Yesterday the city was on lock down due to the “big” snow storm. The storm wasn’t any where near as monumental as the hype suggested it might be, but it did give me a great excuse to stay home and cook.
Growing up chicken pot pies where always something that came frozen, in individual pie tins with the filling enclosed top and bottom in pastry. The bottom of these pies was always soggy. We would heat them up in the oven and wolf them down, soggy bottom be damned! I was slightly less critical of things when I was 8 😉 I was just so happy to tuck into this satisfying creamy chicken filled pastry. I could have eaten them every day and never gotten tired.
In doing research for making chicken pot pie I noticed a fair amount of recipes dispensed with the pie dough base and just topped the chicken filling with a round of pastry on top. This eliminates any worries of having an undercooked piece of dough as the foundation for your pie. But I do think that several recipes, like the one I adapted mine from (James Beard’s recipe was my inspiration. I once waited on him at a fancy New York restaurant I used to work at when I first moved here, but thats another story) depend on the bottom pastry to help thicken the creamy filling….more on that in the recipe.
One of primary motivations in wanting to make this dish was that I had some left over rough puff pastry in the fridge that I wanted to use. If you end up making a fresh batch of pastry I think this dish would be great served in individual 8 ounce ramekins.
It didn’t. I used a clay casserole dish which measures 2 1/2 ” deep by 12″ round (the interior circumference is more like 10″). You can use any dish that you like and fits the filling easily.
Lastly, almost every recipe calls for pearl onions and peas which have a very limited growing season here in the Northeast United States. Pearl onions are never an easy find fresh. So I heartily urge you to buy some bags quality frozen peas and onions and leave them in your freezer for those days when you just have to make a chicken pot pie.
Chicken Pot Pie
In a large stock pot add: 1 Tablespoon of peppercorns, 1 Tablespoon of Kosher or Sea salt, 1 cup of Parsley (stem and leaves), 5 large stems of fresh Thyme, 1 onion cut into quarters, 2 roughly chopped Celery Stalks and a 3-4 pound chicken, add enough water to cover and place over high heat until it boils, reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
Turn the heat off and remove the chicken from the pot. When it has cooled enough remove all the meat from the carcass. Place the skin and carcass and all the bones back into the stock pot. Turn the heat back on to medium and simmer for an hour.
While the stock is simmer make the pastry. I suggest using this one or you can use any pie pastry you like or might have on hand. Also frozen puff pastry is an option as well.
Using your hands shred the chicken meat into bite size chunks, place in a large bowl.Let the stock cool when finished cooking and then strain through a fine mesh sieve. Return to pot and turn heat back on to medium. When it begins to simmer individually cook: 10 ounces of roughly chopped Potatoes (I leave the skins on) until they are just cooked, you don’t want any of these veg to be soft as they will cook further in the oven. Remove potatoes and add: 2 Carrots sliced into 1/2″ discs. Repeat with: 1 cup of Pearl Onions and 8 ounces of frozen Peas. Placing the vegetables in the bowl with the chicken.
To the vegetable and chicken mixture add: 2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh, Thyme leaves and 3/4 cups roughly chopped fresh Parsley leaves.
In a medium sauce pot over medium high heat add: 1 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, when the butter has just melted add: 2-4 finely minced cloves of Garlic (depending on how garlic you like it) stir and then fold in 8 ounces of thinly sliced Crimini mushrooms. Cook for 3-5 minutes until the mushrooms wilt, remove and add to the chicken mixture.
In the same pan melt 3 Tablespoons of unsalted Butter sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of all-purpose Flour stirring constantly to make a roux. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Whisk in 1 cup of reserved Chicken stock – it will thicken quickly! Whisk in 1 cup of heavy Cream. Remove from heat and season generously with salt, black pepper and Tabasco sauce. Pour over the chicken mixture stir to combine. Taste again, adjust seasoning.
Place chicken mixture into a buttered baking dish.
Preheat the oven to 425 F.
This may seem very thick, but once it’s been cooked the liquid from the vegetables and chicken will thin it out. You can always add more chicken stock to thin it out.Roll out your pastry and top the filling.Make a slash in the top to let steam out, I made an “x” but just a simple slash would work as well. Brush the pastry with an egg wash (1 egg yolk, 1 Tablespoon water).
Place in the top third of the oven and bake until the pastry is nicely browned about 25 minutes.
Great served with a simple green salad and a nice Beaujolais!