Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie

“And if the taxes went up as predicted they would have to sell the house even if they kept the coffeehouse, which they probably wouldn’t do either because they wouldn’t be able to bear putting up the prices enough for the sort of hash and chili and chicken pot pie and succotash pudding and big fat sandwiches on slabs of our own bread menu that we do so well.”
-Sunshine

Recipe re-testing can be tedious. There’s a drag-yourself-out-of-bed-before-dawn-when-the-heater-is-broken kind of reluctance to the whole damnable process. If only I could make everything masterfully the first time! But once in a while if the culinary bodies are aligned, you stumble upon a lucky escape hatch.

For instance, when you make too much pie crust you can just…make more pie. And if seven pounds later your patience for peeling, slicing and arranging apples has waned considerably, you can swap the peeler for a cleaver and hack apart a chicken instead. Plus rain and Chicken Pot Pie go better together than rain and appl–hmm… Better than rain and cinnamon rol–no, those two are pretty great too.

Rain and Chicken Pot Pie is better than rain without Chicken Pot Pie.

Chicken Pot Pie

Ingredients

Chicken Pot PIe Ingredients

  • 2 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/6 cup butter or 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 1/6 cup butter
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • homemade pie crust or 1 package with 2 unbaked 9″ crusts
Directions

This is the first savory food I’m knocking out and once you’ve got the pie crust, the rest is just cooking. I love baking, I do–I really do, honest–but the beautiful thing about cooking is how fast and loose you can be with pretty much everything. This goes for the filling itself, but even for components, like the chicken stock.

Chicken Stock Ingredients
  • Bones of 1 chicken
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 stalks of celery
  • 1 large carrot
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons salt
Chicken Stock Directions

Prep of the ingredients should be minimal. Scrub the celery clean and cut into halves (or thirds depending on the size of your stock pot). Don’t mince, don’t slice, just hack and dump. Same goes for the carrots. Scrub. Peel. Chop. Dump.

Cut the ends off the onions and quarter it so you have four very large chunks. Into the pot! Toss in the garlic, peppercorns, a few generous pinches of salt, and the bay leaf. Fill the pot with cold water until it covers the ingredients by 2-3 inches.

If you have a steamer basket, open it inside the pot so it gently tamps all the ingredients down. Bring to a boil. After a few minutes reduce to a simmer.

After 15 minutes skim the top of the water, and check back every 15-30 minutes for the first hour. Keep it on a simmer for 6-8 hours, adding more water when the level dips below all your ingredients.

When the hours are up and your whole house smells delicious, take it off, strain the soup into another large vessel and chill overnight. Skim off the solidified fat in the morning and freeze what you don’t use for the chicken pot pie for soups or other edibles.

Chicken Pot Pie Directions

The alternative to an all day on-off relationship with your kitchen is to buy the chicken broth or opt for one of the overnight slow cooker methods that are floating around. Either will work just fine.

But enough about the ingredients: onto the pie!

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Heat up a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat and add your oil of choice. Remember how I said cooking was all willy nilly? You can use butter or canola oil or olive oil or–as I ended up doing–coconut oil. You could probably get away with the healthy route of no-oil, but if you wanted to cut calories, you probably wouldn’t be eating a chicken pot pie, so use your favorite cooking liquid and while you’re waiting for it to get good and hot, use liberal pinches/shakes of salt and pepper to season both sides of the chicken breasts. When the pan is hot, toss the chicken and let it sit for a few minutes so it gets a nice crispy brown coating.

Flip. Browning chicken

After a few more minutes, take it out of the pan.

Dump your sliced carrots, celery and peas into the pan. Carefully (it’s hot!) cut the chicken into cubes and toss it in with the veggies, then add half a cup of chicken stock, cover, bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes.

Chicken and veggies

While you’re waiting, you can roll out and shape your pie bottoms. One crust should make 4 bottoms, so keep the one you’re not working with in the fridge.

Crust pieces

Pie bottoms

Make sure to stick the doughed up dishes back in the fridge before you get back to the filling.

When the 15 minutes are up, take the chicken and veg off the heat and pour off any remaining chicken broth into a container for later.

Add the butter to the skillet and cook the onions on medium heat until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper for flavor and eminent gravy thickenage.

It’s possible to start this pan at the same time as the chicken and veggie pan if you have two pans big enough. I didn’t at the time, so I just made the process a little longer and clean up a little easier.

Onion gravy

Add milk, chicken broth and previously-saved chicken broth. Simmer at medium low until it’s so thick and rich you want to take a bath in it. Add the chicken and veggies to the party. Taste test and add more salt if necessary. Feel free to play fast and loose with the flavoring here, too. If you like garlic, add some garlic powder. Or sprinkle in some cumin–go nuts because it’s cooking and you can! Just make sure to taste what you’ve created as you go along.

Chicken swimming in gravy

Take it off the heat when the sauce is nice and thick. Finish making the pie bottoms if you haven’t already, and start/finish with the tops. For the tops, just roll out the crust until it’s a circle slightly larger than the top of the pie and cut a star into the top to give it that adorable old fashioned pie aesthetic. Functionally it lets out steam, but visually it totally makes the pie.

Pies Assemble!

Ladle in your creamy chicken mixture into the cups and top with crusts, pressing down a bit on the edges to get a bit of a seal, but not so hard you squelch out everything you just scooped in.

Pies Assembled!

Pop into the oven for 35 minutes, covering the tops with foil at the first sign of over browning–about 15 minutes. I used deeper Pyrex bowls since that’s what I had on hand, but if you’re using something more shallow, think about reducing the bake time to 30 minutes.

Baking Chicken Pot Pie

Take out of the oven and leave the kitchen before you do something supremely moronic thing like breaking into the pie, hearing the crisp crackle of crust, and burning the bejezus out of your mouth.

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie

Ingredients
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/6 cup butter or 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 1/6 cup butter
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • homemade pie crust or 1 package with 2 unbaked 9″ crusts
Directions

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Heat up a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat and add your oil of choice. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and place into the hot skillet to brown for 3-5 minutes on each side.

Remove the chicken, cut into the cubes and add it back into the pan with the carrots, celery, frozen peas, and 1/2 cup of chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes.

Roll out and place the pie crust bottoms into four Pyrex (or other oven-safe) containers (ramekins are popular). Keep in the fridge when done.

When the 15 minutes are up, take the chicken and veg off the heat and pour off any remaining chicken broth into a container for later.

Add the butter and cook the onions on medium heat until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper for flavor and eminent gravy thickenage.

Add milk, chicken broth and previously-saved chicken broth. Simmer at medium low until it’s so thick and rich you want to take a bath in it. Add the chicken and veggies to the party. Taste test and add more salt if necessary.

Take it off the heat when the sauce is nice and thick. Finish making the pie bottoms if you haven’t already, and start/finish with the tops. For the tops, just roll out the crust until it’s a circle slightly larger than the top of the pie and cut a star into the top to give it that adorable old fashioned pie aesthetic.

Ladle in your creamy chicken mixture into the cups and top with crusts, pressing down a bit on the edges to get a bit of a seal.

Pop into the oven for 35 minutes, (for a deeper dish) covering the tops with foil at the first sign of over browning–about 15 minutes.

Cool for at least 10 minutes, then chow down!

Chicken Pot Pies

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