Last weekend, we spent most of Sunday preparing meals for the rest of the week. We had a turkey dinner in mind as well as using up the last of a roaster chicken we had cooked earlier that week. As we looked through books to figure out what we would make, Jeff pulled out Thomas Keller's "ad hoc at home". This is a great cookbook with delicious recipes, stories and instruction. He came across a chicken pot pie and that was as far as he needed to go. I love chicken pot pie! And so do my kids.
I used to buy Willow Tree Pies...which are delicious, but I like chicken pot pies with potatoes, onions, carrots, celery and peas. I want a meal when I have a piece of pie, not have to make the side dishes. If you do find a chicken pot pie with vegetables, I find there isn't much meat.
As I read the recipe it seemed a bit more intensive than I thought, especially since we had to make our own pie crust. As much as I don't mind making a crust, I can be lazy when it comes to pastry dough. Why can't I just use Pillsbury Ready-Made Pie Crust? It's really pretty good. Thinking I needed to take this pie crust on, I rolled up my sleeves, took out the flour and started making dough.
It really wasn't that hard and before I knew it, I had two disks of dough in the refrigerator chilling as we finished the filling for the pie. The dough chilled for an hour, I rolled it out with ease and before I knew it, the crusts were rolled the filling was in place, we covered the pie and folded the edges. Two holes for the steam and a brushing of a beaten egg across the top and we were ready to go.
As you can tell, it came out perfect (both inside and out). What I loved was the fact that the chicken pot pie wasn't swimming in sauce. As you ate the pie, you tasted the chicken, the potatoes, the onions, the carrots...and the crust was flaky, buttery...delicious. As you can tell the first sitting ate half the pie and the second sitting almost finished it. As we saved the leftovers, bickering had started as different people claimed a piece for the following days lunch.
If you have the time, consider making the crust, the time spent is well worth it. If you don't have time, purchase a ready made crust see how good this chicken pot pie is. The taste and the time spent to make the recipe are well worth it!
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/2 sticks of butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces and chilled
About 5 tablespoons of ice water
Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Then add the butter and toss to coat with flour. With your hands or a pastry blender, work the butter into the flour, tossing and incorporating any pieces of butter that have settled at the bottom of the bowl, until the butter pieces are no larger than a pea. Drizzle 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) of ice water over the top and, using a fork, mix the dough until it holds together when pinched: add the remaining tablespoon of water if the dough is very dry. Knead the dough until it is completely smooth and the butter is incorporated. (I used all 5 tablespoons)
Divide the dough in half, with one piece slightly larger than the other (the larger crust will be the bottom piece). Shape each half in a 1 inch thick disk. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for atleast one hour, or up to a day. (if the dough does not rest, it will shrink as it bakes.)
If the dough is too hard to roll, let it rest at room temperature for a few minutes or pound it a few times with a rolling pin. Lightly flour the work surface and rolling pin. Lightly dust the top of the large disk with flour and roll it out to a 13 to 14 inch round about 1/8 inch thick: roll outward from the center, rotating the dough frequently and adding a little flour to the work surfaceor dough as needed to prevent sticking. Fold the dough in half and transfer to a 9 to 10 inch pie plate, gently easing the dough into the corners and up the sides.
Roll out the second piece of dough in the same manner, to a 12 inch round, about 1/8 inch thick. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate both doughs for 15 minutes.
Makes one 9 to 10 inch double crust pie.
Chicken Pie Filling:
1 cup of 1/2-inch pieces red-skinned potatoes
1 1/4 cups of 1/2-inch pieces carrots (cut on the diagonal)
12 white pearl onions
3 bay leaves
3 thyme sprigs
24 black peppercorns
1 1/4 cups of 1/2-inch pieces of celery (cut on the diagonal)
2 cups of shredded cooked chicken
3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
3 cups of whole milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
Pinch of cayenne
1 egg, beaten
Roll out the dough, place one piece in a 9 or 10 inch pie plate and the second on a baking sheet, and refrigerate.
Put the potatoes, carrots, and onions in separate small saucepans with water to cover and add 1 bay leaf, 1 thyme sprig, and 8 peppercorns to each pan.
Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and simmer until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
Drain the vegetables, discard the bay, thyme, and peppercorns, and spread on a baking sheet. Cut the onions in half.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a medium bowl with ice water. Blanch the celery until just crisp-tender, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.
Drain, transfer to the ice bath, and chill just until cold. Drain and add to the baking sheet with the other vegetables.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 2 to 3 minutes; adjust the heat as needed so that the mixture does not brown. Whisk in the milk, lower the heat to keep the bechamel at a gentle simmer, and cook, whisking often, until the sauce has thickened and reduced to about 2 cups, 30 to 40 minutes; move the whisk over the bottom and into the corners of the pan to be sure the bechamel doesn't burn.
Position the oven racks in the lower third and center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Strain the bechamel through a fine-mesh conical strainer into a spouted measuring cup. Season with salt, pepper, parsley, thyme, and cayenne.
Remove both doughs from the refrigerator.
Scatter the vegetables and chicken into the pie shell. Pour the bechamel over them. At this point, if the top crust is too hard to shape, let it rest at room temperature for a few minutes. Moisten the rim of pie shell with some of the beaten egg. Cover the filling with the top crust and press the edges of the dough together to seal. Trim away the excess dough that overhangs the rim. Brush the top crust with the egg. Cut a small vent in the center of the dough with a small cutter or the tip of a paring knife to allow steam to escape.
Bake on the lower oven rack until the crust is a rich golden brown, 50 minutes to 1 hour. If necessary, move the pie to the center rack during the last 10 minutes of baking to brown the crust. Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 10 minutes.
Cut the pot pie into 6 wedges and serve warm.