Smithville Chicken Pie History & Recipe
In the 1900′s, Smithville was a busy town with about 34 freight and passenger trains stoping and going on a daily basis. There were several hotels, banks, and store fronts in Smithville. The McAfee Hotel in particular, made Smithvile well known nationwide. According to the McAfee family, in the hotel they had a restaurant known as the Chicken House where they served delicious chicken pies. Their chicken pie was so good the passengers on the trains would wire ahead so they could have plates of chicken pie ready and waiting on the table upon their arrival. It has been told that the freight trains would mysteriously break down in Smithville right around dinner time. A fire destroyed the McAfee Hotel and many other buildings; soon the passenger trains no longer came through Smithville.
The recipe for the chicken pie that was served at the McAfee Hotel was printed in local newspaper years ago was submitted by Mrs. Julia McAfee Montgomery, granddaughter of the founder of the hotel. It is as followers
Pastry: 2 cups flour; 1 cup sweet milk; 4 T vegetable shortening; 4 tsp baking powder; 1 tsp salt or if one wishes to use butermilk: 2 C flour; 1 C buttermilk; 4 T shortening; 1 tsp salt; ½ tsp soda. Boil one young chicken until tender and bone. Make pastry, mix and divide into two parts. Roll out one piece quite thin, line sides of pan or dish, put in layer of chicken, dot with butter, salt, and pepper. Cut pastry strips and cover chicken, then put another layer of chicken, alternating the chicken and pastry until all is used. Into center of meat place two or three eggs, just dropped in and they will cook along with the pie. Add 1 C milk and any water in which the chicken was cooked. There should be enough water to almost cover the contents in the pan. Take a second piece of pastry, roll out thin and dot with butter, cover the top of pie, press edges together, stick with fork and make a generous cross cut in center to allow steam to escape. Bake in moderate oven 30 to 40 minutes until contents are cooked the crust is browned.
Diane Smith, organized the Smithville Improvement Group in 1996 and had the idea of the Chicken Pie Festival which went on for several years. Diane passed during this time. It has been said that she had such a passion for this festival that she left instructions prior to her passing. Today the Smithville Recreation Club is hosting the event in an attempt to keep the legend going. If you have not already tried the Chicken Pie, please do so. You can follow the sign down Cementary Street to the Smithville Recreation Club. There is plenty of room for people to park at the Club building.