16 July 2016

A pot pie using smoked chicken

So yesterday I cooked. When the stress level mounts, we all fall back on the things we enjoy doing. I spent a couple of hours in the kitchen making a recipe I had been planning to make for about a year, ever since CHM and I went to the Perche region in May/June 2015. Yesterday, I finally got "a round tooit."

Tourte au poulet fumé, a recipe from the book « Un plat, c'est tout ! »

It's kind of a long story. One of the reasons we went to the Perche was that an old school friend of CHM's owned a château there. He had contacted the friend and learned that while that man now lives down in the south of France, his son has taken over the château and runs it, with his wife, as a hotel. I posted a photo of it last year. It's called something like the Maison-Château de Saint-Paterne, and it's just outside the town of Alençon.

The hotel owner's name is Charles-Henry de Valbray. We met him, spent an hour of so talking, and learned that he is a cookbook author. He has published at least two books, which he's co-authored with another man, Chistian de Rivière. The first book is Les Jules aux fourneaux (approximately "The Men Are in the Kitchen") and the second is Un Plat, c'est tout ! ("One Dish, That's All!" — the title is a play on the French expression un point, c'est tout, which means "that's all there is to it" or "that's all she wrote"). So the recipes are for one-dish meals.

Anyway, when we got back to Saint-Aignan last year after the short trip north to Le Perche, I ordered Charles-Henry de Valbray's second book from Amazon.fr. I read through a lot of it, and I came across one recipe that I wanted to make: it's called Tourte au poulet fumé — a kind of pot pie made with smoked chicken, mushrooms, smoked bacon lardons, Swiss cheese, and eggs baked in a puff-pastry crust.

Anyway, I finally tried it yesterday. For lunch, we had the tourte, served hot, and the three of us ate half of it, followed by a green salad dressed with vinaigrette. Today, unless we change our minds, we'll eat the other half, maybe as a cold dish served on a bed of dressed salad greens. It is very tasty. The recipe says it serves 8, but in our case it only gave 6 servings. We must be big eaters.

I don't know if you can buy smoked, cooked chickens where you live, but of course you could make the same dish using a roasted chicken or cooked chicken breast or thigh meat. Here is the recipe, in French...

Tourte au poulet fumé

1 poulet fumé
80 g de lardons fumés
2 pâtes feuilletées pur beurre
50 g de gruyère
300 g de champignons
1 bouquet d'estragon
6 échalottes
3 c. à soupe de porto
5 oeufs
70 g de beurre
2 c. à soupe de fécule
15 cl de crème fraîche
sel et poivre

Préchauffer le four à 180ºC.

Découper et désosser le poulet. Couper la chair en morceaux. Nettoyer les champignons et les émincer.

Peler et émincer les échalotes. Les faire revenir dans une grande sauteuse avec 50 g de beurre.
Ajouter les champignons et les lardons. Faire revenir encore 5 minutes.

Battre les oeufs en omelette.

Hors du feu, ajouter la fécule au mélange de champignons avec le porto, la crème, le fromage râpé, et enfin les oeufs. Saler et poivrer.

Beurrer et fariner un moule à tarte. Tapisser avec la pâte feuilletée et répartir les morceaux de poulet par-dessus.

Verser la préparation et ajouter des feuilles l'estragon ciselées. Dérouler par-dessus la deuxième pâte feuilletée et souder les bords. Faire une cheminée. Enfourner pour 35 minutes de cuisson. Servir chaude ou froide avec une salade verte.

I'll translate the recipe later and give the English version here. No time this morning...

P.S. Here it is:

Smoked-chicken pot pie

1 smoked (or roasted) chicken (2 lbs. of meat)
4 or 5 slices smoked bacon, chopped (80 g)
2 sheets of puff pastry
2 oz. grated Swiss cheese, grated (50 g)
10 oz. mushrooms, sliced (300 g)
1 bunch tarragon (or 2 Tbsp. dried)
6 shallots (or one large onion)
2 Tbsp. port wine
5 eggs
½ stick butter or more (70 g)
2 Tbsp. corn starch
½ to ¾ cup heavy cream (15 cl)
salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).

Cut the chicken into pieces and take the meat off the bones. (Use cooked, boneless chicken thighs or breasts if you don’t want to de-bone a whole chicken.) Cut the meat into bite-size chunks.

Clean and slice the mushrooms.Peel and slice the shallots (or onion). Sauté the shallots/onion.in butter. Add the mushrooms and the bacon. Sauté for another 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs.

Off the heat, add the cornstarch to the mushroom mixture, and then add the port wine, cream, and grated cheese. Finally, mix in the eggs and some chopped tarragon leaves.

Butter and flour a big pie pan. Line it with one sheet of pastry. Spoon the filling into the pan and cover it with the second sheet of pastry. Crimp the edges to seal the pie. Cut a vent hole in the top crust. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes. Serve hot or cold with a green salad.


  1. It was very good and tasty. I especially like tarragon and it fits perfectly in this recipe. Don't be thrifty, but generous with it!

  2. The crust is perfection.

    1. Ssshhh... don't tell anybody. We bought pre-made sheets of puff pastry (pur beurre) at the supermarket. Home-made would be better but we didn't have time.

    2. LOL, Ken, they must have better pre-made crusts in France than we have in the States.

  3. Looks quite filling- and very yummy. I like it when you tell us the meaning of the french words such as the title of the book.

    1. It really wasn't that filling. Just chicken and mushrooms, with a little bit of crust. The meat pie was especially good served cold.

  4. Glad to know you sometimes cheat and use frozen puff pastry :)
    What is your weather like? We tend not to make oven things when it's super hot out. The other day, we needed a quick meal, so we doctored up a frozen pizza with lots of fresh additions, and baked in on the grill! First time we have ever done that. The crust was so crispy-- very successful.

  5. We had a really hot day today. The temperature almost hit 80F! No, this is a different climate, a different world, from the U.S. Midwest and Southeast. We have a much narrower range of temperatures here.

  6. This looks wonderful! I make vegatable pot pies because my son is a vegetarian and so am I 99% of the time...But I think I will use tarragon in them and puff pastry. Great ideas.

    1. I added a photo of the tourte sliced after it got cold. It's a lot prettier than sliced while hot, and I think it was tastier cold than hot too.


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