I found myself in need of a little comfort last week and the first thing that came to mind was a favorite meal from my childhood, my mother's chicken pot pie. I like to make it using my homemade chicken stock and pie crust, but my mother always used a boxed crust mix and canned stock. Feel free to do whatever works for you. And if you don't have time to mess around with pie crust, no problem, serve this easy-to-make filling over biscuits or egg noodles.
In a really good quality pan (here's mine), start by sauteing diced onions in a little butter. Butter makes everything taste better!
Add some kosher salt and pepper.
Cook, stirring frequently, for several minutes until the onions smell divine and make your mouth water.
Next add flour to the pan.
The flour is going to help thicken things up for us.
Whisk the flour into the butter and cook for 1-2 minutes to cook off the raw flour flavor - stir constantly so the mixture doesn't burn. I love using a flat whisk for this job.
Technical stuff: this step is called making a "roux" (roo). A roux will thicken a sauce, in this case, a "veloute" (vuh loo tay). Veloute is one of the 5 classic mother sauces (the other 4 are bechamel, hollandaise, espagnole, and tomat). Info you may not care to know, but there you go.
Back to our veloute - once the flour has bubbled away for a minute or two, add cold chicken stock (try my easy recipe) and milk.
Now whisk constantly until the mixture boils. The flour will reach its greatest thickening potential when it reaches a full boil.
Professional tip - to reduce the risk of developing lumps in your sauce, add cold liquid to hot roux.
See how the mixture thickened? You should be able to see a trail when you pull a wooden spoon across the bottom of your pan.
Depending on how flavorful (salty) the chicken stock you used was, you may need to add more salt and pepper so taste it carefully and adjust if necessary.
Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the cubed chicken and frozen vegetables. The frozen veggies will instantly cool down the filling - this is good because we want the filling to be cool when we fill the pie crusts.
Set the filling aside until needed (or chill in an airtight container for several days). Taste the filling again, just to be on the safe side.
For a busy weeknight option, forgo making pie crust and serve this filling over biscuits or egg noodles. Just heat it on the stovetop for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until the veggies are warmed through.
My hands were covered in flour so I didn't get photos of this part, but line two ceramic 5-inch mini pie plates with a bottom crust (these are the ones I use), fill with the cooled chicken pot pie filling, and add a top crust, crimping the edges together. Here's my all-butter pie crust.
For a shiny, golden brown crust, make an egg wash by whisking together an egg with a tablespoon of water.
Use a pastry brush to brush the egg wash all over the crust. Cut a few vent holes in the top crust and place the pies on a silicone-lined half sheet pan. The silicone liner will keep the pies from sliding on the pan, which, I can tell you from personal experience, can be disastrous...
I'll never forget the time a pumpkin pie slid across my tray, spilling its contents all over - what a horrible mess. The filling baked onto the hot oven door, all over the mesh door gasket, inside the door vents, and way down in the door hinges. We had to let the whole thing cool overnight before my husband could take the entire door apart so I could chizzle the solidified pumpkin pie filling out of all the nooks and crannies, and off the 3 panes of window glass. It was epic. Never, ever, again!
But I digress - back to our chicken pot pies...
Bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is hot and bubbly.
Wait about 15 minutes before you dig in - enjoy!
Oh my goodness... it's sooooo good!!!!!!!
Extra - on days when I want to eat fewer carbs without completely giving up the pie crust, I fill 10-ounce French ramekins (here) with hot pie filling and top them with crust rounds that I bake for about 10 minutes.
Or I cut the crust into cute little chicken shapes. Kids love these.
You could also place the unbaked crust shapes directly on the filling and bake them in the oven, but the shapes will bake faster if you bake them on a sheet tray.
Oops, here's what happens when you forget to remove the cute little chicken shaped cutter from the sheet tray before you bake your cutouts. Sigh... happy baking!
Items used to make this recipe:
- 5-inch ceramic pie plates https://amzn.to/2s9EpZW
- rondeau https://amzn.to/2LwSnhA
- flat whisk https://amzn.to/2scgWaF
- pourfect beakers https://amzn.to/2GNmWfm
- half sheet pan https://amzn.to/2ILkz2r
- silpat liner https://amzn.to/2GO5GGF
- 10-ounce ramekins https://amzn.to/2IJp7Gy
- pastry brush https://amzn.to/2KT38tm
- scalloped round cutters https://amzn.to/2s8q2pL
Chicken Pot Pie
makes two 5-inch pies
- double pie crust recipe (check out my all-butter crust here - lots of how-to photos)
- 3 tablespoons minced onion
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground dried sage (optional)
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (7 fluid ounces) low sodium chicken stock (try mine)
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 1 cup diced cooked chicken (or turkey)
- 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
- 1 egg (any size)
- 1 tablespoon water
- In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, saute onions, butter, salt, and pepper together for several minutes until the onions soften.
- Add the flour and stir for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the cold milk and chicken stock, whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a full boil; taste carefully and adjust seasoning if needed.
- Remove from heat and stir in cubed chicken and frozen mixed vegetables; set aside until needed.
- Preheat oven to 325F and place rack in lower third of oven.
- Divide a double pie crust recipe into 4 portions; roll two of them into 8-inch rounds and line two 5-inch pie plates; fill each with half of the filling mixture.
- Roll the remaining two portions of crust into 6-inch rounds and use them to top the pot pies; tuck under and crimp the edges.
- Chill pies for at least 10 minutes before baking.
- Make and egg wash by whisking together the egg and water; brush on top crust and cut several vent holes.
- Place pie plates on silicone lined sheet pan and bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly.
- Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes before serving.
- To make a 9-inch deep pie pot pie, double the filling ingredients.
- All chicken stocks are not created equally so be sure to taste the filling and add salt and pepper, if needed, before filling pie shells.
- For an alternative crust variation, add 2 teaspoons of celery seed to a double crust recipe.
- To make turkey pot pie, substitute turkey for the chicken and add 1/2 teaspoon ground sage while sauteing the onions.