- 9-inch pie plate
- Rolling Pin
- Ceramic pie weights (or a bag of red kidney beans)
- Quick read thermometer
- Garlic press (optional)
- Pastry brush
- 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour 325 grams
- 1 tsp salt
- 13 tbsp butter, lard, shortening, or butter-flavored shortening
- 3/4 cup COLD water, milk, half-and-half, or heavy cream according to preference
- 1/4 cup butter for greasing pan and foil
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts up to 1.5 lb
- 3 tbsp olive oil for cooking chicken
- 2 medium carrots
- 2 stalks celery
- 1/2 medium yellow onion
- 1/2 bell pepper your choice of color
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary after chopping
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme after chopping
- 1 tbsp olive oil for cooking vegetables
- 1/4 cup butter for sauce
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 large egg
- In a large bowl, measure 2-1/2 cups of all-purpose flour, or weigh out 325 grams.
- Add 1 teaspoon of salt and stir it into the flour.
- Cut 13 tablespoons of butter, lard, shortening, or butter-flavored shortening, into pieces and put it into the bowl.
- Using your fingers, work the flour into the fat, breaking it into ever smaller pieces, until it has a texture like grainy corn meal.
- Initially add 8 tablespoons of liquid. Try to drizzle it evenly over the dough.
- Use a soft spatula to fold the mixture repeatedly to get the liquid to stick the grains together without mashing them. Add more liquid as necessary, but no more than absolutely necessary!
- When you think there is enough liquid for the crust to adhere, dump it onto two pieces of wax paper. It’s okay if they aren’t quite exactly the same size; the larger one can be the lower crust.
- Form the dough into two discs. If there’s not enough liquid for the discs to hold together, put everything back into the bowl, break it back into pieces, and add a little more.
- Wrap the discs in wax paper and chill in the refrigerator. Chill at least one hour and up to overnight.
- Preheat oven to 450° with shelf on center rack or one notch lower.
- Get the dough disc for the bottom crust out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature.
- Prepare the baking pan with a good coating of butter or shortening.
- Place the disc of dough on a floured piece of wax paper. Flour the rolling pin and your hands.
- Roll the dough out bigger than the pie dish so there will be enough to go over the sides.
- Use the wax paper as support as you gently fold the dough into fourths. Now you can gently pick it up by the folded corner and transfer it to the pan.
- Place the dough in one quadrant of the pie pan and gently unfold it over the pan. Try to press all the air bubbles out as you go. Repair any rips or holes with some of the excess dough. Trim excess dough at the edge of the pie pan. Clean up the edges with your fingers until smooth all around.
- Butter one side of a piece of aluminum foil. Press the foil over the pie crust and smooth it down, wrapping the excess foil over the edges. Add a little more foil if necessary. Fill the foil with ceramic pie weights. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet.
- Bake 18 minutes. Cool at least 15 minutes on a wire rack.
- Remove the pie weights and carefully remove the foil.
- Cool completely on a wire rack.
- Heat about 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat until almost ready to smoke.
- Salt and pepper chicken breasts, place in skillet seasoned side down, and then season top side. I added a dash of smoked paprika for flavor. After about 10 minutes, when first side of chicken is golden brown, flip with tongs. Cook about 10 more minutes while you're prepping the vegetables.
- Cut the carrots, celery, bell pepper, and onion into small pieces about 3/8″ square.
- When the chicken is above 160° F, preferably closer to 165° F, take the chicken out of the skillet with tongs and place on paper towels to drain any excess frying oil. Cool at least 10 minutes.
- Place each clove of garlic on the cutting board, place your chef’s knife on top, and whack it lightly with the heel of your hand, just enough to slightly crush it without breaking it up, and then remove the thin outer shell with your fingers. Mince the garlic with a garlic press.
- Pull the rosemary and sage leaves from the branches and finely chop.
- Use two dinner forks to shred the chicken. Basically, one fork anchors the chicken and the other fork shreds away from it.
- Heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a dutch oven. You need just enough to coat the vegetables.
- Cook the vegetables on medium heat, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes until the onions are slightly translucent, and then add 1/4 cup butter and melt it.
- When the onions are completely translucent and almost but not quite soft, add the garlic. Salt and pepper the vegetables to taste, and stir in 1/4 cup flour.
- Add the chicken broth and stir until the sauce thickens.
- Stir the spices into the thickened sauce.
- Stir the heavy cream into the thickened sauce, and keep stirring until the sauce has a smooth creamy texture.
- Stir the cooked chicken into the sauce.
- Let the completed filling cool while you roll out the top crust.
- Preheat oven to 425° with shelf in middle or next lower position.
- Get the dough for the top crust out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature.
- Roll the top crust out just a little larger than the pie pan (so you can trim it.)
- Before you fill the bottom crust, be sure to inspect it for cracks and holes. You don’t want the filling to leak underneath the crust, because that will either make it soggy or put a hard outer layer on it, depending on what leaks. Just save a little dough from before you put it in the oven, press it into dime-sized paper-thin flat discs with your fingers, put them over the holes, and then carefully press and spread them until they cover the hole and interface with the surrounding surface.
- Dump the pan of cooled filling into the bottom crust and smooth it out with your spatula.
- Sprinkle a layer of grated cheddar over the filling.
- Use the wax paper as support as you gently fold the dough into fourths. Now pick it up by the folded corner and transfer it to one quadrant of the top of the pie, and then gently unfold it. Use excess dough to patch any rips or holes. Trim the edge of the dough to match the bottom crust, and then gently but firmly press the outer edge of the top crust onto the bottom crust and smooth into place.
- Place one egg and one tablespoon of heavy cream (milk or half-and-half will do) in a container. Beat the egg mixture with a dinner fork until smooth.
- Use a brush to spread an even thin layer of the egg mixture over the top of the crust.
- Poke the top of the pie gently with a fork about four times, leaving 16 holes. Be sure to poke near the middle of the pie so it won’t leak through the holes.
- Bake 35 minutes until golden brown.
- Cool on wire rack at least 15 minutes before serving.