• Kate

Chicken Pot Pie/Chicken Pie

Chicken Pot Pie can be a sore spot with my Mommom, don’t get me wrong she absolutely loves it and in my opinion, makes the best version. Who am I kidding, I will believe my Mommom makes the best anything. What I mean is she likes to be specific, that what you and I may think of when we hear chicken pot pie is not indeed chicken pot pie. It is only chicken pie, there is no pot (even if you may at first prepare it in a pot).

Chicken POT pie is served in an actual pot, with what I can only assume to be pieces of crust floating within. I have only had this “real” chicken pot pie version once and from what I remember it is pretty much soup.

Whatever way you call it, this week we are making chicken with an assortment of vegetables in a pie crust. Chicken Pot Pie or for you Mommom (because I am assuming you will read this) Chicken Pie.

Chicken Pot Pie/ Chicken Pie

  • 8 Chicken Thighs

  • 3 Large Carrots

  • 5 Small Celery Stalks

  • ½ Large Vedalia Onion

  • 3 C Chicken Stock

  • 1 C Frozen Peas

  • 6 Tbsp Butter

  • 6 Tbsp Flour

  • Fresh Thyme

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • Paprika

  • 1 Pie Crust (Bill was kind enough to make mine)

  • 1 Egg Yolk

Servings: 6

If you, like me, are tight for time you probably like meal prepping. I don’t get home Monday and Tuesday until 9pm and the last thing I want to do is cook, and come Wednesday I only return home about an hour before guests arrive. It is like sudden death cooking if I leave everything for Wednesday so I like to prepare as much as I can ahead of time.

For this Chicken Pot Pie, on Sunday (when I have all the time in the world) I prepped my vegetables and stored them in airtight containers. Carrots are peeled and cut into even ¼” rounds, celery is sliced much the same size, and my onion is diced. All stored and ready to go!

You know what else I did on Sunday? Cooked my chicken. Gasp! Yes! I cooked my 8 chicken thighs at 375℉ for 40 minutes, let them cool then pulled the chicken off the bone. I avoid cooking with chicken breasts as much as possible. I think thighs have the best flavor and I prefer dark meat. The bone and skin all add flavor to the meat, try not to take the easy way out and get boneless/skinless. I understand sometimes easier is best but other times the flavor is best, so really consider what is more important to a particular dish.

With all this time on Sunday, I even enhanced the Chicken Stock I purchased from the store. After pulling the meat from the bone I tossed the bones, some of the juice/grease that baked out of the chicken, and 6 sprigs of fresh thyme with my store bought stock. After allowing this to simmer for about an hour on low I let it cool and stored it in my refrigerator.

Fast Forward to the day of….

You have your prepped your vegetables and chicken and now it is time to bring it all together into a steaming pool of gravy goodness.

In a medium pot bring chicken stock to a simmer and toss in your carrots and celery for 5 minutes. Pre-cooking these tough vegetables is a good way to ensure that they won’t still be too hard in your pot pie. I like my veggies to retain some crunch, to add a bright texture to a mostly soft dish so I only cook these for 5 minutes before pulling them out of the hot stock.

In a large pot or dutch oven melt 6 Tbsp of butter, cube the butter to make this process speed up. Toss in your diced onions and stir occasionally until translucent, once soft add in your carrots and celery cooking for a few short minutes.

It is time to make our roux, that lovely mixture of fat and flour that cooks together creating a wonderful nutty aroma and becomes the thickening agent to our gravy. In your buttery vegetable mixture easily measure in 6 Tbsp of flour, stirring with each tablespoon to make sure not to burn the flour. Cook for five minutes as the color turns a toasty brown and begins to smell like nuts. Your vegetables are going to be sticking together, you want to keep them moving.

When your mixture is a medium-light brown it is time to mix in your warm stock. We want to continuously stir the liquid into our roux as to not break the fat/flour and create clumps. The amount can vary, 3 C is a good beginning rule but it can entirely depend on how your roux cooked down. If your ratio was more butter to flour you may not need so much stock and if your roux has more flour you may need just an extra spoonful. I find it to be a good process to take this step slow and assess your gravy with each cup; for example, this time I added about 3 ¼ C of stock to my roux (it will tighten up a bit in the oven and as it cooks on the stove).

Set pot to a simmer and prep your counter to work your dough. I am not sure I have ever successfully made a dough, I tried a small handful of times and decided it was not for me. I was lucky enough to have my friend Melody offer to prepare a dough so I would not have to top my homemade pie with a store-bought crust. Sadly, Melody apologized the day before saying she would be unable to prep the crust in time. This was absolutely understandable, we are all busy and I was completely ready to stop at the store on my way home. No big deal.

That night I had my friend Bill over and told him about my plans for the pot pie, making him jealous that due to his overactive schedule he would not be able to experience this tantalizing masterpiece (like a good friend should). I brought up how I now needed to pick up a store-bought dough for the crust and to him, that was a big deal. He was shocked I wasn’t going to make my own, to which I informed him that if I attempted to make crust it would be a disaster, trust me it was better this way.

I tell you, he stood up and offered to make my dough...at 10:30 PM. If I wanted him to. What was I gonna say...no? If he was willing to make the dough, I was more then willing to let him. No matter the time. I then was proceeded to be chastised that no I, in fact, do not keep lard in my apartment, or Crisco. Bill begrudgingly resorted to a butter crust, nothing wrong with that I thought. He worked the cubed butter into flour with a fork until little pebbles formed and walked me through the process, just in case I ever want to take on this challenge (yea, okay).

I felt like a winner: homemade crust I didn’t have to labor over, a lesson, and I will take a man who bakes any day.

I did have to overcome some of my dough related fear and roll it out the next day. Do I take it out of the fridge beforehand? Should it be really cold? I was not sure! When working with the dough you don’t want the butter to be melty so I left it in my fridge until it was ready to roll. I don’t own a rolling pin, shocker, but I do have an abundance of liquor bottles (shocker again) and as far as I am concerned a rum bottle was going to get the job done just as well. After flouring the surface and my “rolling pin” and a few choice words as I whacked and rolled this solid mass of butter and flour I finally had what sort of resembled an oval. Believe it or not, that was the shape I was looking for.

Pour your marvelous mixture into an oven safe baking dish (after setting some aside for the chef to eat right now), if you are adding any frozen vegetables now is the time. I like peas in my chicken pot pie and don’t have the time to shell a cup of peas, frozen will do! Cover dish with your dough letting it hang over your sides, crimping the edges into a neat design and to lock your gravy in. Finish it off with a few slits in the top to let moisture escape and brush with one egg yolk.

Set on a cookie sheet, catching any drippings and place in the middle of a 350℉ oven for 10 minutes covered and 10-15 minutes uncovered. Once cool, dish up and enjoy on a chilly day!

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