My grandmother was quite the Lady of the Manor. Like most women of her time, she never worked outside the home. She was born into a wealthy family so didn’t have to work inside the home either! She had maids to clean the house, a cook to prepare the meals, and a washer woman to do the laundry. As privileged a life as she led, she kept a tight reign on the running of her household. She always told me, “Just because you don’t do the housework yourself doesn’t mean you don’t need to learn how. You can’t expect someone to do the work properly if you don’t know how to do it yourself.”
In keeping with that, she would make me sit in the kitchen with paper and pen to watch as the cook prepared certain dishes. I had to learn everything the cook did and write the recipe down in duplicate! One copy for myself and the other for my grandmother so she could see that I was legitimately jotting the recipe down and not just scribbling nonsense. No using carbon paper either! (We didn’t have copy machines back then.) At the age of fourteen, I thought it was a dreadful chore, but looking back I recognize the value of what my grandmother was trying to teach me.
Though she may not have done the actual everyday cooking herself, my grandmother knew exactly what went into every dish that was served in her home. She also had a little repertoire of recipes that she would occasionally go into the kitchen to prepare personally. This dish was one of them.
PASTEL DE GALLINA
- 1 recipe pastel crust (can substitute frozen puff pastry)
- 2-3 lbs. chicken, cut in pieces
- ½ cup butter or margarine for frying (add more as needed)
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 3 potatoes, cubed
- 1 carrot, cut in pieces
- 2 pcs. chorizo de bilbao, sliced
- 1 can vienna sausage, sliced
- 2 small cans button mushrooms (with juice)
- ¾ cup green peas
- 1 cup olives
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- ¼ cup flour
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 egg, beaten
- Make pastel crust (recipe below) and chill in refrigerator. If desired, you could substitute frozen puff pastry.
- Pre-heat oven to 350°.
- In a pot, melt butter and brown the chicken. Set cooked chicken aside.
- Sauté garlic, onion and bell pepper in same pot; then put chicken back.
- Add chicken broth, potatoes and carrots, and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add chorizo, vienna sausage, mushrooms, peas, olives, evaporated milk and flour, and continue cooking for 15 more minutes.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour all into a pyrex baking dish.
- Roll out pastel crust or thaw puff pastry according to package directions.
- Cover the chicken mixture with the crust and seal the sides by pressing on the edges of the pyrex; remove excess pastry. If desired, you could cut decorative shapes out of any extra pastry to decorate your pastel.
- Slash holes in the pastry to let out steam during baking; then brush with beaten egg so it will be shiny.
- Bake until crust is golden brown.
- 4 cups flour
- 2 tsps. salt
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 1¾ cup cold shortening (can use butter or margarine)
- ½ – ¾ cup ice water
- In a bowl, combine flour, salt and sugar.
- Cut in shortening till you have pea-size lumps.
- Gradually add as much water by tablespoonfuls as needed to moisten the dough and then mix by hand until just blended. Do not overwork the dough or it will be tough!
- Gather dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an hour.
- Roll out on floured surface.