Recipe: Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot PieIf you’re like me, cold weather gets you craving comfort foods: Warm, filling, rustic recipes that would be appropriate eaten in a log cabin before a roaring fire (with something on the television, because even my cozy urges happen in modern times).

For me, chicken pot pie is one of the ultimate comfort foods. It combines a few of my favorite things: Carbs (in the form of flaky crust), savory salty stew, and the timeless peas-and-carrots combo.

Best of all, my chicken pot pie recipe is fairly straightforward to make, meaning you can limit your time in the kitchen and maximize your time under a fluffy blanket on the couch. It’s also endlessly customizable, so you can tinker with the fillings to get your personal perfect pie.

Crust Recipe

Follow the crust recipe from my apple pie. Exactly the same. I like to make chicken pot pie and apple pie in the same session to get the most out of my crust efforts.

Filling Ingredients

  • Boneless, skinless chicken parts (breasts, tenders, thighs, or any combination thereof are fine according to your preference), chopped to cubes
  • Olive oil or other cooking fat
  • Diced onions
  • Carrots, peeled and chopped
  • Frozen peas
  • Peeled and cubed potatoes
  • Any other vegetable you like in chicken pot pie (I like celery, for starters)
  • Chicken stock
  • Flour (a few tablespoons)
  • Seasonings: Salt and pepper, other seasonings to taste. Tarragon is nice.

Filling Procedure

  • Pot pie filling simmering on the stove.
    Pot pie filling simmering on the stove.

    Begin by heating a small amount of oil or other cooking fat in a Dutch oven or large saucepan. Add the chicken cubes and brown on all sides.

  • Remove the chicken and put on a plate or shallow bowl.
  • Heat a little more oil or fat in the pan. Add onions and saute till soft and fragrant.
  • Add carrots and other fresh vegetables. DO NOT ADD THE FROZEN PEAS YET. Stir and cook until veggies are starting to soften.
  • Add a few tablespoons of flour to the pot and stir into the veggies. You want everything lightly coated in flour, but not so much flour that there are clumps on the pan. You’re basically making a version of a roux that will thicken the broth for the filling.
  • Once the veggies are coated in flour and have browned a little more (doesn’t take long), slowly begin to add broth. I do this slowly because I like a less brothy pie filling, so I like to stop as soon as there seems to be enough broth to coat the veggies with a little extra for the chicken we’ll be adding back.
  • Stir everything so the flour and broth combine and thicken. Simmer on low.
  • Add the chicken back into the mixture. Add the peas as well.
  • Taste and season to your liking.

Assembly

  • You’ll have rolled out your pie crust and laid it in one or more pie plates. I usually make at least two chicken pies at a time.
  • Use a ladle to divide your prepared filling between the pie dishes.
  • Roll out the crust for pie covers and cover and seal the pies. Use a bread knife to notch a few steam vents in the covers for cooking (bonus points: notch a fancy design. Why not).
  • Assembly line to fill the pies with delicious chicken pot.
    Assembly line to fill the pies with delicious chicken pot.

    Bake at 425 F for approximately 30 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling at the edges. The cooking time may vary quite a bit depending on your oven. Since the filling is already cooked, you really only have to worry about the crust being cooked.

  • Cool the pie for a little bit until it is no longer capable of giving you third degree mouth burns. Then . . . eat!

 Tips and Tricks

  • You can freeze this pie to cook later, but it doesn’t come out as well as the apple one does. My theory on this is that the height of filling in the apple pie helps the crust to brown better after freezing (this theory is not based on science). The chicken pot pie doesn’t get really brown after having been frozen. It still tastes good, though. It will need longer to cook if you froze it.
  • This recipe could easily be changed to your preference. You could use leftover chicken or turkey instead of cooking it just for this; you could use mashed potatoes on top for more of a shepherd’s pie vibe; you could switch up the veggies however you wanted.