Nellie Reed’s Chicken Pie

By Yankee Magazine

Jun 06 2002

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 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. 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.

The chicken:


3 pound chicken


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.



1 can Campbell’s onion soup


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.

Pie Crust


1 pound lard
1 tablespoon salt
5-1/4 cups flour
1 cup water
2 tablespoons butter


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. 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.