Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Slice the tops off the pumpkins. (Placing a pumpkin on a towel will help keep it from rolling around.) Scoop out the seeds, and discard. Using a pastry brush, brush insides of pumpkins with 2 tablespoons melted butter. Season insides of pumpkins with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. Place pumpkins on a baking sheet; cover tightly with foil. Bake until tender, about 30 minutes. Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil. Add pearl onions, and let simmer for 15 minutes. Drain; rinse under cold running water. Peel onions, and set aside. Melt 5 tablespoons butter in a large, high-sided skillet set over medium heat. Add potatoes and onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes begin to turn golden. Add mushrooms and carrots, and cook 4 to 5 minutes more. Add flour, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add reduced chicken stock and milk, and bring to a simmer. Cook until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in chicken, thyme, parsley, sage, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 3/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Remove from heat, and divide mixture among reserved pumpkin shells. Roll each piece of pate brisee to an 1/8-inch thickness. Pull center of dough upward to form a pumpkinlike stem. Place over the hollow of each filled pumpkin. Using the back of a small paring knife, mark the dough to simulate the lines of the pumpkin. Brush top of dough with egg wash. Bake until crust is golden, about 45 minutes.;
Place peppercorns, dill, parsley, bay leaves, leeks, carrots, celery, chicken, wings, and backs into a large stockpot. Add stock and 6 cups cold water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a very gentle simmer, and cook for 45 minutes. Liquid should just bubble up to the surface. A skin will form on the surface of the liquid; skim this off with a slotted spoon, and discard. Repeat as needed. After 45 minutes, remove chicken from the pot, and set aside until it is cool enough to handle. Remove the meat from the bones, set the meat aside, and return the bones to the pot. Shred the chicken, and set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use. Continue to simmer the stock, on the lowest heat possible, for 3 hours, skimming as needed. The chicken bones will begin to disintegrate. Strain the stock through a fine sieve into a very large bowl. Discard the solids. Place the bowl in an ice bath, and let cool to room temperature. Transfer to airtight containers. Stock may be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for 4 months. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or overnight. If storing, leave fat layer intact to the seal the stock. Before using, remove the layer of fat that has collected on the surface.
Yield: 5 quarts
Put the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor. All ingredients should be cold. Add the pieces of butter, pulse for approximately 10 seconds, or just until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the thyme leaves, and pulse to combine.
Add ice water, drop by drop, through the feed tube with the machine running, until the dough just holds together without being wet or sticky; do not process more than 30 seconds. Test the dough at this point by squeezing a small amount together. If it is crumbly, add a bit more water. Divide the dough in half, and shape into 2 disks. Wrap in plastic film, and refrigerate to chill for at least 1 hour.
This recipe makes enough to cover 12 potpies; wrap any unused dough in 2 layers of plastic wrap, and freeze for later use.
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