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Nellie Reed’s Chicken Pie

5.00 avg. rating (98% score) - 10 votes

Nellie Reed’s Chicken Pie

In 1978 we brought you the story of the now late Nellie Reed and her famous chicken pies. For years the people of Owl’s Head, Maine, said the best pie crust they’d ever eaten was made by Nellie. And the best filling between two crusts on the entire coast of Maine was Nellie’s chicken pie — with double gravy, of course . . .

The chicken:

Ingredients

  • "The secrets are the gravy and the pie crust, but you've got to start with a good roasting chicken. I use all of a 3-pound chicken, except for the giblets. And she never used fryers."
    • 3 pound chicken
    • water
    • salt

Instructions

Boil a 3-pound chicken in salted water (2 teaspoons of salt). When done (about 1-1/2 hours), pick meat off, cut into bite-size chunks, and refrigerate until the following day.


The gravy:

Ingredients

  • "People say they like the gravy most of all. They have to have the pies with double gravy -- the gravy I put into the pie, and the gravy they put on top."
    • 1 can Campbell's onion soup
    • flour
    • water

Instructions

With the chicken removed, set the chicken broth out overnight. Skim off most of the fat the next day, but leave enough for flavor. Add 1 can Campbell's onion soup, and bring broth to boil. Thicken broth with paste made from flour and water, using as much as necessary to make desired consistency. Strain gravy to remove onions.


The pie:

Ingredients

  • "This is my absolute foolproof pie-crust recipe for four double crusts. You can freeze them, and you'll be surprised how fast they will go."
    • 1 pound lard
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 5-1/4 cups flour
    • 1 cup water
    • 2 tablespoons butter

Instructions

Soften lard until it is pliable; put in mixing bowl. Add salt. Add flour. Then put the hands to work. Don't mix with a spoon. Mix the flour and lard until it resembles soft putty. Add water and mix well. Section off dough for four double crusts. Freeze three sections in separate plastic bags. Roll dough for one double crust thin. Place bottom crust in pie plate and fill with chicken. Cover with 1-3/4 cups gravy, then with top crust. Spread butter on top crust. Bake 30 minutes at 400 degrees F. Serve hot with extra gravy.


Comments
  • This is an absolute wonderful recipe…in fact all of Nellie’s recipes were great. So was the story that went along with them. I made this back in 1978, and again over and over. It’s wonderful that Nellie’s legacy lives on with all of us. I originally clipped out the articles that highlighted the great New England Cooks and still have my originals. I think that for the highest rated recipes, or ones that are still getting comments, Yankee should reprint here on the website the originals with the photos.

    Reply
  • What if I can’t find Campbell’s Onion Soup? All I see in my Boston grocery stores is Campbell’s French Onion Soup. Any suggestions for an alternative.

    Reply
  • Do you have a copy of Nellie’s Seafood Casserole recipe? If so please share it.
    Thank you in advance:-)

    Reply
  • Don’t be afraid to use lard! It makes an incredible crust. Years back, it was believed that lard was thought not to be a healthy fat. The roles have reversed: hydrogenated shortening is now the “bad guy” and lard, coconut oil, and palm shortening are the more healthy fats. Enjoy:-)

    Reply
  • Anonymous

    This is a wonderful chicken pie recipe; in my family, we make it even better by mixing 1/2 cup peas and 1/2 cup partly cooked, sliced carrots to the chicken meat before adding it to the pie. Nellie Reed’s Seafood casserole is also incredibly delicious! She was truly a Great New England cook!

    Reply
  • So happy to see Nellie’s recipe! I’ve been making it for years since I first saw it. It’s a Christmas favorite. Many years ago I had a “colonial supper” for several couples and Nellie’s pie was the main event. The crust is awesome too…the only place I would ever consider still using lard. Thanks for a fun article.

    Reply
  • I also had copied the recipe years ago and misplaced it somewhere or another along the way. In fact, I had written to Nellie Reed to thank her for her pie crust recipe, and received a lovely letter back from that nice lady.

    The chicken pie is delicious, and the pie crust is incredibly good.

    Reply
  • Anonymous

    Sometime in the 1970s I found this recipe in Yankee Magazine, thought it sounded good and made it. My family and guests raved. I made sure I copied the recipe from the magazine and put it somewhere I wouldn’t lose it. I lost it. I have thought about that pie with its luscious chicken pies, delicious gravy and the light as air lard crust so many times but just couldn’t remember the exact recipe. Today (July 7, 2004) I found it in the Farmers Almanac e-mail I received at work. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Now I can cook it again and this time I really won’t lose the recipe.

    Reply
  • Christine

    Absolutely delicious! This is the best crust I have ever eaten. Reminds me of my grandmother’s crust. Just a few ingredients and the taste is incredible. Will definitely be making this for the rest of my life.

    Reply
  • This is my family’s favorite all time special dinner recipe. I cook up something special for their birthdays; they always ask for this.

    Reply
  • Wonderful family recipe. I made it several times by the book and then changed from lard to regular shortening-still great! I have made it since I first saw the recipe in 1978-it is a family favorite.

    Reply

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