Chicken Pot Pie

EDITED 1/19/2019. I posted this recipe a few years ago. Since then, I’ve adjusted it significantly to make a much better chicken pot pie. The information below is the new and improved recipe. I hope you love it as much as we do.

Nothing says “comfort food” like chicken pot pie. This recipe is an amalgamation of several I’ve used over the years, and it will make two pies. Seriously, if you’re gonna buy all the ingredients to make one pie, you might as well make two and save yourself the dinner prep. Amirite?

Filling Ingredients:

2 deep dish frozen pie shells
4 cups shredded chicken (Buy one or two pre-cooked rotisserie chickens from the supermarket and save yourself the hassle.)
1 3/4 cups carrots, sliced
2/3 cup onion, sliced
1 cup celery, sliced
1 small shallot, minced
1/2 of a red bell pepper, diced
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup butter (yes, 2 sticks)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp dried thyme
3/4 black pepper
2 tsp salt
Splash or two of sherry (Wine, not vinegar. If you don’t use alcohol, omit this ingredient.)
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream

Pastry Crust Ingredients:

2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 c. shortening
6 Tbsp. cold water
4-5 additional Tbsp. cold water as needed
dried thyme
1 egg (for egg wash)

Crust Preparation:

Do this before you start doing prep work for the pie itself. The dough needs to rest awhile in the fridge.

Combine flour and salt in a large glass bowl.
Add shortening.
Cut the flour and shortening together with a pastry cutter, large fork, or your fingers until the pieces are the size of small peas.
Sprinkle the 6 Tbsp of cold water over mixture. Gently toss to combine.
Add a little dried thyme. Just enough to make it interesting, but not so much that it’s overwhelming.
Add more water, 1 Tbsp at a time, until dough is moist and workable. You don’t want it gooey or wet, and you don’t want it dry and crumbly. Think Goldilocks – just right.
Cut the dough in half and roll into balls.
Wrap in plastic and refrigerate.

Filling Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425.

Shred the chicken and set aside.
Prep all your ingredients and have them chopped, measured, and ready to go.

Set a pot of water on the stove to boil.
Once it’s boiling, add carrots. Remove from heat, and let sit for 10 min.
Drain carrots and set aside.

In your stock pot, melt the butter over medium heat.
Add onions and shallots and sweat them until nearly translucent.
Add celery and bell pepper to the pot. Saute for a few mins until softened.
Add flour and seasonings, and stir for about 2 minutes until well-combined and thickened. You don’t want to taste raw flour, so make sure not to cheat this step.
Deglaze with a splash of sherry. Stir a minute or two until the alcohol is burned off.
Stir in chicken broth, milk, and cream, in that order.
Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Don’t let it congeal on the bottom of the pan.
Remove from heat.

Add chicken, carrots, and peas.
Mix thoroughly.
Taste it and season again if necessary.

Assembly:

Remove the pastry crust from the fridge. Roll each one out on a floured surface. Cut into circles using a dinner plate as a template.

Get the frozen pie shells and place them on a cookie sheet.
Pour equal amounts of filling into each pie shell. Do not over-fill or your pies will blurp all over and the crust won’t get crispy. If you have extra filling, pour into a storage container and save for lunch tomorrow. (Creamy chicken stew, yay!)

Gently and carefully, lift the pastry crust and place on top of the pie. Pinch down the edges around the rim of the pan to seal it. Cut a few vents in the top for steam to escape.
Beat an egg in a small bowl. Brush the egg wash over the tops of the pies to help them brown.

Tear a large sheet of aluminum foil and tent it over your pies. The pies will be mostly covered with loose foil, but don’t wrap it to the pan or cover them tightly.

Bake for 20 min covered.
Remove the foil and bake uncovered for an additional 10-20 min or until golden but not browned.
Remove from oven and cool pies on a wire rack for 10-15 min before serving.

If you are freezing one of the pies, follow the instructions above except let the filling completely cool before assembling the pies and don’t egg-wash them. Cover with plastic wrap and foil. Or you can freeze the filling separately and just whip up the crust later when you’re ready to bake it.

chxpie3

See? That wasn’t so bad. If this is your first time making a pastry crust, give yourself a pat on the back! It’s tricky. It’s typically something done by feel, not by rote. The measurements provided are estimates, and you need to tune the ingredients to suit your personal tastes and your environment.

Recipes like this are hard to get down on paper because they are constantly shifting and changing. I encourage you to make it your own. If you don’t like celery, don’t add it! Want to put some corn or diced potatoes in? Go for it! Do you have half a bag of frozen mixed veggies left in the freezer? Toss ’em in! Flavor and season your pies to taste. That’s what cooking is about.

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