Chicken Pot Pie
This is one of those recipes that you have to have on hand. It’s delicious, it’s perfect (better?) as leftovers, it’s quick (especially if you use rotisserie chicken), it’s good for you and it’s comfort like you haven’t needed since the last April frost.
I used to think that meat pie was like pizza – even when it’s bad it’s good. But then I moved to Australia, the land where meat pies are breakfast (and lunch and…dinner) and are, more often than not, pretty disgusting. Sure there are the Bourke Street Bakeries and true mum-and-pop shops, but, on the whole, they are inedible, defrosted puddles of goop inside stale pastry served with ketchup on top. I know, way harsh Tai. But seriously.
Back in the U.S., straight into the sticky hot malaise of summer, comfort food was the last thing on my mind. Hell, food was the last thing on my mind as I struggled (struggle? am struggling?) to deal with all the enormous (super enormous? gigantic?) changes in our lives.
But now. It’s March. It’s cold. This winter in Boston has been one of the worst on record. I wrote the first part of this post in September, almost six months ago. So much has changed since September. For one, more changes, all of them good. This long, frigid winter was my big thaw. And I’m coming out the other side ready, finally, to cook again.
So while we wait for the mountains of snow to melt, here’s an old favorite to keep you warm until spring. We could all use it.
Classic Chicken Pot Pie
Makes 8 individual or 1 large pot pie. It’s great to make ahead and freeze, unbaked, until you’re ready to defrost and bake. You can also assemble and bake them a few days in advance, store them in the fridge, and reheat when ready. Enjoy.
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
8 mushrooms, chopped
4 tablespoons (50 grams) butter
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups chicken stock
3 cups cooked chicken, shredded (see directions if using uncooked chicken)
3 tablespoons dry sherry (or white wine)
3/4 cups frozen peas
2 teaspoons fresh (or 1 tsp dried) thyme
Store-bought puff pastry (or homemade biscuit dough/shortcrust)
Preheat oven to 400F/200C.
If using uncooked chicken, boil pieces of chicken in the stock for 10 minutes, reserve meat and broth separately. Continue with recipe:
In a large pot, fry the carrots, onion and celery in a bit of oil for 5 minutes or until tender; season with salt and pepper. While veggies fry, shred the chicken with your fingers and set aside in a large bowl. When veggies are done, transfer them to the bowl with the chicken and set aside but don’t wash the bowl.
In the now empty pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk constantly for 1 minute then whisk in the chicken broth, milk, thyme and any accumulated chicken juices. Simmer for a minute or two, until the sauce fully thickens; season with salt and pepper and add the sherry (or wine).
Mix the chicken and veggies into the pot with the sauce and add the peas. Pour the mixture into individual ramekins or any high-sided baking dish. Cover dish/es with pastry and bake for 20 – 30 minutes until the pastry is golden.