Chicken and Vegetable Pie with an Amazing Duck Fat Crust

chicken and vegetable pie - trustinkim

I’m really proud of this recipe – it turned out perfectly! My goal was to create a savoury pie crust using duck fat, and this one ended up being so perfectly flakey and flavourful. And the chicken and vegetable filling was super tasty as well.

I used half butter, half duck fat for the crust, because I wanted it to still have that awesome buttery flavour, which is even more decadent when paired with the duck fat.

For the filling I began with this recipe, and made a few changes. I used my own pastry recipe, used a store-bought rotisserie chicken instead of cooking the chicken breasts, used butter instead of olive oil for frying the veggies, omitted a few items, made less sauce, and added the mushrooms, leek, and potato. I also added some thyme and a lot of freshly ground pepper.

The keys to a successful pastry are using very cold ingredients, weighing rather than measuring, and not overworking the dough. One of my guests was surprised to see rather large chunks of fat in the crust, but leaving the butter and duck fat in pea-sized pieces allows the pastry to be flakey rather than dense.

This recipe would feed 6 hungry people. I served it with a salad of arugula and spinach, with a walnut dressing.

What you need for the crust:

  • 350 grams flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 140 grams cold butter
  •  140 grams cold duck fat
  • 6-ish tablespoons ice-cold water

What you need for the chicken and vegetable filling:

  • meat from 1 small rotisserie chicken (I used a Whole Foods chicken)
  • butter for frying
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 small leek
  • 10-12 brown mushrooms
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 small red potato
  • (frozen peas optional)
  • 2 & 1/2 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
  • 1 cup white wine (or just use more chicken stock)
  • 2 chicken or vegetable bouillon cubes
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons cream
  • a little thyme
  • lots of freshly ground pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1 egg plus 1 tablespoon water, for the pastry wash

What you do:

  1. Begin a few hours ahead of time by preparing the dough. In a large bowl weigh and pour in the flour along with the salt. Cut the cold butter and duck fat into small pieces, then add that to the flour. Use your fingers (cold hands are the best for this – lucky me!) to rub the flour into the fat, only working until the fat is in pea-sized pieces. Add about 5 tablespoons of the ice-cold water, and stir it in using a spatula. Add a bit more water if necessary. Turn the dough out onto the counter and push it together into a ball. Cut the dough in half (or a larger piece for the bottom crust, smaller for the top) and form each piece into a disk. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about 2 hours.
  2. To make the filling, begin by chopping the onions and leek. Heat a large frying pan to medium, add a little butter. Cook the onions and leek, lowering the heat, for about 10 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Clean and slice the mushrooms while the onions are cooking.
  3. Remove the onions to a large bowl, then turn the heat up on the frying pan and add a bit more butter. Fry the mushrooms, possibly in two batches, until they are browned. Remove them to the bowl as well.
  4. Cut the carrots into a medium dice. Blanch them for 2 minutes, then move them to the bowl.
  5. Cut the potatoes to a medium dice, blanch for 2 minutes, then move them to the bowl as well.
  6. To make the sauce, begin by heating the chicken stock and wine, and dissolve the bouillon cubes in it.
  7. Melt the butter in the frying pan, then sprinkle in the flour. Stir constantly over low heat for 2 minutes. Slowly add the liquid, stirring to combine the liquid into the flour mixture as you add it. Simmer for about another minute, until the sauce thickens a little. Add the cream, ground pepper, thyme, and salt to taste (keep in mind the bouillon cubes contain salt, so don’t over-do it).
  8. Cut the chicken into cubes and add them to the bowl with the veggies. Add the sauce to the bowl and combine everything. (Add frozen peas if you are using them. I had so much filling that I didn’t have room for them.)
  9. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  10. Remove the pie crusts from the fridge. Sprinkle a little flour on the counter and place one of the disks (the larger one) of dough on the counter. Roll the dough a little, then turn, roll, turn, continuing until you get a circle of dough that is 7-8 cm larger than your pie plate. Roll the dough over the rolling pin, being careful not to stretch it, then transfer it to the pie plate. It’s okay if it breaks in places, just pinch it back together. Roll the other crust out. Add all the fillings to the pie plate, then brush the edges of the bottom crust with the egg wash. Place the top crust over the bottom, cut off excess pastry, then crimp the edge.
  11. Cut slits in the top of the pastry, then brush it with the egg wash, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  12. Place the pie on a baking sheet, put it in the oven, and bake for 1 hour. The pie should look golden brown, and the filling should be bubbling.
  13. Wait about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.