Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Three Way Chicken Part 4: Pot Pie

This is the last recipe I make with my chicken preparation, and it is my newest addition. I ate pot pies as a kid (thank you Marie Calenders) but over the years they have gotten more processed and less, well, good. So I went about trying to make my own and quickly realized how close the prep was to chicken dumplings. That being said, it is remarkably close, with the only changes coming in the topping, thickness of sauce, and the addition of bacon (you can thank my girlfriend for that keen addition).

Chicken pot pie can be prepared individually (if you have ramekins that size) or as a large casserole. However, in my opinion, they should not have a bottom crust as the ratio of crust to sauce is crucial. I like a pie-like crust for my topping, but biscuits work just as well. Pie crust is quite an ordeal, and I promise to cover it in a future post. For now just use this recipe.


3 pieces bacon, chopped
1 onion, diced
2-3 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
3 garlic cloves, diced
2 bay leaves
4 T butter
4 T flour
1/4 C milk
Chicken, shredded
4-5 C chicken stock
3/4 C frozen peas
1 t dried thyme (or 2t fresh)
1 T chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper
Dash of cayenne

Add oil and butter to pot until hot; add bacon and sauté until starting to crisp. Add veggies, sauté until barely translucent, add the bay leaves. Mix in the flour and make a roux. Add chicken and let warm, then add stock. Cook until sauce starts to thicken. If sauce is too thick add more stock (you will have some leftover). Add milk and seasonings, and go heavy on the pepper. Let the sauce come to a simmer and cook for about 20-30 minutes. Add peas last. And don't forget to fish out the bay leaves.

Meanwhile, you can prep the crust for the top.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t kosher salt
1 t baking powder
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 cup cold butter, cubed
1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

Add shortening and butter to flour, salt, and baking powder, mix with fork, pastry blender or fingers until flaky. Gradually add ice water until the dough just comes together. Mix gently to form a loose ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly butter your ramekins or pan, followed by your chicken mixture. The goal is to mostly fill the pan, but not all the way to the top. Remove the dough from the fridge; roll out on a floured surface until about 1/4 inch thick. Place crust over the chicken mixture, gently pressing down. Bring in edges of crust and pinch around the edges (if you like lots of crust) or cut away excess and press down edges with a fork. Brush top with egg wash and crack some pepper over it. Bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour or until crust is flaky and brown.

So that's it. Chicken three ways from one prep. I hope you find use for it, as it has made my life much easier when I delve into these dishes.


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