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Chicken Pie

3 cups flour
2 tsp. salt
1 cup shortening, chilled
4 to 5 tbl. ice water

4 whole chicken breasts with skin attached, split into halves.
I use thighs also, sometimes, too tough.
2 garlic cloves, halved
5 celery stalks with leaves, quartered
2 carrots, cut up into chunks
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 tbl. unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour

In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Using a pastry blender
or two knives, cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles
coarse meal. One tablespoon at a time, add the ice water, mixing
until the pastry forms a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate
for at least 30 minutes.

Put the chicken breasts in a large pot along with the garlic,
celery, carrots, onion and salt and pepper to taste. Add enough
water to cover. Bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat.
Turn the heat off and let sit on the stove for 30 - 40 minutes.
This will make very tender poached chicken!

Using tongs, remove the chicken from the stock and allow the chicken
pieces to cool. Raise the heat under the stock and bring it to a
boil. Let the stock boil until needed to concentrate the flavors.

Remove and discard the chicken skin and bones and shred the chicken
meat or cut into bite-size pieces. Cover to prevent drying out.
Strain the stock and discard the solids. Reserve 4 cups of stock;
save the rest for another use.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. Add the
flour and stir to blend completely. Cook the roux, stirring
constantly, over moderate heat for 3 minutes without letting it
color. Add the hot stock and stir until the sauce is well combined.
Simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes, and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll out the pastry and trim it
to fit into a shallow 3 quart oval or oblong casserole dish.
Reserve the pastry scraps.

Combine the sauce with the shredded chicken and season with salt
and pepper to taste. Pour the mixture into the pastry-lined dish.

Roll out the remaining pastry and cut into 1/2 inch wide strips.
Cover the pie with the pastry strips, weaving them in a lattice
fashion if possible. Trim and crimp the edges.

Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake in the center of the oven
for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. Let
the pie stand for about 10 minutes before serving.

Makes about 8 servings.


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