Chicken pot pie like Lady Eaton liked it


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Recipes for items served at Eaton's restaurants and sold to take home are often requested in this column. Occasionally recipes have turned up that are close replicas, and there have even been a couple from former employees that family members kindly shared. Most of the time the requests go unanswered, simply because the recipes are not available.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 03/02/2010 (4797 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Recipes for items served at Eaton’s restaurants and sold to take home are often requested in this column. Occasionally recipes have turned up that are close replicas, and there have even been a couple from former employees that family members kindly shared. Most of the time the requests go unanswered, simply because the recipes are not available.

One of the latest requests came from Susan Gareau for Eaton’s chicken pot pie and today two versions are featured. They are both good, but the fillings are quite different in taste. My own experience with Eaton’s from growing up in rural Winnipegosis was limited to devouring its catalogues, so readers will have to let me know which version they think is closest to the original or if there were two.

The recipe for the Georgian Room chicken pot pie is from Lunch with Lady Eaton, by Carol Anderson and Katharine Mallinson. The book contains historical information and has a small selection of recipes adapted for the home kitchen that were compiled from dietitians’ notes and private collections. Thanks to Odean Lukow and Caroll Akerstream for sending in copies.

The recipe for chicken pot pie sauce is from the book A Store Like No Other: Eaton’s of Winnipeg by Russ Gourluck, another historical book which contains a few recipes. The introduction to the recipe states that it "comes directly from food services manager Alan Finnbogason, he has declared it authentic, and it is printed exactly as he provided it." Thanks to Carol Hogue and Helen Smith for sending it in.

Our first request is also for a dish from a former restaurant. Frank Smith asks if anyone has the recipe for the cucumber and shrimp salad that was served at the River Mandarin restaurant in Winnipeg.

Lastly are a couple of dessert requests. Marlene Johnson of Ile des Chenes recalls a dessert she had at the Gilbert Plains golf course a few years ago and hopes someone might be able to share the recipe. It was baked in a 9 x 13- inch pan and was made of several thin, light brown vanilla-like cake layers with a filling that was somewhat like cream cheese.

Cathy McGimpsey writes that she was at two catered events recently and sampled a square that she says was fabulous. It had a very soft brownie or fudge base that was topped with a firm cheesecake, and then with a very slight strawberry or perhaps raspberry topping. She doesn’t know who the caterer was, and asks if anyone might have a similar recipe.

If you can help with a recipe request, have your own request, or a favourite recipe you’d like to share, send an email to, fax it to 697-7412, or write to Recipe Swap, c/o Darlene Henderson, Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6. Please include your first and last name, address and telephone number.


Original Georgian Room chicken pot pie 

(Lunch with Lady Eaton version)

Pastry for double-crust pie

1 litre (4 cups) chicken stock

30 ml (2 tbsp) soft butter

30 ml (2 tbsp) chicken fat

120 ml (8 tbsp) all-purpose flour

250 ml (1 cup) mushrooms – sliced

125 ml (4 oz) jar red pimento – drained & chopped

12 potato balls – steamed until just tender

375 ml (1 1/2 generous cups) cooked white chicken meat in large pieces

375 ml (1 1/2 generous cups) cooked dark chicken meat in large pieces

Prepare pastry for double-crust pie; set aside.

Fricassee sauce: in a saucepan, blend butter, chicken fat and flour until smooth. Over medium heat, whisk in chicken stock. Simmer for 20 minutes until thickened. This sauce must be made fresh for pies the day they are to be eaten. Do not freeze.

In a 2 litre (quart) rectangular casserole dish, combine chicken and potatoes.

Stir mushrooms and pimento into fricassee sauce; pour over chicken and potatoes.

Roll pastry into a rectangle large enough to cover casserole dish, or cut into six five-inch circles, and place on top of filling. Brush crust with egg and milk glaze (1 egg plus 15 ml/1 tbsp milk).

Bake at 230 C (450 F) for 12 to 15 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and sauce bubbling.

Serves six. This can also be made as six individual 10-ounce pot pies.

Taste Tester Notes: This has a velvety smooth sauce. The mushrooms will cook in the oven. The recipe calls for potato balls, and you can use canned potatoes or make your own


Chicken pot pie sauce

(A Store Like No Other: Eaton’s of Winnipeg version, from Alan Finnbogason)

80 ml (1/3 cup) margarine

15 – 22 ml (1 -1 1/2 tbsp) chicken base

1 litre (4 cups) water

60 ml (1/4 cup) corn starch (or a little more)

175 ml (3/4 cup) carrots

175 ml (3/4 cup) onions

175 ml (3/4 cup) celery

175 ml (3/4 cup) green peas

2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt

2 ml (1/2 tsp) pepper

1 ml (1/4 tsp) savoury

1 ml (1/4 tsp) basil

Heat the margarine in a kettle. Add first three vegetables. Add corn starch and mix. Add heated chicken stock or water with chicken base. Bring to a boil. Finish off with seasoning and green peas.

Place cooked chicken in ramekins or large casserole. Cover with sauce, mix, then top with raw pastry. Bake at 175 C (350 F) until pastry browns and contents heated. Makes six servings.

Taste Taster Notes: Sauté the carrots, onions and celery until the onions are soft. I used raw sliced carrots and they will continue to soften as the sauce cooks, and I used frozen peas that will cook quickly. Depending on the type of chicken base or stock that you use, you may not want to add the additional salt, so taste the sauce first before adding it. After cooking, my sauce was a bit thin so I used a little more corn starch (mixed into a small amount of cold water) to help thicken it. You’ll need about 750 ml to 1 litre (3 to 4 cups) of chopped chicken, and pastry to fit the baking dish you use. I baked this at 230 C (450 F) for 12 minutes for a flakier pastry and then turned the oven down to 175 C (350 F) for the remainder of the time, which will only be a few minutes longer.



Updated on Thursday, February 25, 2010 1:35 PM CST: Darlene Henderson would like to note Eaton’s in Toronto had a Georgian Dining Room, and that is the origin of the name (it is not a mistake).

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