Chicken Pot Pie and Sheep Shearing Day: Part 1, The Pie


Betty and I go way back, she was my Grandmother's cookbook!

When I woke up this morning, it was 20 degrees F. out and wasn’t promising to be much warmer as the day wore on.  Perfect weather for turning the ovens on and boiling up vats of deliciousness on the stove, but rather chilly for spending much time outside in the barnyard!  Shearing Day in the spring is always like this!

Every six months our shearer, Fred DePaul, comes to our farm to shear our Shetland Sheep and somehow or other, I have kept a tradition of sending him home with chicken pot pie.  I think his first visit here just coincided with me asking if he would like some as it was what I was taking out of the oven and thereafter it became the tradition!

I decided that I would photo-document the process behind the concoction because if Fred and my family think it is all that delicious, then maybe it would be worth the effort.  So in the following photos, I will attempt to share the behind-the-scenes where my Chicken Pot Pie is concerned:

I roasted a few roosters and guinea fowl that I’d harvested last November and separated the meat from the bones, the skin and fat discarded, the essence in the pan…

here we have the pan juices from roasting

I had chopped plenty of onion, celery, and carrots and sauteed them for a bit in olive oil:

sauteeing the vegetables

I prepared a broth from the pan juices so that I could add it to the vegetable mixture:

deglazing the chicken/guinea fowl broth pan

I then added the juices to the vegetables, with cut up potatoes, and simmered until all were tender…

the vegetables and broth simmer until tender

I consulted my Grandmother’s Betty Crocker cookbook, which I treasure, to find suggestions for a good white sauce recipe.  I get such a kick out of that cookbook and sometime shall share more of its golden wisdom with you, but for now, just enjoy this tidbit:

Betty Crocker helps with sauces and life lessons!

After harboring pleasant thoughts, I thought I’d better whip up some sort of roux and add a liquid or two to make a sauce.  So I was out of milk but had soymilk and heavy cream in the fridge.  I salvaged a bit of the chicken fat and also the last of the butter, melted it and whisked in the flour and seasons(thyme, lot of it!, salt, pepper, and something else which I can’t recollect now!) then slowly added the liquids.  My combination was quite tasty and the perfect consistency to add to the cooked pot of vegetables and poultry.

my roux ingredients

the loveliest poultry pie filling!

Time to create the piecrust…Grandma Brown would not like me telling just anyone the ingredients of her recipe, so you’ll have to just enjoy the process.

First I cut the shortening into the flour:

cutting the shortening into the flour for Grandma Brown's piecrust recipe

After that, I combine the liquids into the flour-mixture and create 6 “patties” which I wrap in wax paper and refrigerate:

combining the liquids and the dry ingredients for Grandma Brown's crust recipe

Grandma Brown's recipe makes enough for 3 double-crusted pies

Leaning tower of pie crusts!

I decide to wash the dishes while waiting for the pie crusts to refrigerate for 20 or so minutes.  Believe me, there are plenty of dishes to wash!  I then find 3 pans, one of which I won’t mind taking a ride to Plymouth Notch, Vermont where Fred is from, and then grab my rolling pin and set to rolling!

I had no trouble rolling the crust out, though I had had some anxiety because I was short on the shortening!

Happy that I was good on time, I threw the pie crusts into the pans, loaded them up with poultry-pot-pie-filling, and gave it my best shot sealing them with a kiss!  (Actually, as you can see, I attempted a “sheep” cut-out!)

"eyeballing" is my technique, yet somehow it all comes out even!


A fluted crust...the term "fluted" won my son some points in a game he was playing one night at college...apparently I was his teams "lifeline" and they called me specifically to ask what the term was to describe the decorative pinched edging on a pie!

Well, I wrapped those babies up and refrigerated them for a few hours…I’m never sure when Fred will arrive and I wanted the pie to be hot and bubbling for him to take home as well as not done too early for our own dinner time!

When the time was right, I brushed some cream atop the lovelies and put them in a 350degree oven for one hour….you get to see the yummy results in my Part 2!

just before popping into the oven, I brush the top with cream!