Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Perfect Pot Pie

It's that time of year for  homemade pot pies  These are the ones that are not only flavorful but comforting during those first chilly autumn days. They're full of flavor and filling, perfect for a hot lunch or dinner.

Regular contributor Julia Moskin wrote about this kitchen classic in today's New York Time's Food section. She was looking for one that didn't have that white sauce that most cookbooks recommend and that come with frozen pot pies.It's also called a cream sauce yet it's not that.It's actually a bechemel, the classic French and Northern Italian sauce made with  flour and fat called a roux. It is then thinned with milk.How this came about was that cream was saved for butter in early American kitchens so white sauce stood in for milk.The sauce soon went hand in hand with other chicken dishes such as poached along with canned chicken soups.Unfortunately white sauce is not the best idea. Ms. Moskin realized that it muffles flavors instead of highlighting them.Not only is this a problem for the chicken but also for the vegetables too. All wound  up with a bland, milky taste. The combination of flour and fat is nothing more than a liquid pie crust. It's best on biscuits or added to a lasagna where it gives it body, It does not go into a pie because it doubles the starchiness and blandness.Luckily chefs , such as the one at Manhattan's Nomad has gotten rid of the sauce completely., creating a new generation of pot pies.

The recipe has been updated to kind of resemble a steak and kidney pie.The sauce now can be made using stock, wine or a tasty combination as the liquid in your binding sauce. Ms. Moskin also recommends to aggressively season the sauce She uses chicken stock, Madeira and vinegar that's been spiked with just basic salt and pepper along with parsley. Another must for a tasty pie is just use the thighs. These are the most flavorful. The meat should be coated too before cooking in a skillet  because it not only thickens the sauce but leaves those  stuck on brown bits. This enhances the gravy's flavor.. Use a flour mixed with thyme and paprika along with salt. The chicken is then cooked with bacon or pancetta along with  thickly sliced cremoni or button mushrooms.Remember too that the best pot pie is a single crust, not a double one. it means that there won;t be any gloppy goo at the bottom of the pie. The crust can be either be pie crust, biscuit dough or puff pastry (the last one is the best).What about those carrot chunks and peas that add a spark of Day-Glo  color? They belong alongside the pie not in it.Try roasted carrots and peas with mint. Hot buttered asparagus  is also a great side too to a pot pie.

Nothing is more comforting than a chicken pot pie. Made correctly it transcends all other chicken dishes,with its' flavorful gravy and light crust.It is the perfect fall dish to chase away the chill of autumn.

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