Monday, August 10, 2009

Old-Fashioned Double-Crust Chicken Pot Pie

An old fashioned chicken pot pie, made with a thick & creamy roux & veggies, encased in a flaky double crust.
An old fashioned chicken pot pie, made with a thick and creamy roux and veggies, encased in a flaky double crust.

Old-Fashioned Double-Crust Chicken Pot Pie

A couple of food bloggers here recently near about apologized for posting dishes that they had been having tastes for, but that some people might consider to be "off season." I don't even remember what it was now, but that doesn't matter. What struck me was that, well, if I have a taste for a certain dish, a craving if you will, I'm gonna make it, no matter the time of year! It's just silly I tell you, because frankly, down here in the Deep South, we have pretty much one season 90% of the time. Hot.

Such was the reason for me making a chicken pie - something that I suppose some folks would consider to be a dish more geared toward the latter part of the year. I still have plenty of chicken in the freezer and for several weeks now I have simply been craving a chicken pot pie! So I finally got around to making one, and I could care less whether it's August or not. Who cares! I had a taste for it, and that's all the reason I need to cook something.

Now unlike some folks, y'all know I don't have a thing against condensed soups. Heck, they are a Southern Staple in many casseroles, including in this southern cook's collection, and rightly so! They make a quick and easy sauce. But just like a banana pudding made with homemade custard versus one made with pudding, while both are good, you really can't beat the homemade custard, I don't care who ya are.

And that's what makes this chicken pie so darned good, a fresh roux, seasoned just right, and finished with some good chicken stock and half and half. {whispers} Sssshh.... don't tell nobody, but this recipe has actually beat out a few grandma recipes. When I don't make my own homemade pie crust - which frankly is pretty darned easy with a food processor - I also only use the Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts - no generic in this kitchen - been there, done that. Unlike the generics, Pillsbury pie crusts are reliable, consistent and simply an excellent product, tender & flaky and instantly available. Speaking of pie crusts...

Have y'all seen these press/pat in the pan pie crusts? Well, I have to say that I did try those a couple times and no offense to those of you who love them, but that was about the worse possible excuse for a pie crust that I've ever seen. I suppose if you're just looking for something to hold your pie up it's okay, but to me, if a pie crust isn't tender and flaky, it ruins the whole recipe! You can take the extra step to make your own - if you're up to it, of course. It's really not hard I promise!

I adapted my recipe to use the chicken I had on hand, but of course this is best when you boil down a whole chicken, debone it and use the chicken and the stock off of that, but as written it's delicious and a bit speedier as well. Even still, this recipe does take a little bit of prep because you're essentially pre-cooking the filling, so I've tried to organize the recipe so that you can move along step by step, and hopefully that will help, but trust me. It is worth every single second. The flavor of this chicken pot pie is just spot on.

I just wanted to highlight this Sprinkle blend from Bragg's. You probably know the name from the more popular apple cider vinegar with the mother, but there are a few other products they also carry. This is a non-salt seasoning blend that contains a mixture of 24 herbs and spices, and if you're trying to cut back on sodium, but you're really missing the flavor, try this. I think you'll love it. In addition to the rosemary and thyme in the recipe, I use a few dashes of this Sprinkle too!

I microwave the potatoes first, then top them off with frozen vegetables - often carrots and peas - sometimes mixed vegetables and microwave a few minutes more. Now, on to the pie and yes, first you make a roux! Just a light butter roux with flour and half and half. Stir in some seasonings, diced cooked chicken and add the potatoes and veggies. Fill the pie shell and bake!

Although I am absolutely no baker, I do like to make my own pie crusts. They aren't works of art for sure, but with a food processor, it's really a breeze to do. Kitchen appliances like that can make for a much more pleasant cooking experience but they aren't helpful if they're off in a walk in pantry or closet that's out of the way. The key, I have learned, is keeping those tools, like your food processor handy, meaning on the counter, or directly under the work space where you'd use it. I know a lot of folks prefer pretty, clean and uncluttered counters, and so do I, but being someone who cooks a lot - well, that just makes zero sense in my life.

You can also make individual pies. For 5 inch mini pie plates, I get 2 double-crust pies. For the recipe you'll want to make at least 4 crusts.

Dig in!

Recipe: Old-Fashioned Double-Crust Chicken Pot Pie

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min |Cook time: 40 min | Yield: About 6 servings

  • 1 pound cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts or mixed chicken (about 2-1/2 cups cubed)
  • 3 small red potatoes, unpeeled
  • 1/2 cup frozen carrots
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter
  • 6 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • About 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
  • 1-1/2 cups half and half
  • 2 homemade pie crust, or 1 box Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts, softened to room temperature

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Chop the potatoes into small cubes and place into a microwave safe dish. Cook on high for 3 minutes; add carrots and peas (or mixed vegetables), return to microwave for 3 minutes longer on high, or until potatoes are tender.

In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium heat; add the flour in a tablespoon at a time, stirring in before adding the next. Cook, stirring constantly until mixture is bubbly and there are no remaining lumps, about 5 minutes. Slowly begin to incorporate the chicken stock, stirring vigorously until fully incorporated. Add in the seasonings and stir in well. Remove from the heat, add the salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme. Stir in the half and half until smooth.

Stir the chicken into the cream mixture, then add the potatoes, the carrots and peas; mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Unroll one of the pie crusts and place into a 9-inch, ungreased deep dish, glass pie plate. Gently press the crust down into the bottom and edges of the pie plate. Pour the hot filling into the crust and top with the remaining crust, tucking the top crust up under the edges of the bottom crust. Flute the edges and cut vents into the top of the crust.

Bake immediately at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes. Remove and place strips of foil around the edges of the crust to prevent overbrowning. Return to oven for an additional 15 to 25 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.

Cook's Notes: Okay to substitute leftover chicken or deli rotisserie chicken. Use a deep dish pie plate for this recipe. Make sure that the oven is preheated and at temperature before filling the pie crust, because you want to fill the pie, top it and put it into the oven immediately to bake. You may have some filling leftover, depending on the size of your potatoes. May also make into individual pot pies. One pie crust will give you two double crust 5" pies. Bake those at 425 degrees F for about 25 minutes, or until filling is bubbly and crust is browned.

Variation: For beef pot pie, substitute cubed, cooked beef and beef broth. Prepare as above.

Biscuit Batter Topping: Prepare the filling as above, eliminate the pie crusts and make a batter using 1 cup of all-purpose flour, whisked together with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1-1/2 teaspoons of baking powder. Stir in 1 cup of milk, blend together and add 1/4 cup of butter that has been melted. Pour batter on top and bake at 400 degrees F for for about 35 to 45 minutes, or until crust browns.

Drop Biscuit Topping: Prepare the filling as above, eliminate the pie crusts and make a dough using 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, whisked together with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder. Stir in 1/2 cup milk, more or less, and add 1/4 cup butter that has been melted, stirring until a soft dough forms. Spoon in dollops on top of the filling and bake at 400 for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until mixture is bubbly and biscuits are lightly browned and cooked through.

Cornbread Topping: Prepare the filling as above, eliminate the pie crusts and make a batter whisking together 1 cup of all purpose cornmeal, 1 cup of all purpose flour, 1 tablespoon of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add 1 cup of half and half or whole milk, 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) of melted and cooled butter and 2 large eggs. Pour batter on top and bake at 425 degrees F for for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until crust browns.

Mini Hand Pies: Use a small ramekin to cut out circles, approximately 4 inches in size. Let the filling cool before spooning several tablespoons of filling into each circle, folding over and sealing the edges. Cut vents into each pie and bake in a preheated 425 degree oven on a Silpat or parchment covered baking sheet, approximately 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown and filling is hot.

Bubble Up Pot Pie Casserole: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare filling as above. Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Cut 12 refrigerated biscuits into quarters and scatter in pan. Pour filling all over biscuits, toss to make sure all are coated. Bake, uncovered, 40 to 45 minutes or until bubbly and puffy and biscuits are cooked through.


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Posted by on August 10, 2009

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