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Chicken Or Shrimp Potpies

Note: These recipes for potpies are from two of the most graphically seductive cookbooks we own. The crusts probably could be used interchangeably. If time is of the essence, use prepared 2-crust pie crust. Paul Prudhomme, the famous Louisiana chef, uses toasted corn meal in his pie crust and as a thickener for the chicken broth. And, of course, his famous spice combination; in this case, white and black pepper, paprika, garlic and onion powder, cardamom, savory, thyme, and dry mustard.  See also New England Pot Pie and Tuna/Salmon Pie with Biscuits.  Vegetarians can turn this into a vegetable potpie by substituting broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrot and parsnip matchsticks,  or other favorite veggies for the meat.  Martha Stewart has a very nice -- and relatively uncomplicated -- one on her web site.

Chicken Tarragon Pot Pie

Note: Use a firm fish and shrimp (steamed or poached) for a change of pace.  The authors suggest a 3-quart casserole, but the filling was barely enough to fill our 2-quart Pyrex casserole. Also, sizing the crust for the casserole is tricky, because the edges are a little tough if folded under.  Since my husband prefers spreading out the crust, I will try using a 10" tart pan.  The pastry recipe is almost identical to Joy of Cooking recipe for a basic pie dough.  That recipe uses 2/3 cp lard or vegetable shortening with 2 T butter.  Lard makes the best pie crust in the world, but tips the scales in fat, so we opt for a healthier alternative. See Aunt Ida's Pie Crust for the lard recipe and Pie Crust Tips. If fat or cholesterol is not a concern, use all cream in the filling recipe.

For the pastry:
2 cps flour
2 T fresh parsley, chopped
1 t salt
2/3 cp shortening or lard
up to 1/2 cp cold water

For the filling:
1 3 lb flying chicken
2  cps chicken broth
3 T fresh tarragon, chopped
1/4 cp celery leaves, chopped
1 bay leaf
2 1/2 t salt
1/2 t freshly ground pepper
4 T chicken fat (schmaltz) or butter
1 onion, chopped
1/3 cp flour
1 cp heavy cream or milk (2% lowfat or evaporated 2% is a good low-fat substitute)
1 cp cooked diced carrots
1 cp cooked peas
1 cp cooked diced potatoes
1 egg yolk beaten with a little cold water for the crust

1. Place chicken in large saucepan with cold water to cover and add tarragon, celery leaves,
bay leaf, 2 teaspoons of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper.
2. Bring to boil and cook about 1 hour or till chicken is tender.
3. While chicken is cooking, combine flour, parsley, and salt in a bowl.
4. Cut in shortening till ingredients are the size of small peas.
5. Add water, a tablespoon at a time, toss with a fork till mixture can be gathered into a
ball. You may not need all the water.
6. Wrap dough in waxed paper and chill at least 30 minutes.
7. Meanwhile, remove chicken from heat, strain and reserve broth. Debone chicken after it
has cooled.
8. In medium saucepan, melt chicken fat or butter, add onion, and saute till transparent,
about 5 minutes.
9. Stir in flour and remaining salt and pepper, then blend in 2 cups of the broth and the
cream or milk.
10. Cook, stirring, over medium heat till mixture comes to a boil and thickens, about 15
minutes.
11. Place chicken, carrots, peas, and potatoes in a 3-qt casserole and to with enough sauce to
cover them and almost fill the casserole.
12. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the chilled dough to fit the top of the casserole.
Place on top of casserole, folding edges under and moistening the edge of the casserole
to make the pasty adhere.
13. Cut vents in crust, brush with egg wash, and bake about 40 minutes, or till crust is golden
and sauce is bubbling.

                "Cooking with Herbs" by Emelie Tolley and Chris Mead

Shrimp and Corn Pot pie

Note: For 4 single-serving pies. If using a regular pie or casserole pan, roll out dough lightly and avoid overworking.


For the filling:


1/4 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined, diced (pre-cooked is OK)

4 t unsalted butter or margarine, plus 2 T melted
1 cp red bell pepper, diced
1 cp yellow onion, diced
1 1/3 cp corn kernels, fresh or thawed
1/8 t cayenne pepper
3 T flour
1 cp unsalted chicken stock
kosher salt to taste

For the crust:
1 2/3 cp flour
2 1/2 t baking powder
3/4 t kosher salt
scant cup whipping cream

1. Combine dry crust ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.
2. Stir in cream with a fork, stirring till evenly moistened.
3. Turn mixture in bowl till flour is absorbed, but avoid overworking.
4. Cover dough and let rest at least 15 minutes.
5. Melt 4 T butter in saucepan and add vegetables and pepper. Cook till soft but not brown.
6. Add shrimp and cook till it begins to turn pink. If using pre-cooked shrimp, add after
mixing in flour and stock.
7. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute, then add stock.
8. Cook till thickened. Add seasoning if necessary.
9. Spoon mixture into serving bowls or pie pan and cool.
10. Tun dough onto lightly floured board and press with fingertips and heels of you hands to
between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick for individual pies.
11. Cut dough into quarters and fit on casserole, sealing edges.
12. Brush with the melted butter and cut some vents in crusts.
13. Bake at 350 degrees till golden brown, about 20 minutes.

                                  Shrimp, Jay Harlow