Mmmmmm, Chicken Pot Pie! It is like a warm comforting hug. My second favorite comfort food of all time (after macaroni and cheese, of course!!). I remember as a child anxiously awaiting the ding of the oven for my chicken pot pie to be done. The waiting only amplified by the glorious smell emitting from the oven. Then came what seemed like an eternal wait for it to cool enough to eat. No telling how many times I rushed the process and burned the roof of my mouth. Most of the time followed by my mom saying, “I told you it was still too hot to eat!” I can say now that I still have not quite learned that lesson!!
I never have any leftover chicken pot pies. They all get baked and either are eaten within a couple of days, given away, or frozen for a fast weeknight meal. I do have leftovers that go into a pot pie at times. I’m sure you do, too. Leftover rotisserie chicken? (Or frozen leftover turkey!?) Frozen veggies? A few new potatoes?-all possible ingredients!
I will share two methods with you. One is a fast one using can soup. The other is a little bit more time-consuming, but a little healthier and “homemade”. Both, however, begin with 1 box refrigerated pie crust –the roll out kind. If you have a favorite pie crust recipe, by all means, get busy. I have found that for this chicken pot pie, it is difficult to tell the difference, except for saved time.
One Pot Chicken Pot Pie: To begin, take the pie crust out the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature.
For the homemade version, in one pot, saute’ cubed chicken (1 lb) in a little olive oil.When the chicken begins to stick and turn brown, add in 1/2 cup of water-adding 1/4 cup at a time. Yes, I said water!! We are in a sense making some chicken stock! But if you prefer the soup shortcut, omit the water and proceed. (If using cooked chicken, saute’ the seasonings in a little olive oil)
Add in 1 cup of diced onions (can use frozen seasoning blend with onions, peppers, parsley)
1/2 cup chopped celery (chop remaining and freeze for other recipes)
1 clove minced garlic and continue to simmer for five minutes.
While this is simmering, preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roll out pie crust, using roller to even the thickness.
For the pie containers, you can buy individual aluminum pie shells relatively inexpensive. A good method if you are baking the pies to take to friends. If not, choose the size ramekins you would like your pot pies to be-one big pie would be family style! Spray pie shells with non-stick spray. Press one-quarter in bottom of each shell or ramekin. (Yes, I am a top and bottom crust type of girl!!) Pierce the crust with a fork a few times to prevent it from bubbling during baking. Bake the bottom crust for 12-14 minutes or until a light brown.
Next step is optional but flavor changing, add 1/4 cup white wine to simmering pot. Then add fresh or frozen vegetables (1 bag of frozen is a good amount). I’m using baby carrots, corn, and asparagus. Add a few dashes of white or black pepper (or if you prefer creole seasoning).
(Took the soup shortcut or using cooked chicken? Add 1 can of cream of chicken soup and the cooked chicken. Simmer for 10 minutes and omit next steps.)
You should have some nice stock by now. If not, add in additional water 1 TBSP at a time while simmering for the 10 minutes.
Now is the time to thicken up that wonderful stock. Time to make a beurre manie-French term for “Kneaded Butter”. Don’t let the term scare you, it is so easy…and quicker than making a roux! Simply take equal parts of flour and butter-2 TBSP of each. (I use unsalted.) Let the butter soften, then knead together with the flour. I like to use my mortar and pestle, but you can use your fingers (warmth from fingers helps soften the butter quicker) or if you are not a dirty hands type of person, simply use a spoon.
After making a small “dough” ball, add it into the simmering pot and whisk. Turn up heat and bring to quick boil, whisking as you go for one minute. Each grain of flour is covered in luscious butter so it will easily melt and thicken up the stock without any lumps!After all is mixed, remove from heat and whisk in 1 TBSP cream (or half and half)-this is another optional step for those preferring no cream.
Shortcut soup route, pick up here: If you like potatoes in your pot pie, I recommend using new potatoes (depending on size and how many potatoes you like, 3-5). Pierce them with a knife and microwave 3-4 minutes. Let cool a bit, then quarter them. (I find this works better than putting them in the pot earlier, the potatoes stay together.) Add the potatoes and one final ingredient that makes me happy-cheese!! Add 1/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese!!
Let cool slightly. (Don’t want to melt our top pie crust!) Ladle filling over bottom pie crust, filling up ramekin or shell. Use spoon to gently press filling down ensuring all the creamy goodness is evenly distributed. I dash some hot sauce!Top each with quarter of pie crust, gently pressing pie crust over entire surface. Working around the edges, tuck any excess into the pie-sealing all sides.
Let’s vent the top of the pies. Get creative by using the tip of a knife to make small dashes. If having a dinner party, I like to put guests initials on top! For my hubby and for deliveries for friends to show my love, my favorite is a heart!At 450 degrees-Bake the pies on a sheet pan covered with foil (easy clean-up!) for 15 minutes or until brown. (or as crispy as you like them!)
That’s it! Serve with a side salad or my favorite, some mini jalapeno corn muffins! Mmmm
Put your TO COOK IS TO CREATE thinking cap on: What vegetables would your family love? This could also be an all vegetable pie! What other cheese would be good? A tasty grown up one is Gruyère! What else instead of potatoes? Rice is a good substitute-think chicken and rice soup or even wide egg noodles!! Have any leftover cooked brisket or beef tips? Make it a beef pot pie, using red wine, fresh mushrooms, and Havarti cheese. How could you personalize the pie?
FOOD FUN: Winter time can be depressing for some people. In fact, it is reported 1 in every 16 people in the U.S. get the Winter Blues. The long cold days and dark nights can be brightened by a gift of comforting food. Bake a couple extra pies. Line a box with parchment paper. Carefully put hot pies into box. Close box and make a food delivery to a friend. The pies will stay warm for at least an hour and when the lid is lifted the chicken pot pie smell will brighten the mood of all.