Friday, February 17, 2012

chicken pot pie, oh my

I don’t know where to start! It’s a chicken pot pie, a simple—simply amazing—chicken pot pie, that’s got me all tied up in knots. Crazy, right?


I know. I'll start with my emotions, ‘cause getting in touch with one’s emotions is a good starting point, or so I've been told.

I'm...

... tickled pink ... with my new-found chicken pot pie knowledge.

... dismayed ... that I never ate chicken pot pie when I was growing up, and maybe not until this very week, canyoubelieveit?

... flabbergasted ... that I wasn’t inspired to learn to make chicken pot pie before. But now I’ve seen the light, glory be!

... evangelical ... about spreading the chicken pot pie love. Eat your hearts out, folks. Your soul will sing.

... infatuated  ... with my lard crust—it’s the best savory pie crust out there, and I am not ashamed to say it.

... concerned ... I’ve been eating a little too much chicken pot pie.

... craving ... more chicken pot pie, even though I’ve already made two in three days.

... basking ... in the glow of my husband’s approval. “If only we ate like this every night,” he sighs wistfully as he helps himself to seconds. (If I wasn’t so sated with pot pie, I might consider that a slam.)

Seriously, pot pie is my newest, puppy-love crush. Lots of sappiness, moaning, dreamy smiles and the like.


Need more convincing? Take this.

Pot pie perks:
*It tastes good (of course).
*It’s easy.
*When using a Dutch oven, it’s a one-kettle meal.
*It’s pretty.
*Preparing it makes you feel like a domestic goddess (or god).
*Parts of the recipe can be made ahead.
*It’s filling.
*It’s an all-in-one meal, though a green side is nice, too.
*Kids like it.
*Grown-ups like it.
*The chicken is moist.
*The vegetables are tender.
*The sauce is creamy.
*The crust is flaky.
*Leftovers are magnificent.


Pot pie cons:
*Over-eating. It happens.
*The crusty edges are guaranteed to inspire vigorous fights, the type that involves jabbing-stabbing forks.
*Leftovers, there probably won’t be any.
*Burned tongues, because waiting is impossible.


As you can see, the perks far outweigh the cons. Clearly, pot pie is, or ought to be, in your future. And the sooner the better.


So, here’s what you need to do. (It appears I’m destined to write this post list format. Maybe this is one of the side effects of too much pot pie?)

1. Obtain 4 cups of shredded cooked chicken. Roasted is fine, or poached.
2. Make this pastry. This pastry is made for pot pie. Seriously! Change the rest of the recipe as much as you like, but whatever you do, use the lard crust. It elevates the pot pie to astonishing heights. Tops off the whole dish, too, hee-hee.
3. Chop up some veggies.

All of that can be done in the morning (and points 1 and 2 can be done days in advance), so that a couple hours before supper, all you need to do is saute, top, and bake. In other words...


4. MAKE POT PIE.


Chicken Pot Pie
Adapted from the Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook

Cook’s Illustrated recommends simmering boneless chicken breasts (about 1 ½ pounds) in 2 cups of broth for 8-10 minutes. Shred the chicken and reserve the broth.

4 cups shredded, cooked chicken
4-5 carrots, chopped
3-4 stalks of celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
½ cup flour
1 ½ cups milk
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, plus more as needed
1 ½ teaspoons salt, plus more as needed
½ teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried parsley (or 3 tablespoons fresh)
3 tablespoons dry sherry
1 cup frozen peas
½ recipe lard pastry

In a Dutch oven (or large soup pot), saute the carrots, celery, and onion in the olive oil for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and wipe out the pot.

Return the Dutch oven to the heat and melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook for 30-60 seconds. Whisk in the milk and then the broth and simmer till thick (which will be almost immediately). Add the thyme, parsley, salt, and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in the chicken, veggies, peas, and sherry. Taste to correct seasonings. If using a Dutch oven, scrape down the sides to pretty it up, or transfer the meat filling to a 9 x 13 baking dish.

Roll out the pastry dough to the desired thickness and place atop the veggies, tucking in the edges. Make steam vents by slashing the top of the pastry in several places.

Bake the pot pie, uncovered, at 350 degrees for about an hour, or until the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbling merrily.

This same time, years previous: snippets, odd ends, creamed chicken with cheese biscuits (this pot pie is much superior), cleaning up bad attitudes

19 comments:

  1. I was just looking at that recipe. Im going to have to make it as soon as my pots and pans are out of boxes. Oh and when I have a stove. I LOVE chicken pot pie. Its my favorite comfort food.

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  2. Our first 3 years of marriage I made lots of chicken pot pies as well as beef pot pies (well when we were together as hubby was gone a lot with work!).... then tragedy struck. My dear sweet husband started having problems eating chicken, as in every single time he ate it he had a hard time breathing and it got worse. So he was tested and was found allergic to poultry... Fast forward 18 years.... he accidentally eats something with chicken and....... nothing! Not even a sneeze, sniffle, cough, or slightest tightening. Retesting and... there are NO food allergies!! (definite answer to prayer!) So now chicken is our best friend!! but our crust was only so so... So all of this to say thank you! This will be our new crust recipe! (i wonder how shredded pork would work... sorry just remembering a Portuguese dish but can't remember what its called.)

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  3. This sounds like even I can make it! My family likes pot-pie too, so I guess I'll put this on my dinner list for next week. Thank you, thank you!

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  4. look forward to trying this one! looks yummy...even at 6 a.m. ;)

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  5. We ate chicken and dumplings when I was growing up, which I consider very similar in prep and style. If I had chicken potpie as a kid, it was one of those nasty little frozen pies when the babysitter came. But like you, I have discovered the real thing! I even had it on the menu this week and we haven't eaten it yet this winter - is there something pot-pie-ish in the air...?

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  6. I want to make this for my husband. I have leftover chicken, but no lard. How do you think it would turn out if I replaced the lard in the recipe with crisco?

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    1. I'm sure it would be fine. Go for it!

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    2. Already done. Realized I had the book with the recipe on my shelf and just followed their crust. I'll increase the bake time to one hour and bake it in a dutch oven. Wish I would have chopped the carrots smaller, I think they will turn out a bit firm.

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  7. If only this recipe WERE easy, but all my chickens come whole, so there's the whole de-boning process to go through first. We don't eat a lot of chicken around here... Not sure why this is my block, but I definitely prefer grabbing a pound of ground beef to brown over boiling or roasting a chicken. Hmmm, maybe there's a ground beef pot pie in my future?

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    Replies
    1. I recently learned how to cut up a chicken and it is so simple it's almost magic (though work IS involved, but I don't think that's ever scared you off before). Set a few chickens out to thaw tonight, have a cutting up party in the am, and then re-freeze what you won't use right off.

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    2. I know, I know, work in the kitchen rarely scares me off. I do know how to cut up a chicken -- have since I was a girl and had to do it myself. Maybe it's because there's so little meat for all the bones. Or because they're so expensive when not growing them ourselves.

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    3. I cook the whole chicken in the crock pot with some broth till it falls off the bone - no work involved! THen use the meat many ways. Chicken salad, pot pie or refreeze for later use.
      L in Elkton

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  8. Chicken Pot Pie is addicting. Now when I make it I have to make two so The Girl Who Thinks She's A Bird can eat one for breakfast.

    What in the world took you so long to make one?

    You know... If you have a rather long "honey do" list you may want to find yourself some mini pie tins so you can bake a few extra and put them in Mr. Handsome's lunch box. ;)

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  9. Husband loved it, I'll make it again. Easy and will be a good dish to make when we have guests staying. I made it in a dutch oven and the filling flowed over the crust and made the middle soggy, so next time I'll try baking it in a 9x13.

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  10. I cannot be the only person who has to make extra crust to go with the pot pie... ??

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  11. My husband finished this whole pie in three days by himself(I don't like pot pie) and he can't wait for the next time.

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  12. It must have been the week of the pot pie. I decided to make some for our Valentines Day Dinner (similar but with GF biscuits on top instead of the traditional crust). My friend also made the traditional two bottom and top crust chicken pot pie the same day. It must just be the time of year for Chicken Pot Pie however you design it!
    L in Elkton

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  13. I <3 chicken pot pie. And although I typically do not like pie crust on sweet pies, I *adore* it on savory ones. As such, I usually make a double crust pot pie. But, even better is to make a top-crust pie with half of a full crust recipe and then bake the other half (cut into whatever shapes you like) on a baking sheet for the last 20-30 minutes of cooking. More crispy crust for everyone! I also replace a few tablespoons of the water with pepper-infused vodka. Infused alcohol might be the best thing to ever happen to pie crust.

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