Saturday, August 20, 2011

Pie Bird

I wanted to start things off here with this picture, which is exactly what I dump out of the food processor. I had a lot of interesting ideas about what pie dough should be before I started making pies, but this here is just about perfect. It needs to be a bit crumbly before you shape and chill it, it takes on it's form in the fridge. I err of the side of too wet because it's a whole lot easier to add flour than it is to add more water or roll out a too dry dough. Just in case you were wondering. Anyways,

Dinner at Grandma and Grandad's tonight with Shannon, finally got to use my pie bird! Probably unnecessary, but awesome all the same. Tarragon Chicken pie, yummy salad, and apple torte for dessert, all out in the yard looking over the water. Lovely. I am trying not to be the kind of pie maker that picks favorites, but oh, if I did...

Roasted a whole chicken for this one!

Onions, mushrooms, chicken and herbs in a roux thickened mustard lemon sauce

Bird in a blanket

Kim was there!

Didn't stand in formed pieces or anything but came out very well.

 All in all, I think this one took about 4 hours, but 2 of those were chicken roasting hours and I spent that time multitasking. Washed my car! No pictures, sorry.

Tarragon Chicken Pie

3 c flour and a bit of salt, sifted into a food processor
Toss in 1 1/2 sticks of very cold butter, cut into little cubes.
Pulse for about 20-30 seconds
Add enough very cold water- while the machine is running- to make the dough come together,
 I used about a 1/4 cup.
Dump the whole processor bowl into a large bowl and bring the dough into a large ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate, 30 minutes or so.
Divide dough into 2/3 and 1/3, roll out the larger of the two and lay into greased deep pie dish.


1 whole chicken, roasted, cool enough to pull apart
1 onion, diced
8 mushrooms or so, sliced
1/4 c butter
1/2 c flour
3 T dijon- more or less to taste
lemon juice
white wine
handful each parsley and tarragon
2 c chicken stock/broth

The chicken takes longer than you may think. Mine roasted for almost 2 hours, I pulled it at 140 degrees because I figured it didn't make that much difference, seeing how I was going to cook it again. Then I had to get it cool enough to pull. Plan for this. However you make it happen, you should end up with a large mixing bowl full of all the white and dark meat, no skin or gross bits, shredded into pie sized pieces. Save the carcass and make stock!
Saute the onion and mushrooms in a little butter, add the wine when it gets nice and hot. (Salt!)
Mix the flour and butter in a saucepan, cook over low to make a roux, add your chicken stock, whisk whisk whisk! If it's thickening up like crazy on you, get it off the heat and/or add a bit more broth. Stir in the dijon and lemon, salt and pepper like crazy- season this sauce until you want to dip bread in it and/or lick it off your fingers. That should be perfect. 
Dump the onion mix into the sauce, stir in the chopped herbs. Pour into your bowl of chicken, stir it up! Get the bottom crust ready and pour the filling in, top it, decorate if you wish. A bit of egg wash, 
400 for 40 minutes. 

* a note about the bird*
If you have a pie bird and wish to put it in your pie ( i mean, why not?) you can do as I did: dig a small hole in the center of the filling once it's in the pie, stick the bird down nice and deep- not so that you will puncture the bottom crust though. Cut a small rectangle in the center of the top crust, lift carefully and set it over the birds head- I was able to do this without a problem. Kim was standing by, however, just in case- you may want to have a partner in this. If you don't have a pie bird or have never heard of a pie bird or think that sticking a bird in a pie is the silliest thing you've ever heard, that's fine. Happy pie to you!

While at dinner tonight, it was brought to my attention that while I took pictures of my new house to show- on the camera- to family on the baby shower trip north- I had never actually put the pictures on here for everyone to see. So, even though this post is extremely long already, here are my new house pics!

Going down the stairs


Well, that's me! Reflected in the big hallway mirror upstairs

My room from the door- I swear i've cleaned it since then!

Dining room looking into living room

My room again- moving mess

Looking in from the front door- that's the living room to the left, kitchen ahead

Chairs on the front porch

The second kitchen area, sink and storage

Up the front steps

And down the front steps

House, from the street

Stairs leading to the backyard

Front porch again- cherry trees!

I live with a couple, Anthony and Dosia. Anthony's father owns the house, it was his grandfathers, the house where his father grew up. They are expecting a new little girl, Sofia, on the 23rd of August. That will be a first for them, and late in life, as they are both 40. Anthony is a sever at Savoy, which is how I came to know him. It's a lovely house, has been a very nice place for me to land. Peaceful, clean, and respectful. We shall see how that changes once Sofia changes quarters....I am hoping for the best. It is an old- old, old, old- house, set up in a very old way. I was amazed when I moved in at the smallness you feel inside, when from the outside it is such a large house. I finally decided that this is due to the huge number of walls in the house, many more than you would find in a modern house. The upstairs, for instance, is separated into 4 little bedrooms and a bathroom, space that would these days probably be 2 large bedrooms and a large bath. The downstairs is also full of walls, the entry is a very unnecessary hallway, there are walls between the living and dining room, between the dining room and kitchen. And these are not thin walls. Not that it's bad- just strange. It's nice to be in the kitchen, at the table, while people are in the living room and  be completely in your own space. The second kitchen picture, from above, I think used to be a porch that was at some point enclosed to add more kitchen space. Thank goodness! There is also a full basement- completely full of stuff- and a little backyard. The porch is the best part- it's huge with chairs, on a quiet street ( unless there's a train!) and shaded by 2 enormous cherry trees. Sour cherry trees. Adds a whole other element of wildlife and mess to the house- but they sure are nice for shade. And then there's the location. We are just about on the corner of se 15th and se clinton, about 30 blocks straight down clinton from where I used to live. 30 blocks closer to the river. I know that this probably doesn't mean so much to non-portlanders but I love my neighborhood with a passion. I love it like i've never loved anywhere i've ever lived.  I have everything I could ever want, right here, just the way I like it. Wow, going back through these pictures made me a bit homesick!


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