“How could you eat a chicken potpie and not shed a tear?” asks Matt Bolus, chef of The 404 Kitchen in Nashville. “I don’t know anyone, whether you’re from Knoxville or Manhattan, who didn’t grow up eating it.” Each bite delivers nostalgia, and Bolus doesn’t want to mess with those memories. “It’s all about enhancing that rich, roasty chicken flavor,” he says. With that goal in mind, Bolus sets his sights on the bird: He browns then poaches the meat, and uses that stock to flavor his filling. And that impossibly flaky crust? It’s all about butter and a healthy dose of schmaltz (“the real power player,” Bolus says). We’re already lining up for seconds. 404 12th Ave. S.; the404nashville.com. —Julia Heffelfinger
Even the world’s best crust can be ruined by a watery or gluey filling. Chef Matt Bolus at 404 Kitchen in Nashville says to cook your filling just shy of that slightly loose gravy consistency. “The filling will continue to thicken in the oven, so pull it at that point when you think, Just a few more minutes and this will be perfect!”
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
1/2 cup schmaltz (see Note), scooped into tablespoons and frozen
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold buttermilk
2 pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken parts
1/4 cup canola oil
6 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, cut into 1/3-inch pieces
1 celery rib, cut into 1/3-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1/4 cup minced parsley
2 tablespoons minced chives
2 teaspoons minced thyme
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE
- Make the crust In a food processor, pulse the flour with the sugar and salt. Add the butter and schmaltz and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Drizzle the buttermilk over the top and pulse until the dough just starts to come together. Turn out onto a work surface, gather any crumbs and gently knead the dough 2 to 3 times until smooth. Divide in half and flatten each piece into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 375°. On a floured work surface, roll out 1 disk of dough to a 12-inch round, about 1/4 inch thick. Ease the round into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Trim the overhang to 1/2 inch. Line the crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the crust is just set. Remove the parchment paper and bake for 5 to 7 minutes longer, until lightly browned. Let cool completely.
- Meanwhile, make the filling Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until shimmering. Add the chicken and cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until browned, about 7 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat, turning the chicken occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest piece registers 160°, about 15 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a plate and let cool. Boil the stock over high heat until reduced to 1 cup, 15 to 20 minutes more; transfer the stock to a small heatproof bowl. Discard the chicken skin and bones, then cut the meat into 1-inch pieces. Wipe out the saucepan.
- In the saucepan, melt the butter in the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and a generous pinch of salt. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the chicken and flour and cook, stirring, until the vegetables and chicken are evenly coated. Gradually stir in the milk and reduced stock and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the parsley, chives, thyme and vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Let cool completely, about 30 minutes.
On a floured work surface, roll out the other disk of dough to a 12-inch round. Scrape the filling into the cooled pie shell and cover with the top crust. Trim the overhang to 1 inch and crimp the edge decoratively, sealing it to the bottom crust. Brush with the egg wash and cut slits in the top to vent steam. Bake the potpie for 40 minutes, until the crust is browned and the filling is bubbling. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Schmaltz, rendered chicken fat, can be found in the freezer or refrigerated se