Friday, April 9, 2010

Spring Chicken Pot Pie

Not your typical wintery chicken pot pie ... this one welcomes the new green tarragon awakening in the garden ... green onions ... fennel ... asparagus ... all gathered together for an unexpectedly fresh taste. As I write this, rain is lashing the window in a sudden afternoon of wind and gray gloom blowing through ... but I can see blue sky right behind it.

I really don't know why dishes with crusts are showing up so often here ... but I don't think it's something that needs to be analyzed.

As always, substitute confidently and enjoy this pie, however you make it. The original called for a diced tomato and some peas. I seriously altered the original version to suit my Spring fancy, but don't think the venerable Sheila Lukins would mind. She would understand the need to realign ourselves culinarily with both the calendar and the barometer.

Update: This dish is sheer ambrosia; very satisfying but suitable for light evenings, blooming lilacs, and chirpy birdsong. Do try it.
Adapted from a recipe in Parade Magazine by Sheila Lukins

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter or ghee

1 medium fennel bulb, tops and leaves removed, sliced thinly (about 1 cup)
3 tablespoons flour

3 cups homemade local, free-range chicken broth
1 bunch green onions, white and green parts, cut in 1/2-inch slices
1-1/2 cups carrots, diced or sliced
1 cup diced CSA potatoes (1/2-inch dice)
1 apple, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill or 2 teaspoons dried
1/2 teaspoon salt

2-1/2 cups cooked local, free-range chicken, deboned and cut up or diced
1 cup CSA asparagus, thick ends snapped off, cut in 1/2-inch slices

1/4 cup fresh tarragon, chopped, or 2 teaspoons dried
2 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

1 sheet puff pastry (1/2 pound) or your own coconut oil pastry using half the recipe from this post, or other homemade pastry. Or make biscuits and place cut dough on top of the pie ... or dot cornbread batter on it .. or ... you get the picture.

1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash (I skipped it)

Heat oil and butter in large pot over low heat. Add fennel and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle on flour, and cook stirring constantly for one minute.

Add broth, green onions, carrots, potatoes, apple, dill and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to gentle simmer and cook, partially covered, until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes, stirring often.

Add chicken and asparagus, season to taste with salt and pepper, then cook 5 minutes more. Stir in garlic and tarragon, and add a few grinds of black pepper.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spoon chicken mixture into 2- or 3-quart round ovenproof casserole. Roll pastry out and trim to or just larger than your casserole diameter. Lay pastry over chicken mixture and either crimp edge or tuck under all around. Slit top so steam can escape, and brush pastry with egg wash if you wish.

Bake until crust is golden, 30 to 40 minutes.

Makes 4 very hearty servings.


  1. "Rain lashing at the window"? I thought we lived in the same town; how did I not get that precip and its consequent inspiration to cook "from scratch?" Fennel? I've never even tasted/tried. 'Fraid that ingredient is still on my Maybe Someday list. Gosh, I came *that* close to buying some puff pastry yesterday, too. Love pot pie! You make it sound SO good!

  2. Yes, I am rather proud of this pie! Those of us with no grandkids, ya know ... gotta cook!

    Can't speak for the inspiration, but patches of weather can be quite small. I used to call my folks from Richland and they'd be having entirely different weather in Pasco. And you're in Kennewick ... depends on the wind and size of the weather cell, I guess! I love that it's like that! Buy the puff pastry ... buy the puff pastry ... !!!