Chicken Pot Pie

 

Ah, the pot pie! Who doesn’t get nostalgic for a chicken pot pie? I must have eaten hundreds of these frozen little goodies when I was growing up. Now it’s time for a grown-up version.

The best way to get rid of any nostalgia for a frozen pot pie is to actually eat one. I did that years ago only to be disgusted at the quality and flavor. Those tiny little pies in the aluminum tin really are made for kids. And after putting away over 400 calories in what seemed like 3 or 4 bites, I decided it was time to make my own. I’ve tried a few recipes…some with biscuits on top, some with topped with a puff pastry, but I’ve landed on this version that sports a true pot pie crust. The best part of a homemade pie, other than the crust, is that you can pack the thing with hearty veges and chicken cut into good-sized pieces. No more of those itsy bitsy diced vegetables that lack flavor. Nope, this is the way to go.

This recipe also doubles as a stew if you’re not into the crust on top, but it’s not going to taste as good…

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 pinch of saffron threads
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups large-diced potatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups 3/4-inch diced carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onion
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen small peas
  • 1/2 cup minced flat-leaf parsley

For the Pastry:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/2 to 1/3 cup ice water
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place chicken in a shallow dish and rub them with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until cooked through. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Cut (or shred) the chicken into bite-sized pieces.

2. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. At the same time, bring chicken stock to a simmer over medium heat.

3. Add flour to onions, reduce heat to low, and cook for 3 more minutes. Slowly add the stock, saffron, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the heavy cream and season to taste.

4. Cook the potatoes in boiling water for 10 minutes. Lift out with a sieve. Add the carrots to the pot and cook for 5 minutes. Drain well. Add the potatoes, carrots, onion, peas, chicken and parsley to the sauce and mix well.

5. For the pastry, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the shortening and butter and pulse 10 times, or until the fat is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water and process only enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together. Dump the dough out onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

6. Divide the filling equally into ovenproof bowls (4-6 bowls). Divide the dough and roll each piece into an 8-inch circle. Brush the outside edges of each bowl with the egg wash, then place the dough on top. Trim the circle to 1/2-inch larger than the top of the bowl. Crimp the edges as you would with a pie (or drape the dough for a more rustic look). Brush the dough with egg wash and make 3 slits in the top. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.

Be sure to let the pie rest a few minutes before you dig in or you will burn the inside of your mouth!

This recipe was a based on Ina Garten’s Vegetable Pot Pie in her cookbook entitled Barefoot Contessa Parties! I reduced the butter content, took out some of the veges (fennel, asparagus tips, butternut squash), and added chicken to make it a little more hearty.

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