If you ever see a pie bird at a tag sale, buy it first, figure it out later. Possibly their most important reason for being is that they are cute and almost always raise a chuckle. Many of the older examples are collectors' items, some with unusual value.
There is a practical and serious reason for using a pie bird, pie vent, pie whistle, pie funnel, or pie chimney. They are steam vents that rest on the bottom crust of the pie to direct the steam and prevent the pie from boiling over in the oven. They also support the center of the pie as it bakes and prevent it from sinking in the center an developing a soggy top crust.
The 3-4 inch pie birds date from Victorian times when no well-dressed bird of berry pie would be complete withut a ceramic pie bird merrily adorning the top.
Install the pie bird this way:
* Place the pie bird on the bottom crust. Spoon filling evenly around the bird and smooth the top.
* Use a small knife to cut a slit in the center of the top crust. Bring the bird through the slit and carefully arrange top crust over pie; crimp the edges of the pie and around the bird.
* Allow pie to cool with the bird in place. Remove it after you cut the first piece of pie.
Use this easy method for making a chicken pot pie guaranteed to please your family and show off your pie bird to best advantage.
Six to eight servings
6 Tbsp butter
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
4 cups cooked and seasoned chicken cut into large chunks
12 small white onions
3/4 cup frozen baby peas
3/4 cup carrots, blanched and cut into medium dice
1 cup sliced baby bella mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 Tbsp dried basil leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
1 recipe Never Fail Pie Crust
Preheat oven to 375-degrees.
* Melt butter in a sauce pan, stir in flour and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes
* Slowly add broth, cream and cook, stirring, until mixture is smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
* Mix vegetables and herbs into sauce until evenly mixed and well distributed (Sauce should be cooked but adequate so that the pie is not dry. If you feel it necessary, add a bit more stock or water). Adjust seasonings.
* Arrange pie bird and filling in pie pan or shallow casserole and top iwth crust.
* Bake until nicely browned, about 25-30 minutes.
As you remove the completed pie from the oven, listen carefully, legend tells us when the pie is extremely delicious or the steam is just right your bird might sing his pleasure.