Polar Vortex, Reprise and REAL Chicken Pot Pie

It’s cold again around the nation’s capital, yet my crazy son Ken wears just a sweatshirt hoodie and walks gloveless out to the bus stop.  Clearly he inherited those Germanic genes from his dad!  Last night I made a roast chicken with mashed potatoes, green beans and my signature rocket salad; it’s just what we needed with the arctic blast approaching.

Tonight I decided to make chicken pot pie with the leftover chicken– NOT the reduced-fat recipe I previously posted here.  I mean the REAL THING:  fresh vegetables and chicken in a rich sauce based on a butter and oil roux and a dash of heavy cream.  Let’s not forget the top– no store-bought reduced fat biscuits or even buttered sandwich bread (one of my tricks when I don’t feel like making pie dough), but a buttery, golden brown, flaky shell.  A sure cure to beat away the winter chill!

You can substitute with frozen vegetables and store-bought pie crust if you want; I just felt like being very homemade tonight– Mama Bear taking care of her family!  You can find my pie crust recipe here— but I have switched the recipe a bit based on a recipe I read in one of my Cook’s Illustrated magazines.  Mix equal portions of cold water and vodka (I use about 2 TB of each); the texture of the crust is phenomenal!  Also, don’t worry about the exact amounts of each vegetable; I never do!

Beat-the-Winter-Blast Chicken Pot Pie

  • 2 medium carrots, small dice (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 medium onion, small dice (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 medium celery stalks, small dice (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 TB unsalted butter
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 2 – 3 TB AP flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 heavy cream
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2-3 cups shredded/chopped chicken
  • 1 recipe pie dough (single pie crust)
  • 1 egg for egg wash

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Chop your vegetables; this trinity is also known as a mirepoix– a classic flavor base.

Really, do not stress over the amounts...it all works out, I promise!

Really, do not stress over the amounts…it all works out, I promise!

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large saute pan (at least large enough to hold the vegetables and chicken) over medium heat.  When the butter foam subsides, add the vegetables.  You should hear some sizzling!

I have switched from all butter to a mix of butter and olive oil-- I tell myself it's "healthier."

I have switched from all butter to a mix of butter and olive oil– I tell myself it’s “healthier.”

This smells great as the vegetables break down!

This smells great as the vegetables break down!

Season the vegetables with a little salt and pepper and continue to cook until the onions and celery have softened and become translucent.

Just in the pan-- see how the vegetables still look hard?

Just in the pan– see how the vegetables still look hard?

See how different (translucent) the onions and celery look after a few minutes?

See how different (translucent) the onions and celery look after a few minutes?

Turn down the heat and sprinkle the flour over the vegetables.

More flour means a thicker sauce, so use less if you want a more broth-like sauce.

More flour means a thicker sauce, so use less if you want a more broth-like sauce.

Stir the flour into the vegetables and let it cook a minute or two.

The flour/fat combination is a roux and the basis for all sauces (including GRAVY).

The flour/fat combination is a roux and the basis for all sauces (including GRAVY).

Add the chicken broth slowly and stir, blending well.  When you first add the broth, it may look like a big clumpy mess, but just keep adding the broth and stirring.  It will smooth out once you’ve added all the liquid.

Imagine that-- no cream, yet it looks creamy...

Imagine that– no cream, yet it looks creamy…

Add the thyme and let the mixture come to a gentle simmer.  As it simmers, the sauce will thicken more.

Kurt loves thyme, so I tend to go heavy, so you may want to start with less and taste.

Kurt loves thyme, so I tend to go heavy, so you may want to start with less and taste.

If the sauce is too thick, you can add more broth if you have it.  Water will also do!

If the sauce is too thick, you can add more broth if you have it. Water will also do!

When the sauce is thick and bubbly, add the chicken.

The chicken just needs to be warmed in the sauce.

The chicken just needs to be warmed in the sauce.

Once everything has been mixed together, add the cream and mix again.  (Note I didn’t actually measure the cream, but 1/4 cup sounds about right).  Re-taste for seasoning.  I needed more salt and pepper.  Take the pan off-heat and go roll out the pie crust (see my pie crust post above for tips on rolling out the dough)!

The cream is just another enrichment (read: FAT), so you can skip if you want.  But you'll regret it...

The cream is just another enrichment (read: FAT), so you can skip if you want. But you’ll regret it…

Once you’ve rolled out the pie crust, pour the filling into your chosen baking dish.  I had an old oval pyrex from Kurt’s single days:

Almost ready for the oven!

Almost ready for the oven!

Using my standard pie-crust-lifting technique (roll the dough back onto the rolling pin), I unrolled the crust over the dish.  I stuck the overlap to the sides of the dish and cut a couple of slits on the top.  Nothing fancy.

I just let the dough sit on top of the filling-- just like a regular pie!

I just let the dough sit on top of the filling– just like a regular pie!

Beat the egg with a little water (about 1 TB) to create an egg wash.  If you’re paranoid about the top falling off, you can “glue” the overhanging dough to the dish with this wash.  Otherwise, brush the top and edges with the wash and call it a day.  The egg wash helps turn that pasty white dough into a golden brown top.

Egg-washed and ready!

Egg-washed and ready!

Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until the top is a beautiful golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let rest 5 minutes.  Serve and enjoy!

Crisp, flaky crust over a creamy chicken stew!

Crisp, flaky crust over a creamy chicken stew!

I served our with rocket salad (my latest fave side) and sauteed broccoli and mushrooms.  A VERY BIG HIT with the guys!

Winter comfort

Winter comfort

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2 Comments

Filed under Family, Food, Main Dishes

2 responses to “Polar Vortex, Reprise and REAL Chicken Pot Pie

  1. Katherine

    I am interested in this rocket salad? love the name

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