Chicken Hand Pies

I'm falling behind again.  I have a whole list of things to blog about.  It's that time when I find all sorts of projects that I want to do now that I don't have time anymore.  Figures.  That can only mean one thing: back to classes.

NES and I were both home on Monday, and it was our last day before the semester started.  So after I made banana bread with the bananas that went brown over the weekend, we made dinner.  As I said, I'm falling behind with posting.  Someday I'll get to the banana bread.

We decided that we would make a new meal for dinner.  And we finally came to the conclusion that it was time to try hand pies.  Which is only fitting, since I am posting about them on "National Pie Day"!  I will still stick with Pi Day, though.  It's more important.

They really did make the perfect project!  While I made the crust, NES made the filling.  I got the baking part, he got the cooking.  And the best part was that it made the whole project much more manageable.

I was concerned about trying to roll out the dough when it hadn't been refrigerated.  I actually did end up refrigerating it for a bit while NES was working on the chicken mixture.  I started at the same time he did, and then started rolling out the dough when he finished the prep work.

Then, once it was rolled out (and think thinner than your average pie crust), I helped by making sure NES had everything he needed.  It was pretty perfect.

It seems like the veggies go in really early for the filling, and they do, quite frankly.  They kind of disintegrated and made a wonderful thick, thick gravy for the chicken.  The veggies do kinda disappear.  But, hey, they are still in there, so it still counts as eating vegetables!
Now, once the dough was rolled out and the chicken mixture was divided up, the real adventure began.

I probably should have waited for the mixture to cool before trying to form pies around it.  It didn't cause a problem till I attempted to pick them up.  They were so close to ripping through the bottom.  They almost fell apart.  But somehow, they managed to make it onto the baking sheet in one piece.  Mostly.

And then they came out of the oven.  They (even the ones that were a little . . . rough) looked beautiful.  It's all in the egg wash.  I felt so accomplished.  Hand pies always seemed so fancy.  And thanks to NES, we made them for dinner!

Chicken Hand Pies
slightly adapted from Sophistimom

1 medium potato, peeled if necessary and diced
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 large carrot, chopped
1 large parsnip, chopped
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. flour
approx. 8-10 oz. vegetable or chicken stock from a 14 oz. can
1 bouillon cube or 1 tbsp. Better than Bouillon
salt and pepper (to taste)
2 chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
pastry dough (recipe below)
1 egg, beaten with a tsp. water

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Line 1 or 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil.  Cook potatoes until they are tender to the point of a knife or fork.  Drain.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium low heat and add the onion, celery, carrots and parsnips.  Cook about 12-15 minutes or until the onions are very tender.

Add the butter, and allow it to melt.  Add the flour.  Cook for approximately 2 minutes.  Pour in about 7 oz. of chicken or veggie stock.  Add the bouillon and potatoes.

Allow the mixture to come to a simmer and taste for flavor.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Add the chicken and cook through.

Add more stock until the desired consistency is reached.  Let the mixture cool, or place in the refrigerator until the dough is rolled out.

Roll out the pastry dough on a floured surface.  It should be an approximately 18x22 inch rectangle.  Cut into 6 equally sized rectangles.

Divide the chicken mixture amongst the rectangles, slightly to one side of center (imagine folding the pie over).  Wet the edges of the dough with a pastry brush and water.  Fold in half, pulling the longer side over the filling.

Press the dough down, and crimp/seal the edges with a fork.  Place on the baking sheets.  Make two incisions on each pie with a sharp knife.  Brush with the beaten egg and water.

Bake for 15-20 minutes.  Pies should be golden brown and slightly puffy.

Pastry dough:

2 1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, in 1/2 inch cubes
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/3 cup ice water

Using a food processor or pastry cutter, mix together the flour, salt and sugar.  Cut in the butter until the mixture looks like a crumbly coarse meal.

Combine the egg and ice water.  Add to the flour mixture and mix (you may need to use your hands) until it just comes together into a cohesive ball.

Either roll out the dough immediately or wrap in plastic and refrigerate for up to 2 days.


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