderness), and ice water to bind it
You’ll notice that up till now there’s been no mention of pastry-making (which I’d normally be doing either today or tomorrow). Happily, thanks to the gentle art of delegation (also known as sweet-talking), someone else is making the pies and dinner rolls.

If, on the outside chance the pie-making still falls in your lap, today is not too soon to make the pastry, (more…)