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Recipe of the week: ‘Honest American cooking’: Chicken potpie

The Agawam Diner in Rowley, Mass., 30 miles north of Boston, is “among the last great shrines to honest American cooking,” said Todd Coleman in Saveur. Named after a local Indian tribe, the diner is run by the Greek-American Galanis family. It moved sever

The Agawam Diner in Rowley, Mass., 30 miles north of Boston, is “among the last great shrines to honest American cooking,” said Todd Coleman in Saveur. Named after a local Indian tribe, the diner is run by the Greek-American Galanis family. It moved several times after it was opened, in 1940, before settling into its current location. The dining room, “jauntily decked out in red,” features vinyl booths, shiny bar stools, and “display cabinets filled with cream pies, turnovers, and éclairs.” Agawam’s kitchen is stacked with a cramped walk-in cooler, well-worn wooden counters, and aged metal equipment. The message conveyed is simple: “Good food is made here.” Specialties of the house include such diner standards as Americanstyle chop suey, coconut cream pie, and this chicken pie, served bottom side up on a plate and topped with gravy.

Recipe of the weekAgawam Chicken Pies

1 double recipe pie dough, formed into 2 disks3 large skin-on chicken breast halves (about 2-2/3 lbs)1/4 cup butter1/2 cup flour2 carrots, peeled, diced, and boiled until tender1-1/2 tbsp chicken baseFreshly ground black pepper1 cup frozen peas, thawed

Roll each dough disk into a 12-inch circle on a floured surface. Using a 15-oz, 4-by-6-inch oval casserole dish (one of four you’ll need) as a stencil, cut out 4 dough ovals. Transfer ovals to a floured tray and cover; set aside.

Put chicken into a large pot, cover with water by 2 inches, and bring to boil.Reduce heat to low and simmer until almost cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove pot from heat and set aside, covered, to rest for 20 minutes. Strain chicken and broth through a sieve, reserving 4 cups of broth. Remove and discard skin and bones from chicken and tear meat into1-inch and 2-inch chunks; set aside.

Heat butter in saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring, until golden, about 2 minutes. Whisk in reserved broth and bring to a boil. Whisk in chicken base, allowing liquid to come to a boil as you whisk. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 40 minutes. Remove gravy from heat and season with pepper to taste.

Heat oven to 500 degrees. Divide chicken, carrots, and peas between the 4 casserole dishes; pour 1/2 cup gravy into each. Top each dish with a dough oval; tuck in edges. Bake until top is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Turn pies out onto plates, crust side down, and top with remaining gravy.Serves 4.

For pie dough:1 cup pastry flour1 tbsp powdered milk1 tsp salt2/3 cup vegetable shortening

Whisk flour, milk powder, and salt together in bowl. Mix in shortening with your hands until lumps the size of marbles form (do not overmix). Make a well in center and pour in 3 tbsp water. Dig in and pull mixture up and over, without squeezing, until a soft dough forms. Repeat to make a second dough disk.

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