In this recipe, we will be honoring our ancestors. I should note before we begin that, by “ancestors,” I mean those who have come before us that we honor, love, and respect. They don’t have to be blood relatives, and they just as well can be. It’s completely up to you. This recipe came from the December 2014/January 2015 issue of Organic Gardening, a magazine that I believe is now unfortunately out of print.
This is a bit of a long recipe. Make sure you have some proper time set aside, and try to keep people away from the kitchen as long as possible. You’ll need probably around two hours, depending on how fast you can operate.
1 rib celery
3 bay leaves
1 T whole black peppercorns
5 sprigs of thyme
8 (skinless) bone-in chicken thighs
4 ½ C flour
1 tsp salt
5 ½ sticks butter (44 T, or a pound and 4 T)
1 C ice-cold water
1 tsp milk
2 T olive oil, separated
3 C halved and thinly sliced leeks (only white and light green parts)
2 T butter
12 oz brown mushrooms (should be about 4 C chopped)
1 T parsley, chopped
2 T thyme, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 T flour
½ C heavy cream
½ C grated parmesan cheese
The chicken from before, now boneless
- You’re going to begin with the stock by chopping the carrot, leek, onion, and celery. These are the fruits of the earth, and the fruits of your ancestors’ labors. As you chop, remember all of your inheritance, both physical and intangible. This could be land, values, or ways of looking at the world. Throw these all into a 4-quart pot.
- Add the bay leaves. These will assist you in communing with your honored dead. Then the black peppercorns, which give courage, and will remind you of all the courage your ancestors, much like yourself, had to have to get through hardship.
- Add the thyme and chicken. Thyme for Venus and mothers, and chicken for those who gave you your life (could be someone who raised you or had a big influence on you when you were younger).
- Cover everything completely with water, but by no more than ½ inch. You;ll want the flavors to saturate the water as much as possible, but not let the contents of the pot dry out. Bring this all to a boil, turn down the heat, and simmer 1 hour.
This is the perfect time to make your crust, but I also encourage a song or chant to keep the energy up while you wait.
- For the crust: using a large food processor, briefly mix the flour and salt. Pulse in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, and continue to pulse as you add in the water, until the dough comes together. It’s important that you do not overmix. Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- When the stock has simmered for its allotted time, remove the chicken and place it to the side. When it’s cool enough to handle, strip the meat from the bones, and place each in separate bowls.
- Strain the vegetables from the stock, return the liquid to the pot, and continue to simmer it until it’s reduced by about a third. This should take maybe 20 minutes. Set the stock aside for later, and place the stewed vegetables in the bowl with the bones. This combination can be used for an ancestral or divine offering at a later point.
- While the stock is in its final simmer, heat one tablespoon of the olive oil in a frying pan and cook the leeks over medium heat until soft. This will take about 5 minutes.
- Add the chopped parsley, which stands for Mercury and fatherhood, along with the remaining thyme. These represent your parental figures, buy blood or otherwise. Add the garlic; the fruits of their labors.
- Add the other tablespoon of oil and butter. Both take hard work to make, something we take for granted in an age when machines can do the work. Think of all the things you have that your ancestors didn’t.
- Add the mushrooms. Your ancestors grew through adversity and the unlikeliest of circumstances, just as you are today. This is why we honor them: we acknowledge and appreciate their hardships and successes, and we seek the guidance that those can provide us.
- Simmer this combination until the liquid cooks off, which should be about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the flour to coat the mixture. Pour in 1 C of the thickened stock, and combine. Add the chicken, cream, and cheese. You are now bringing everything together. All of your efforts, and all those of your ancestors. Together all of you are working together to make something great.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, beat the egg with the milk. This will make a sort of glaze that’s just lovely.
- Divide the pastry into smaller, more manageable batches, and roll out so that it’s about ⅛” thick. Cut the dough into circles. 5 ½” is usually ideal, but use what you have. Brush the edges with the egg mixture.
- Place a large amount of filling on the round. You want there to be as much as possible while still being able to close it. Fold the pastry over and press the edges as you would a regular pie so that it’s sealed.
- Place the pie pockets onto the baking sheet and brush with the egg mixture. Bake 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
These pies make excellent offerings to the ancestors, and put you in a great mindset for making those offerings. They also freeze well, and make about 24 pies, so all around they’re one of the most practical dishes I’ve ever come across, alongside one of the most delicious.