The pub’s fish and chips at such an inland location seemed counterintuitive to Miranda—though the numerous black-headed seagulls they’d spotted would argue that point. Nothing in England was particularly far from the ocean, a curious concept. Her own island of Spieden in Puget Sound lay as far from the ocean as the centermost point of England.
Despite the gulls’ presence indicating the appropriateness of fish and chips, she selected the chicken and bacon Yorkshire pie and began the difficult task of imagining herself elsewhere than she was.
NOTE: This recipe is best made in two sessions: two evenings, or morning and evening.
Active time: 1-1/2 hours / Cook time: 1 hour / Total time: 2-1/2 hours
The Pie Dough Ingredients (you can buy crusts, but this is easy and way better)
- 2-1/3 c. (300g) all purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
- 2 sticks (8 oz.) cold butter cut into small cubes (keep refrigerated)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. vodka (optional – breaks up the gluten in the flour for a fluffier crust)
- 4 (or 6) Tbsp. ice-cold water (combined with vodka to make 6 Tbsp. of liquid)
- 1 beaten egg (later – for brushing on just before baking)
The Pie Ingredients
- 1/4 lb. bacon (fried then crumbled or chopped)
- 1 lb skinless chicken breast (brush with olive oil, bake to internal temperature of 165°F, then shred)
- 3 oz. butter
- 2 cloves garlic – crushed
- 2 large leeks – green and root end cut off, split down the middle, washed, then sliced thin cross-wise
- 3 Tbsp. brown mustard (yellow in a pinch)
- 3 Tbsp. fresh tarragon (1 Tbsp. dried, but fresh is way better)
- 1 Tbsp. fresh sage (1 tsp. dried)
- 1-1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 c. wine
- 2 Tbsp. white flour
- 2 c. chicken stock
The Dough (Session 1)
Note: Work dough quickly. You don’t want the butter to melt. It’s the little lenses of cold butter hitting the hot oven that will make a fluffy dough.
- Combine flour, sugar, butter and salt. Easiest: pulse 5-10 times in a food processor until it feels like tiny pea gravel. Or: rub with your fingers until same consistency.
- Turn on the food processor and dribble in the liquid, processing until dough just comes together, finish kneading a few times by hand. (Or knead quickly by hand.)
- Split in two, form each half into a disc, wrap in cling film, and refrigerate.
The Filling (Session 1)
Tip: Save a skillet by cooking the bacon first in the same pan. Pour off the grease, then…
- Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or other deep-and-wide pan.
- Fry the leeks and garlic until wilted but not yet browned (about 10 minutes).
- Add wine, simmer to reduce by two-thirds.
- Place flour and 2 Tbsp. of the liquid into a small bowl and stir into a loose paste. Mix this back into the simmering filling.
- Add stock and simmer uncovered for 20-30 minutes until well thickened (stirring frequently to avoid scorching). The mixture should be quite thick when done.
- Remove from heat to cool. Stir in shredded chicken and crumbled bacon. Place in the refrigerator for at least a few hours.
The Pie (Session 2)
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Set a cookie sheet to preheat on the middle rack.
- On a lightly flour-dusted surface, roll out one piece of the dough (set the other one on the counter). Do not force it, it will just crack. Work it a little, wait, work it more. After about 5 minutes it will then roll out easily. Flip occasionally and dust with flour to avoid sticking. Roll until at least 2 inches larger than your pie plate.
- Roll it up onto your rolling pin then drape over the pie plate. Lift edges to form dough into the plate; do not stretch the dough to fit, you’ll just make holes and it will shrink back when baking.
- Trim with scissors about 1/2” beyond the edge of the pie plate.
- Fill with chilled filling, patting to remove air pockets. Return to the refrigerator.
- The second piece of dough should be just softened enough to roll out.
- Brush water or beaten egg along the exposed circumference of the lower crust.
- Drape the second crust over the pie, trimming to 1/2”-1” past the edge of the plate.
- Lift the top and bottom crust edges together and tuck underneath to form a tight seal for the filling. Then press down and slightly outward (to slightly hook over the edge of the pie plate) with a fork to finish the edge. Or pinch the crust with two fingers of one hand and poking between them with your index finger to get the edge shown in the picture below.
- Brush the top with beaten egg (careful not to make any puddles or they’ll end up looking like scrambled egg). If you want to make a message on the pie with leftover dough, brush beneath it, lay down the decoration, then brush those again.
- Make generous steam vents, nudging them open as needed.
- Place on the cookie sheet in the oven in case of leaks, bake for 10 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to 350°F and bake for another 45-50 minutes until golden on the top. An instant read thermometer should hit at least 160°F in the filling.
- Let rest for 5-10 minutes then serve. Goes great with corn on the cob.
|Filled pie. Note glisten of dampened edges.||Draping the lid from rolling pin to pie.|
|All dressed and ready to bake. “Y” for Yorkshire.
Note: the pretty finger-pinch edging.
|Lovely pie! Time to dig in.|