In my hometown of Winston Salem, North Carolina, there’s a special variety of chicken pie that originates from Moravian immigrants in the 18th century. As far as chicken pie goes, it’s simple. Just deliciously tender chicken in a thick, gravy-like sauce served in a perfectly flaky pie crust. Vegetables are never part of the filling like with other popular chicken pot pie recipes. It’s absolutely delicious and takes me instantly back to my roots. This is a must try, and really showcases the delicious flavor of our chicken.
The Best Chicken Makes The Best Pie
Our chicken comes from a small co-op of family farms. They’re humanely raised and cage free, with plentiful space to roam freely in cozy, well-ventilated barns with access to the outdoors. They enjoy unlimited access to water and nutritious vegetarian food supplemented with enzymes, essential oils and vitamins. The chickens frequently relax in their cozy beds made of wood shavings and rice hulls. They are a Cobb Hubbard hybrid breed, carefully selected for the great flavor and consistency of the meat as well as their docile temperament. The barn attendants are trained in chicken behavior and take care to make the environment as naturally supportive as possible.
Traditional Moravian Chicken Pot Pie, Straight From North Carolina
If making the crust from scratch:
- ½ cup chilled sour cream
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 2 ½ cups flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
- 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
For the pie:
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 4 bone-in chicken thighs
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon melted bison tallow
- 3 cups bison bone broth
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup flour
- ¼ cup half and half or heavy cream
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
To make the crust:
- If making the crust from scratch, combine the ½ cup cold sour cream and 1 egg in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the flour and salt until thoroughly combined. Add in the cold cubed butter to the flour mixture and mix until the pieces of butter are pea sized. Add in the sour cream ¼ cup at a time and mix until combined. Continue to mix until a dough begins to form.
- Place the mixture on a lightly floured surface. Knead until the dough fully comes together (this shouldn’t take long). Divide into two pieces and shape each into a disc about 4 inches across. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of one hour. It can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two days, or frozen for up to two months.
- Remove both halves of the dough from the refrigerator and let sit for ten minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll both into 12 inch circles. Place one in the bottom of the pan with ½ inch hanging out all the way around. Place the second dough round on a parchment lined baking sheet with a rim. Cover everything with plastic wrap and refrigerate for half an hour.
To make the pie:
- Thaw the chicken overnight in the refrigerator. Let it sit out at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before cooking.
- Pat all of the chicken gently dry with paper towels. Season generously with salt and pepper.
- Heat the bison tallow in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, cook all the chicken (you might have to work in batches) until it’s seared brown on all sides. It should take approximately ten minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.
- Pour the leftover fat out of the pan into a small dish and keep handy for later.
- When the chicken has cooled sufficiently, remove the skin. Add all of the chicken to a large pot. Pour in the bison bone broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until cooked all the way through, about 14-18 minutes. The breasts will cook much faster than the thighs since they’re boneless and should be checked after ten minutes. Chicken should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you can also tell it’s done when the juices run clear.
- Remove the chicken from the pot and place in a bowl to cool. Pour the remaining bison broth through a strainer and set aside. Shred the chicken, discarding the bones from the thighs (or saving them to make broth).
- Prepare the oven by placing a rack in the lowest position. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Make the gravy while the oven is heating up. Heat the two tablespoons of butter and the fat reserved from cooking the chicken. Add the ¼ cup flour and continue to cook, whisking constantly for a minute or two until it becomes a golden color. Gradually whisk in two cups of the reserved broth from boiling the chicken. Add in the half and half or heavy cream and bring the gravy to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the gravy thickens and reduces, about 7-8 minutes. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
- Mix 1 cup of the finished gravy into the shredded chicken. Set aside the remaining cup for serving.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Spread the chicken evenly into the dough lined pan and top with the second chilled dough round. Make sure that at least ½ inch hangs over the edge all around. Fold the dough of both layers under so that the edge of the fold meets the edge of the pie plate. Use a fork to press and seal around the edges.
- Cut four small slits across the top, about one inch in length. Take the lightly whisked egg in a bowl and brush across the top of the pie.
- Bake for about 20 minutes in the oven, until the top is lightly golden brown.
- Reduce the temperature of the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Continue to bake for another 12-15 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned.
- Let cool for 45 minutes to an hour. Serve with gravy.
Also Read: How To Make Juicy, Flavorful Chicken Thighs