Sweet Tea and Tacos

From Flaky Crusts to Southern Traditions in the Kitchen

March 25, 2024 Sweet Tea and Tacos Season 1 Episode 9
From Flaky Crusts to Southern Traditions in the Kitchen
Sweet Tea and Tacos
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Sweet Tea and Tacos
From Flaky Crusts to Southern Traditions in the Kitchen
Mar 25, 2024 Season 1 Episode 9
Sweet Tea and Tacos

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Step into the warmth of our kitchen where nostalgia simmers on the stovetop, and tales of culinary traditions bubble up like a comforting broth. This time around, we're ladling out secrets for the ultimate chicken pot pie, a dish that's stitched into the quilt of American cuisine. From the importance of choice chicken to the flaky, butter-laden bliss of a homemade crust, we're serving up the how-tos and hearty laughs—especially when our four-legged sous chefs eagerly await their share. And while we're tugging at the heartstrings, join us for a journey down south, reminiscing about church potlucks and the delicate art of chicken and dumplings that could start a family feud or seal a friendship.

Then, Dave and I swap stories from our shelter-at-home saga, stirring up more than just stews and sauces. We discovered joy, resilience, and that sometimes a failed beans and rice can turn into a triumphant Cincinnati chili. Each episode in the kitchen became an adventure, and we invite you to pull up a chair and share your own. So, whether you're seeking to perfect your pot pie prowess or simply need a dash of inspiration to spice up your home cooking, this episode promises a feast for your ears and your appetite.

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Step into the warmth of our kitchen where nostalgia simmers on the stovetop, and tales of culinary traditions bubble up like a comforting broth. This time around, we're ladling out secrets for the ultimate chicken pot pie, a dish that's stitched into the quilt of American cuisine. From the importance of choice chicken to the flaky, butter-laden bliss of a homemade crust, we're serving up the how-tos and hearty laughs—especially when our four-legged sous chefs eagerly await their share. And while we're tugging at the heartstrings, join us for a journey down south, reminiscing about church potlucks and the delicate art of chicken and dumplings that could start a family feud or seal a friendship.

Then, Dave and I swap stories from our shelter-at-home saga, stirring up more than just stews and sauces. We discovered joy, resilience, and that sometimes a failed beans and rice can turn into a triumphant Cincinnati chili. Each episode in the kitchen became an adventure, and we invite you to pull up a chair and share your own. So, whether you're seeking to perfect your pot pie prowess or simply need a dash of inspiration to spice up your home cooking, this episode promises a feast for your ears and your appetite.

Support the Show.

Speaker 1:

Welcome to 15 Tacos. I'm Dave and I'm Jen coming to you from our kitchen and we've got cookbook spread out and we've been, you know, doing our prep for the episode. This week we're talking about chicken pot pie. Now, I grew up I didn't really have chicken pot pie growing up, but I really remember that when I do have had had it, like when we moved here. Well, first of all, I don't really think of chicken pot pie as a very southern thing.

Speaker 2:

Well, let me tell you the difference. I think I think is that chicken pot pie is more of a just an American thing. Right, and that's gonna be with vegetables in it. Right, things like carrot.

Speaker 1:

English peas, corn, that stuff. Yeah, I remember having it.

Speaker 2:

Right, chicken pot pie is more of a southern thing. Gotcha and it's kind of a cousin, I guess in a way to like chicken and dumplings.

Speaker 1:

Gotcha, and I know you know I way we make it and the way you've seen it was sometimes it's a pie crust and then sometimes it's a biscuit, like basically just biscuits put on top. But that's the one I never really liked.

Speaker 2:

Yeah it. It can be a little doughy.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, the pie crust one was always the good one. Uh-huh yeah and that's what you make. Now, how did you kind of start getting? When did you start making pot pie or pot chicken pie? Right, I?

Speaker 2:

should say Well, I guess the reason that I started making it and it would probably be around the time we got married was because I ate it. Growing up, my mom made it and it was one of my favorite things. Now and I think I've referenced this on a different episode, I think maybe the one about Mother's Day and some of the cooking that our mothers did but my mom's version was actually a shortcut version because you know, and I've mentioned, that she had some health issues.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 2:

And so to make dough from scratch was kind of a big task, so she just used, like the frozen pie crust, right, okay, that you'd get at the grocery store. You know it comes. They came in in a tin and everything Right, okay, she would just let them thaw a little bit and cut, cut them, she cut strips and and you know, that was, that was her, her crust, she would do. You know, the lattice top. Okay, but it was one of my favorite things.

Speaker 2:

It was just very comforting and it was typically kind of a Sunday dinner, you know. Sunday after church type meal, but you know my mom's deceased, of course, and so I called my aunt, her sister, to see did they eat that growing up? You know was that something that they had, and she said, yes, that, that that my grandmother did make a homemade chicken pie, gotcha. And so you know, mom was kind of carrying on that tradition. She just had to amend it a little bit you know and, like I said, do a shortcut.

Speaker 2:

but anyway, when you know, I started making it. I wanted to do it across from scratch and I found this really amazing crust that I've used all these years. And it's just kind of become one of my things, oh yeah.

Speaker 1:

And the kids love it, I love it, and to me the crust is a huge part of it.

Speaker 2:

Well, it is, it definitely is.

Speaker 1:

And so you know, and when you look at recipes, there's so many recipes out there today that are shortcut this, shortcut that, and shortcuts aren't bad.

Speaker 2:

No.

Speaker 1:

But you do sometimes lose flavor in them and there's ways to do it and we'll talk a little bit about our method or your method that you can still get a lot of flavor and it doesn't take. It doesn't have to take a lot of time.

Speaker 2:

Right, right.

Speaker 1:

So basically kind of describe your method a little bit.

Speaker 2:

Sure, well, what is really key is also your chicken. So you need to start with some good quality chicken, and I recommend getting some that has the skin on and the bone in, because that's where you're going to get your flavor. But you know, you can go with whatever you prefer white meat, dark meat, meat, a mix of both. You can cut up an entire chicken. You know, however you want to do it, you're going to basically boil that or kind of simmer it on the stove, and it makes its own stock or broth, whatever you want to call it, and I would typically add bay leaf, of course to that.

Speaker 1:

Oh, gotta have the bay leaf.

Speaker 2:

Gotta have the bay leaf, but then maybe y'all throw in some peppercorns, or, if I've got it like some celery stalks and stuff like that. Garlic maybe, yeah, maybe, and you just kind of let that slowly cook you know, probably for about an hour on the stove, and then you've got that wonderful chicken to start with the stewed chicken and the broth.

Speaker 2:

And the broth. So then, typically, you know, while the chicken is cooking, that's a good time to then go ahead and make your crust. And you know I've done it several different ways. I have done it in the food processor, ha-ha Food processor. And that would be a time saver and it works pretty well, I would say.

Speaker 2:

And then you, you know, make it in, shape it into a disc wrap it in you know some kind of saran wrap type of something, put it in the fridge and let it rest for at least 30 minutes or an hour. Then you get your chicken after it's finished and you have to, you know, get the stuff off the bone.

Speaker 1:

You gotta go through and get it off the bone Get the skin and you gotta get all that. You have to separate all that out. You call it picking the chicken.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, picking the chicken, and our dogs go nuts when we're doing that that's their favorite thing. They know what's going on and they know they're going to get some good scraps.

Speaker 1:

They know there's some chicken scraps, that's right.

Speaker 2:

And then you have to make. Well, I make a salt or I make a white sauce. You make a white sauce Kind of like a bechamel or something to go in the pie, and I start with, you know, butter. I do a ring and add some of that good broth to it and everything. Then comes the assembly.

Speaker 1:

Right, and you put it together, and you make it, put it all together, but just that crust, the crispiness of the crust, with the creaminess and the chicken, oh, just like the best creamy chicken. It's just a great combination Very very comforting, very comforting. Very hearty, you know. But talking about shortcuts, you know it's one of those things where, yeah, you could do a rotisserie chicken and a frozen pie crust and this and that and you could. You know, the other thing you could do is kind of space it out a little bit now.

Speaker 2:

Exactly, and that's one of the things we do.

Speaker 1:

For instance, get your chicken, throw it a pot with water, let it cook on the stove while you're doing other things.

Speaker 2:

Right.

Speaker 1:

Cool it off, put it in the fridge, that's done.

Speaker 2:

Right, and then it can sit overnight. Yeah, and then you can. You know, maybe you don't have time that day to make it, so it's, but the chicken's already cooked, and then the next day you make your crust and put it all again.

Speaker 1:

Right, you can stage these things out like make your crust. Exactly it can be in the fridge overnight.

Speaker 2:

It doesn't care about that, oh sure.

Speaker 1:

So those are things you could do to kind of keep the scratch cooking elements of it in that homemade goodness.

Speaker 2:

Without it being just this ginormous order. Two, two and a half three hour big production Right and then you're just pulling it out.

Speaker 1:

You get your chicken, boom. Make a white sauce, roll your dough, stick it in the oven.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

You know, and the butter and the you know, those you cook really know the high crust butter loves being cold.

Speaker 1:

Oh yeah, and that just helps it puff and you know the kids love it. I mean they just love it. It's a very mom dish. That's one of those dishes we talked about that the kids are gonna remember from you, right? But yeah, I don't know why we didn't really eat that growing up. But you know, we make, we use that technique for other things. We use the, we boil the chicken, you know for a lot of things that way, and we don't use all the stock when we make pie like that.

Speaker 2:

So you know but then. You can, save it, you can freeze it yeah. Or then the next day you might wanna make soup out of it or whatever.

Speaker 1:

Right, use it for other things, right, yeah, so there's a lot of things we made that we use that technique to make it chicken stock. We do it sometimes with chicken thighs, just all chicken thighs. Mm-hmm, that makes a nice ridge. We'll make soups that same way.

Speaker 2:

Mm-hmm.

Speaker 1:

Gumbo Gumbo. Yeah, it's a great starter of a lot of elements. Whole chickens, I think, do really well, Mm-hmm, because there's a lot more skin Right and the skin makes a really richer broth and you get gelatin Right and the bones and all of that really helps rich in the broth up. So, if I were saying the way to do it, I'd do a whole chicken. That would be me.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

But I think you get the best broth with a whole chicken.

Speaker 2:

I agree, yeah, and you know this is hard to come by, but if you can find an old chicken, oh, okay. Like this is coming across sounding weird, but like a hen that is of old age, like, say, a five-year-old bird, you're gonna get a tremendous amount of flavor.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 1:

Nowadays, the chickens are just real young and they unfortunately are not as flavorful, not as flavorful and there's a lot of things that have happened to ingredients that's maybe a topic for another podcast that have changed how we do things Right, some of the research we've been doing for topics and shows. But yeah, the scratch cooking, even though you can take shortcuts, man, I just I always feel like we're losing flavor and you're kind of like not doing it justice. You know it's like why are you doing it? You're kind of doing the idea of it, but not really the flavor. To me is really the point of it, not just making a pie Right, or at the very least do it sometimes you know, if you have to take some shortcuts sometimes just to get the meal on the table for your family.

Speaker 1:

There is that.

Speaker 2:

You know. But yeah, like make some special occasions where you kind of set aside the time and you do it all from scratch and it's a real labor of love, you know. I mean you're gonna enjoy it too.

Speaker 1:

Right Now, when we were talking about this and kind of our research, you know we talked about chicken and dumplings.

Speaker 2:

And there's a lot of similarities there.

Speaker 1:

Yes, and did you have that growing up much?

Speaker 2:

No, Really the only time I remember eating chicken and dumplings was maybe at a restaurant or as something called dinner on the ground which is a very southern thing with churches, yeah.

Speaker 1:

I discovered that early on.

Speaker 2:

It's kind of like a homecoming for people who have been part of that church in years past. They come home for this one special service and then everybody in the community brings a dish and they have it outside. It's all laid out on the table. I was like I'm not a good person. The church that my mom was part of growing up they would have dinner on the grounds and I remember eating some really, really good chicken and dumplings at that.

Speaker 2:

But my family didn't really do it, and that goes back to my grandfather my mom's dad. You kind of know about this. I mean, you never knew him. I never knew him. I mean he passed when I was very, very young but he had this thing about kind of dough and doughy stuff, really so you didn't like chicken and dough?

Speaker 2:

No, and this is the thing about the biscuits, right, exactly so he like on biscuits we can talk more about this and I've written a blog about it, but he didn't want a lot of dough in his biscuit. He just wanted a top crust and a bottom crust.

Speaker 1:

Well, I can see how he'd like the chicken pie.

Speaker 2:

He didn't like dumplings for that same reason, because he just felt like it was this kind of gummy, doughy motion in his mouth, and so I think probably my grandmother just would do a top crust for her pie.

Speaker 1:

for that reason it was just nice and crisp. Yeah, that's another thing. Top crust we only do top crust and I think the couple of times we've tried a bottom crust we just hadn't had a lot of good luck with it so just be you know we just and usually we do it in like a long 11 by whatever Pyrex glass dish.

Speaker 2:

I would say do it either in a nice ceramic kind of rectangular casserole type dish or something like tempered glass. Yeah, I mean, but you want to roll your dough pretty thin because you want to make sure it gets cooked through. And also that lattice technique that my mom did works really well, because then the air gets all around it. Yeah, I just like having more crust. So crust is the thing there.

Speaker 1:

But I feel like I'm being a little ADD tonight, but going back to the dinner on the ground. So I didn't. We didn't have those. I don't know where. I was in California, so when I moved back here, I started experiencing those and man, you're right, but what we did have one time I remember we didn't have potlucks we don't have potlucks.

Speaker 1:

Usually it was at the school and I remember one time they called it a dime, a dip, so it was a fundraiser and everybody. So it was a potluck but not really dinner on the grounds. But there's, I, you know, in some of my work and when I was working for a public television, did a story on a church way out of the mill and out of nowhere, and it was a dinner on the grounds and it was, you know, old, old, old, old, old church, and I think this was in the early nineties and this was their 150th anniversary or something.

Speaker 1:

But yeah, it's just some of the best cooking you're ever gonna have it is. But it's interesting. Our daughter loves chicken and dumplings.

Speaker 2:

She does.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I like it. Okay, but I like chicken pie a lot better.

Speaker 2:

Me too, me too. But, like you say, they are kind of similar and I mean we looked at some recipes because I mean we just honestly don't make chicken and dumplings.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 2:

But I guess it's sort of the same concept, it's just cooked in a different way. Now we did see that some of the chicken and dumpling dough didn't have butter in it, but it had milk. I don't put milk in my pie crust and I definitely do put butter. So you know, it's a little bit different possibly, but it's that concept of you know, using the broth, you cook the chicken the same way, and then you cook that dough, you cut it up or you can throw it in balls or pieces, and then you boil it, basically.

Speaker 1:

Right and to me that's what I feel like. To me that was my idea of I expected chicken and dumplings in the south, but not necessarily chicken pot. But it's interesting that you know in like said in our research, that chicken and dumplings that's it's very fairly ubiquitous around the country, but in different forms and that the south seemed to be more of the flatter dumplings.

Speaker 1:

to me that could almost be like you roll out a pie crust and then cut it up and just bolt it in there, yeah, whereas other areas it was more of almost like a matzah ball type dumpling. But yeah, no. So chicken pie is just one of those things we really enjoy. You know, it's a good winter dish but we like it whenever.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, we like it kind of year-round. Yeah, I mean you can have it in the spring and pair it with some asparagus or a salad, you know.

Speaker 1:

And I mean, like I said, we use that technique a lot for a lot of things. It's techniques you can use for other things, and you probably do, and you can make a head, you can stage it out, you can, you know, and but just it's hard to beat a good cream sauce and a well-made stock and a good yeah, butter-based crust. You can't really beat that.

Speaker 1:

And then you do shortcut some of those things you know, it's the idea of it, I mean it's not quite as good. We always a little disappointed when we try to rush it or something.

Speaker 2:

Well, and also we were talking about how you can do a meat pie you know, with like beef. That's kind of a similar concept, and I used to do that some.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I remember we've done that a few times.

Speaker 2:

And so you take, you know, cubes of whatever beef.

Speaker 1:

I don't know sirloin or some kind of chuck roast or whatever, and you saute them, you sear it, you know.

Speaker 2:

And then you, I guess, add a little bit of flour and some kind of liquid, you know you could do wine or broth?

Speaker 1:

Beef broth right.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and make a little kind of sauce, mm-hmm, and then I would typically add some mushrooms in there.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

And then do the crust same way.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm.

Speaker 2:

You know and bake it.

Speaker 1:

Right, so something similar if you're gonna make a beef stew almost except for the maybe less liquid and right crust, yeah, yeah. Yeah, so let's chicken pot pie.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, what are?

Speaker 1:

our favorites.

Speaker 2:

Chicken pie.

Speaker 1:

Let me afraid I keep saying pot pie but it's chicken, chicken, pie Chicken pie, that's right. Stop saying pot pie.

Speaker 2:

But yeah, making me hungry right now, or?

Speaker 1:

making ourselves hungry again. But anyway, that's sweet tea and tacos for this week and we thank you for listening. We hope you will continue to listen. Send us a question, you know, let us know, dave, at sweetteaandtacoscom or on Facebook. You can find us on Facebook, sweet tea and tacos, or, you know, send us an email, let us know. Send us, put a comment, give us a comment about do you have chicken pie growing up?

Speaker 1:

Did you call it chicken pot pie, like I always do, or did you have chicken, chicken and dumplings yeah, and then another thing we're trying to get started with Life is taking over, like last couple of weeks we got a little busy, yeah, with things opening up a little bit yeah. But what did you cook this week? You know, let us know we're gonna try to keep that, get that going and saying hey, what did you cook this week? What did we cook this week, what did we cook this week? I don't remember, but I will tell you we have cooked some things during this shelter at home.

Speaker 2:

I mean, we have just cooked and cooked, and cooked and we love to cook and it's been wonderful. But I feel like we got a chance to kind of hone some skills.

Speaker 1:

We certainly did.

Speaker 2:

That had been, you know, adjurating a little bit, and it's been nice.

Speaker 1:

It has been nice, you know, and then we don't always have time to just cook whatever we want, whatever we want. Like most everybody, we have a life and a budget and kids and business. And we did have a fun little one the other day Last week we were. It was one of those. Okay, what are we going to do tonight? You know, it's like you know I got four things in the fridge, what I'm going to do with it, and it started out as one thing and turned into Cincinnati chili.

Speaker 2:

So you know we were thinking red beans and rice.

Speaker 1:

That was where it was starting.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and then it ended up with chili.

Speaker 1:

Cincinnati chili over pasta. So yeah, so that's kind of the adventures in cooking we kind of have sometimes. But so let us know your adventures in cooking and keep cooking. So that's Sweet Teen Tacos. I'm Dave.

Speaker 2:

And I'm Jen. Thanks for listening.

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