Chicken Pot Pie
Today is one of those fall days where it actually feels like fall. I’m wearing jeans and a sweater and am totally comfortable.
I’m also going through the photos that I took of the Chicken Pot Pie that I made the other week and drooling. We ate the leftovers for dinner last night, otherwise I’d probably be heating them up for lunch right now.
So that’s a little bit about my life.
Fall weather and Chicken Pot Pie make me happy.
So do things like my dog’s whiskers, the way the sky can turn such brilliant shades of orange and pink after the sun’s gone down, and a good Skype conversation with my dad.
I have to tell you, this particular Chicken Pot Pie recipe is one of my favorites. After tasting the sauce I yelled, “Oh my gosh!”, to no one but myself. So, I just had to share it with you.
It’s a simple pie with humble ingredients. I make this often enough, and use what I have on hand. So it can range from things like carrots, potatoes, and celery, to parsnips, squash, and peas. It feels like the kind of meal that’s been made for years and years and years, by people who at the end of the day, just want something nourishing and delicious to fill their bellies.
This meal fits that exactly.
A couple of weeks ago I roasted some chicken. The leftovers and pan drippings were frozen. Saved just for this meal. The bones went into the freezer, for the next time I need to make stock. I defrosted the chicken in the fridge overnight and then shredded it and dropped it into the cooked veggies.
I usually use chicken stock for this dish. But, this time I had pan drippings. You can tell the difference by the jiggliness of it. The pan drippings jiggle, while stock is more liquid. The fat will rise to the top of both. I like to scrape it off (and give it to the dog as a treat).
For this type of dish, I find it a little bit easier to just whisk the thickening agent (flour or cornstarch) together with some of the liquids, and add it to the pan. It thickens nicely once it boils. A traditional roux can be made instead (you know, where you heat some fat, then add an equal amount of flour and cook for about 30-60 seconds, then whisk in the stock and let it thicken), if you prefer.
After it boils and thickens, the milk is added. I don’t like it when the sauce breaks, so I like to leave the milk out until the end. Then heat it ever so gently, just until steam rises.
Once the seasoning is checked, the skillet is set on a baking sheet (in case of overflow – I’d rather clean that than the inside of the oven).
Pie crust is rolled out. I used Alana’s recipe (from her cookbook). I tried to work quickly, but since the skillet and filling were both so hot, it got a little soft. It didn’t seem to matter in the end though.
And then it bakes and bakes and suddenly it’s done and the air smells like so much goodness that I almost can’t contain myself. I want to devour the entire pie before it’s cooled and before my friend arrives for lunch.
But, I don’t. I restrain myself. I eat a normal sized portion and don’t even yell about how good it is in the middle of our conversation (although she did interrupt us to ask about the pie crust). I like when things get interrupted because something is just too good to keep quiet about.
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 carrot (or parsnip), chopped
- 2 small potatoes (or combination of 1-1 1/2 C potato, radish, turnip, or rutabaga), chopped
- 1 small sweet potato (or 1 C peeled acorn or butternut squash), chopped
- 1 small onion (or 2 shallots), chopped
- 2 stalks celery (or 1 fennel bulb), chopped
- to taste salt
- to taste pepper
- 1 t fresh rosemary (or thyme), chopped
- 1 small summer squash, (or 1/2 C cauliflower or peas), chopped
- 1-2 C chicken, cooked and shredded
- 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 1/2 C chicken (or vegetable) stock or chicken pan drippings
- 2 T all purpose flour (or 1 T cornstarch)
- 1/2 C cold water
- 1/2 C milk
- 1 pie crust
- 1 egg, beaten
- coarse sea salt
- lemon wedges, for serving
- Pre-heat oven to 375F.
- Heat an oven proof skillet. Add oil. When oil is hot, add carrot through rosemary. Cook covered, over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add summer squash and chicken and cook for about 3-5 minutes more, or until veggies are tender. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
- Whisk stock or pan drippings with flour and water. Add to the skillet, turn the heat to high, and bring it to a boil. Let it thicken for about 2-3 minutes. Whisk in the milk, turn heat to medium-low, and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until steam rises, but do not boil. Remove from heat, taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Set on a baking sheet.
- Roll out pie crust. Top the filling with the crust (careful, the skillet is hot!). Make a few air vents with a sharp knife. Brush with the egg and sprinkle with the coarse sea salt. Bake for 22-30 minutes, or until crust is browned and flaky.