It’s March 25th. It’s been snowing all day. It’s definitely a chicken pot pie kinda day. I tell ya, the weather has been pretty ridiculous around here. I’m really ready for lighter fare but the weather is still saying soups and stews.

Maybe one of these days…

In the meantime, a pot pie ain’t too bad. Especially since I make a damned good pie crust. No brag, just fact. I admit I have bought store-bought in the past, but I’ve had some sort of problem with every one of them. The ones folded in quarters always cracked no matter how long they sat out, and the ones that are rolled would do the same. The amount of time I spent putting the others back together could have been spent making a real one.

Besides. I make a damned good pie crust.

Pie Crust

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 4 oz butter, frozen
  • 4 oz lard, frozen (or – 8 oz butter, but lard is better)
  • pinch salt
  • 6-8 tbsp ice water

Using a food processor, add flour, salt, and sugar. Pulse to mix.

Chop up frozen butter and lard and add. Pulse until they are incorporated and mixture looks grainy.

Slowly add ice water and pulse until mixed.

Turn out onto counter. Press and form mixture into 2 disks – one slightly larger than than the other . Wrap in plastic and refrigerate about an hour to allow the flour to properly absorb the water and to relax the gluten.

Roll out crust and place in pie plate. Crimp edges and fill.

The secrets start with using the food processor. It cuts the fat quickly and neatly into the flour so it doesn’t get overworked. Same with the water.

The other is wrapping the dough and letting it rest for an hour. It really does make a difference.

Lard has such a bad rap, but it’s infinitely better than shortening, and if you’re going to make something from scratch – make it right. I try to keep a couple of packs of lard in the freezer, but if and when I don’t have it, I’ll use all butter. I don’t have shortening in the house. It’s not like I’m making these daily…

The above is for a savory pie like the pot pie I made tonight. For a fruit or sweet pie, I add about a quarter-cup of sugar to the flour before adding the butter and lard.

The chicken filling was a throw-together from things in the ‘fridge. I cooked a couple of chicken breasts, added celery and carrots, potatoes, frozen mixed vegetables, chicken broth, a bit of leftover chicken gravy, the last of the béchamel sauce Victor made on Friday, and thickened it a tad more with some cornstarch.

I put it into a pastry-lined casserole and then topped it with a second crust. Into a 425° oven for about 40 minutes.

It was good. But I’m ready for some barbecue!