Homemade chicken soup may be a comfort for body and soul, but tuck that beautiful stock, chicken and vegetables under cover of a flaky pie crust and you’re going one better! Fabulous hot from the oven, and just as good chilled, sliced and reheated the next day with a bit of cheddar, savory pies are a favorite of mine. My corn pie is a summer wonder. I love curried lamb pie with some silky whipped turnips served alongside. Piquant picadillo empanadas and Louisiana-style Natchitoches porkpies (a recipe I need to put up for you! ) are also so good. The list goes on : )
But for the fall and winter, with family coming home, this is a great dish to have on hand.
To make it, I follow the old-fashioned classic method for preparing chicken stock: I put a nice fat chicken in a pot, add a few peppercorns, bay leaf, several large rough chopped carrots and stalks of celery, a large onion, one small turnip, and a handful of thyme sprigs. I let this simmer over low heat for a good four hours. Once the chicken is falling off the bones, the stock is ready. I remove the chicken to cool, discard the vegetables and continue to simmer the liquid until the it reduces down to full-flavor. There will be about six cups of stock left at this point. You’ll save most of the stock to make soup or sauces for other dishes and you’ll use two cups of this batch to make a gravy, mixed with the chopped chicken meat and a steamed medley of colorful veggies and baked in the pie crust. For best results I chill the pie crust very well before pouring the filling into it, and then refrigerate the pie for another hour before baking it.