"On the Fourth Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me four colly birds." Yes you really have been singing it wrong all these years. The original English version translated from the French is "Four Colly Birds". So what in the world are "Colly" birds. The word has the same source as "colliery" as in a mine for coal, and as with the coal, a colly bird is simply a black bird. Four black birds is another gift of food as in the childhood rhyme of "Sing A Song of Sixpence". Should you ever take it into your head to duplicate this feat, here is the recipe:
Black Bird Pie
•10 inch pie crust
•3 cups All Purpose Flour
•1 teaspoon salt
•3/4 cup unsalted butter
•6 tablespoons shortening or lard
•6 to 8 tablespoons ice water
•1 large egg
•2 slices bacon
•1 large onion chopped
•1 cup fresh mushrooms
•2 tablespoons butter
•All Purpose Flour
•4 lbs bird meat of your choice or poultry (left over Thanksgiving turkey)
•1 cup chicken broth
•2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced thinly
•1/3 cup fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
•1/2 cup white cooking wine
•1/6 teaspoon ground mace
•1 pinch ground cloves
•1 sachet garni
•Salt pepper and garlic to taste
•1 ½ cups Gravy Mix
2.Mix flour and salt. Cut in butter and lard with pastry blender until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Sprinkle the cold water over flour mixture and quickly mix in, using a fork. Gather dough into a ball, wrap in wax paper and chill for 30 minutes.
3.1. In a 6-quart dutch oven, saute the bacon over medium heat until almost crisp. Remove bacon and place on paper towels to absorb excess oil. Add onions and saute until golden brown. Add the mushrooms and saute a couple of minutes, being careful not to soften the mushrooms. Remove onions and mushrooms from pan and reserve. Add 2 tablespoons butter to pot.
4.2. Put some flour seasoned with salt and pepper into a mixing bowl and dredge the bird pieces in flour. Brown the bird pieces in the pot of bacon fat and butter. Add more fat if needed. Remove bird from pot when browned. Add 1/3 cup chicken broth and scrape pot to blend browned bits. Return birds to pot plus mushrooms, onions and crumbled bacon. Top with carrots, potatoes, sachet garni, cooking wine, parsley, and remaining chicken broth. Stir in mace, cloves , salt, pepper, and garlic. Cover and bring to a boil, than reduce heat and simmer gently until the birds are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the bird and vegetable mixture from dutch oven with slotted spoon, leave sachet. Cool in refrigerator.
5.3. Prepare pie crust.
6.4. Mix gravy according to recipe on package.
7.5. Place bottom crust in baking dish.
8.6. Remove the bird and vegetable mixture from refrigerator, place onto pie pan. Pour gravy over the mixture. The gravy should come almost half way up the pan. If gravy does not cover high enough, add chicken broth or add heavy cream, but do not water down the gravy.
9.7. Cover with the top crust. Place a hole in the center of the crust for a steam vent. Brush the crust with an egg wash.
10.8. Place in a preheated 400 degree oven for 60 minutes. The crust should be browned and the pie should be bubbling hot.
11.9. Remove and allow to cool.