Chicken Pot Pie is an excellent way to repurpose any chicken meat salvaged from making stock or to use up any leftover roasted chicken (click here for a Roast Chicken recipe). Besides, who doesn’t love a nice hearty chicken pot pie – especially during this time of year when its so cold and miserable out. Until about a year ago, I found the idea of making my own intimidating. However, while the ingredient list is a bit long, the process is actually not that complicated.
While they are a little too time consuming to make from scratch on your average weeknight, they freeze and reheat well so make them during some weekend when you have time and then freeze them for reheating during the week. It is for this reason that I recommend storing them in individual serving sized ramekins without the top crusts. When you are ready to reheat them, pop the frozen pot pies into an oven preheated to about 400 degrees for about 15 minutes then add the top crusts and continue cooking until the crust is golden brown and the filling bubbles. If the crust starts to get too dark before the filling bubbles, cover the top loosely with foil. Serve with a nice side salad and you’re good to go for dinner.
|1 1/4 lbs||Skinless, boneless chicken diced or shredded|
|2 cups||Chicken stock|
|4 Tblsp||Butter, unsalted|
|1 medium||Onion, diced|
|1/2 lb||Red or other waxy potato, cut into a medium dice|
|1 1/2||Carrots, cut into a medium dice|
|1/2 cup||Peas, fresh or frozen|
|Salt and Pepper to taste|
|1 1/4 cups||Whole Milk|
|3/4 cup||Cream (or another 3/4 cup milk)|
|4 drops||Tabasco Sauce|
|3 Tblsp||Chopped mixed herbs (consisting of Thyme, Rosemary, Chives, Parsley)|
|1 lb||Frozen Puff Pastry Dough, thawed ((Pepperidge Farm brand works well)|
|1||Egg, lightly beaten (optional)|
1. Melt 1 tblsp of the butter in a sauté pan on medium heat then sauté the onions and potatoes for about 10 minutes until just starting to soften. Then add the carrots and peas and cook until all the vegetables just become tender.
2. Now make the roux for the cream sauce by melting the remaining 3 tblsp of butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Once the butter starts to foam, add the flour a tablespoon at a time until the mixture has the consistency of wet sand (see photo below) then stir for another minute or two more, but don’t let the roux burn. Slowly pour in the chicken broth while whisking firmly to get out any lumps. Next whisk in the milk and cream. Raise the heat to medium and continue whisking until the sauce thickens to the point where it just coats the back of a spoon. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the Tabasco Sauce, sherry and herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, vegetables and sauce, and divide the mixture into 6 ovenproof ramekins with a capacity of at least 2 cups each. (At this point, the pies can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours or frozen).
4. Heat oven to 400. On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry dough out to a thickness of 1/6 of an inch. Cut out 6 circles of pastry just slightly larger than the diameter of the bowls. Fit the pastry over the tops of the bowls and brush them lightly with beaten egg, if using (I don’t often bother with the egg and I didn’t below, but it will accelerate the browning of the crust). Use a knife to poke a few holes in the pastry. Bake until the tops are golden brown and the filling starts to bubble over the side of the ramekin.