Happy Birthday, Julia Child! August 15th marks the birthday of Julia Child, one of my absolute favorite cooks. Currently, I am without proper kitchen facility during of our kitchen painting marathon. If one can’t cook, one can certainly join in the Julia Child birthday celebration by posting one of her favorite Julia Child dishes, Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home Chicken Pot Pie recipe.
“The best way to execute French cooking is to get good and loaded and whack the hell out of a chicken. Bon appétit.”
Mrs. Child’s practical and palatable approach to food and her in Julia’s kitchen advice, wry sense of humor, and signature brand of cooking techniques continue to inspire the foodie faithful of the this culinary world we deliciously exist in.
I continue to marvel at the tenacity of Mrs. Child. She was a woman who knew exactly what she wanted, and deliciously excelled in achieving it. The informative timeline of Julia Child’s life is a fascinating read.
What makes a great chef? In the case of Julia Child, I believe her mass appeal is derived from her ability to impress upon us her passion for the process from pegboard to prep to plate.
In honored celebration of Julia Child’s birthday, this week’s recipe is from the Julia Child and Jacques Pepin cookbook and PBS series of the same name, Julia & Jacques Cooking at Home.
Julia and Jacques Chicken Pot Pie
For the crust:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 Tablespoons cold vegetable shortening
1/3 cup + 2 Tablespoons ice water
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
For the Filling:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup thinly sliced leeks
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1 cup frozen baby green peas
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2½ cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
salt and freshly ground pepper
3 cups leftover roast chicken, cut into ½-inch chunks.
For the crust:
Combine flour, butter, shortening, salt and sugar in a food processor. Pulse together just until the mixture is crumbly and butter is broken into small pieces. Pour 1/3 cup ice water into the machine, and pulse 3 or 4 times. Squeeze a little dough in your hand to see whether it clumps together and is evenly moist. If not, add 2 tablespoons of water, and pulse 1 or 2 times more. Don’t overmix so that the dough forms a ball.
Turn out dough, pâte brisée, on a large sheet of plastic wrap. Lift the ends of the plastic to gather dough together inside. Press into a large disk, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to 2 days.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add carrot, celery, leeks and tarragon, and cook, stirring just until slightly softened but not browned (reduce the heat if necessary to prevent browning), about 3 minutes. Transfer cooked vegetables to a bowl, wipe out the skillet, and place it back on the stove.
Add remaining 3 tablespoons butter, and melt over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking until the mixture bubbles and smells cooked. Do not let it brown. Whisk in 2 cups broth and cook, whisking, 1 minute. Whisk in cream, and cook 2 or 3 minutes, just until thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If the sauce is too thick, whisk in remaining broth. In the episode, Julia states “And as always, you want to make more sauce than you think, don’t you think? Never enough.”
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Add cooked vegetables and peas, chicken and sauce to 8-ounce deep pie dish or other baking dish. Mix gently and taste for seasoning.
Flour a work surface. Remove dough from refrigerator, and cut in half. (Set aside half for another recipe.) Roll out remaining dough, turning and flouring often, and cut a shape approximately the size of your baking dish plus 1½ inches overlap all around.
Whisk egg in a small bowl. Brush onto rim of dish. Roll dough up onto the rolling pin, and unroll over dish, so it rests evenly on top of filling. Press overlap onto the rim and against the outside of the dish, sealing tightly. Poke tip of knife through crust to create 3 steam holes near the center. Place on cookie sheet and place in oven. Bake 20 minutes at 400 degress, then reduce temperature to 375 degrees. Bake 15 to 20 minutes more, until crust is golden and filling is bubbling through steam vents.
Allow to rest and cool for 10 minutes before serving. Serves 8.
Bon appétit! Happy cooking!