I decided to bump the difficulty level up a notch for my next Skyrim cooking project. I've always been a fan of meat pies (insert dirty joke here), so I wanted to try my hand at chicken dumplings. For the purposes of my adventure, I interpreted "dumpling" as "pasty" (pronounced PAST-ee, for those unfamiliar) because I'm from the Northwoods and we love our pasties. I used this recipe as the base, with some changes; some intentional, and some made out of necessity because I have limited supplies in my kitchen.
I didn't take any in-progress pictures because I was running around like a madwoman trying to juggle four or five cats the entire time. Making pasties from scratch is hard, and it takes time. However, the end result is TOTALLY WORTH IT. They came out deliciously, probably because they're about 60% butter. I still have a few in my freezer, which I'm going to have for dinner over the next couple days. Everyone else who's tried one thought they were tasty too.
Please note that I made my crusts a bit on the thick side, so I had leftover filling. I just stored it in a Tupperware container and heated it up later to eat with a piece of buttered bread. Very tasty.
So without further ado, here's the chicken
Serves about 9
- 1 lb raw boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into large pieces
- 2 medium carrots, sliced
- ½ c frozen peas
- ½ c frozen corn
- 1 large celery stalk, sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 medium to large potato, cubed
- ⅓ c unsalted butter
- 2 medium leeks, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ⅓ c unbleached flour
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- ¼ tsp rosemary, crushed
- ¼ tsp thyme
- 2 c chicken broth
- ¾ c milk
- 3¾ c unbleached flour, plus extra for rolling surface
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 Tblsp sugar
- 17 Tblsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- ¾ c cold vegetable shortening, cut into chunks
- ¼ c cold vodka
- ¼ c cold water
- 1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp water (optional, for glaze)
- Slice the veggies and cut the chicken into halves/quarters.
- In a large saucepan, combine chicken, carrots, peas, corn, celery, and bay leaves. Cover with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 10 minutes.
- Add cubed potato to the pot and boil for another 5 minutes.
- Drain the water. Remove the chicken from the mixture to let it cool.
- Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add leeks and garlic. Cook until slightly browned (about 5 minutes).
- Stir in flour and seasonings.
- Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thick (about 5 minutes), stirring occasionally.
- While the leek mixture is simmering, shred the chicken and return it to the vegetable mixture.
- Add the leek mixture to the vegetable/chicken mixture and stir well. Cook over medium-low heat until thickened, about 2-4 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Put the filling in the refrigerator while you make the crust.
(Note: if you have a large enough food processor, use it in steps 1-3. Otherwise, do like I did and put the ingredients in a large bowl and smoosh them together with your hands (after washing them of course).)
- Combine 2¾ cups flour, the salt, and the sugar. (1 cup of flour is set aside for now.)
- Add the butter and shortening a little bit at a time. If using a food processor, mix it in short pulses. If mixing by hand, mash the flour into the butter and shortening with your fingers.
- Once the mixture is clumpy, with no loose flour left, add the final cup of flour and mix it all together until the butter, shortening, and flour are evenly mixed together.
- Sprinkle the vodka and water over the mixture. Fold the dough over on itself a few times with either your hands or a spatula.
- Divide the dough into three balls and flatten them slightly into discs. If you wish to chill the dough, wrap the discs in plastic wrap and pop them in the fridge for at least 45 minutes. However, I used the dough right away with no ill effects; it was just a bit trickier to handle because it was softer.
- Cover your work surface, hands, and rolling pin in flour. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Take one of the discs of dough and roll it out until it’s about ⅛ of an inch thick.
- With either a cookie cutter or a sharp knife, cut out a circle about 6 inches in diameter. Carefully transfer the circle of dough to the parchment paper. (I found it helped to use a spatula to lift it like a pancake or omlette.) Gather up the scraps of dough, roll it out again, and cut out another circle. Repeat this process for as long as you have enough dough. (I got about 3 circles per disc.) You may choose to refrigerate the dough circles for about 30 minutes, but I didn’t bother.
- Set the oven to 400 degrees.
- Take the filling out of the fridge (and the crust, if you’ve been chilling it).
- Place about ¼ to ⅓ cup of filling in the center of each circle of dough. Gently fold the circle in half over the filling and pinch the edge together with your fingers, or press it together with a fork.
- Cut a small slit in the top of each pasty and lightly brush them with the egg wash, if desired.
- Bake the pasties until they are golden brown and the filling is bubbling (about 25-30 minutes). Remove them from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes before serving.
If you don't want to cook all the pasties at once and would like to save some for later, then make them like normal but put them in the freezer instead of the oven. Once they're frozen solid, wrap them in plastic wrap or put them in freezer bags. When you're ready to bake them, set the oven to 400 degrees and pop them in like you would if they were fresh. They might need an extra five minutes or so to bake, though.