Friday, November 15, 2013

Mrs. Herring's Chicken Pot Pie: The Recipe That Launched the Walnut Room

Located on the 7th floor of Macy’s on State Street (formerly Marshall Field’s), the Walnut Room has been serving guests as the very first restaurant in a department store since the late 1890’s. In fact Marshall Field's was the first department store ever to introduce the concept of an in-store tea room with the Walnut Room. In the 19th century, it was considered in poor taste for a lady to dine alone. When Marshall Field's clerk, Mrs. Herring, shared her lunch with a tired shopper, Marshall Field's recognized the need to better accommodate his female customers. To this day the classic Mrs. Herring's Chicken Pot Pie is a Walnut Room favorite.

Originally published in the now out of print Marshall Field's Cookbook, here's my take on Mrs. Herring's Chicken Pot Pie, a winter favorite guaranteed to warm your belly and your soul on a cold winter's evening.

Mrs. Herring's Chicken Pot Pie
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry dough, thawed. You can also use a ready-made pie crust, thawed - our family prefers the pie crust
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 ounces cooked chicken breast meat, cubed
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/4 cup diced cooked carrot 
1. Preheat oven to 450° F.

2. Cut circles from the puff pastry (or pie crust) to fit the tops of individual casseroles.

3. Melt the butter in a medium pan and stir in the flour. Add the broth, whisking until smooth. Keep whisking as you heat to a boil and cook 1 more minute until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Add the cubed, cooked chicken, peas, and carrots. Pour into each mini-casserole. Top with a pastry round, tucking the edges in and cutting a small X into the center of the pastry. 

Bake 25 minutes until puffy and golden. Serve hot.

File:Marshall Field Tea Room.jpg
The Walnut Room in 1909

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