Chicken Pot Pie
Autumn is settling in nicely here in central Illinois. I couldn’t be happier :-)
Like most folks, I tend to change up our meals a bit as the weather gets cooler. Our local pick-your-own farm normally has this incredible chicken pot pie with puff pasty crust that I love! But due to “It who must not be named” and the resulting limited menus, it has been (I pray) temporarily removed and is not available. So what’s an Eclectic Cook to do but search for a recipe to make it at home?
My first attempt came from a Taste of Home recipe that can be found here. IT WAS A WINNER from the very first bite. Not a single detractor. I made some (mistakes) changes and those will be included in my recipe.
The original recipe calls for:
1) Fresh chicken to be sautéed in butter - I used leftover baked chicken from my freezer (thawed) shredded/chopped. And since the original recipe called for 2 breasts and I had no way of knowing just how much chicken that is without starting there, I probably used more than two breasts would have provided. I think I used a full four cup measuring bowl.
2) 1 cup of half and half cream, I used 2 cups (oops!)
3) Puff pastry that probably wasn’t past its prime... I’m not sure how old mine was but it was clearly past its best when used by date and it made a big difference. Don’t do it. The weird thing is that I was the only one that it seemed to bother.
Here’s my version that includes these changes.
1 package (17.3 ounces) frozen puff pastry, thawed - follow the instructions on the box.
4 cups cooked chicken, shredded or chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
4 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 heaping tsp garlic minced (2 cloves if you’re using fresh)
1/4 tsp dried thyme (1 tsp if using fresh minced)
1/4 tsp dried rubbed sage (1 tsp if using fresh minced)
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cup chicken broth - I always use chicken base to make my broth and it contains a considerable amount of sodium so you might want to hold back on the salt until tasting it before adding additional salt.
2 cups (16 ounces) half-and-half cream, separate enough to mix with egg yoke to make a wash (to brush on the crust at the end) - so maybe a tablespoon.
2 cups (10 ounces give or take an ounces LOL) mixed vegetables
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 large egg yolk. (I recommend not placing it on the spoon rest on top of the stove when it’s been pre-heating to 400degrees for a while... just saying, it might cook a little)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees (but don’t put the egg on the spoon rest :-)
On a lightly floured surface, roll each of the pastry sheets into a 12 x 10 rectangle. There should be two sheets in the box. Cut one sheet crosswise into six 2-inch strips; cut remaining sheet lengthwise into five 2-inch strips. On a baking sheet (aka a cookie sheet) closely weave the strips into a 12 x 10 lattice. Keep cold until ready to top pie.
In a large skillet, heat the butter on medium-high heat. Sauté onion until tender, 5-7 minutes. Stir in garlic, thyme and sage; cook for 1 minute. Stir in flour until blended. (Note - if you recognize this as making a roux, please be aware that it will seem very dry and unlike a typical roux that eventually gets smooth - hang in there, it’s worth it). Cook for about a minute and then gradually add the broth and the half-and-half, stirring constantly until it comes to a boil and thickens, about 2 minutes. Now it appears smoother, right?
Stir in vegetables, lemon juice, chicken and salt (if desired) and pepper (this is a must); continue to cook and stir until well combined.
Transfer to greased 2 1/2 quart rectangular baking dish. Listen, the taste won’t be affected if you decide to use a square baking dish or an oblong baking dish or a round baking dish. But take the shape of your pan into consideration when you make the lattice from the puff pastry...
Top with the puff pastry lattice, trim to fit. See why you might want a rectangular pan? Less trimming, less waste of that lovely crusty puff pastry.
Whisk the egg yolk (even if you didn’t follow my suggestions and the egg has been sitting on the stove and is now partially cooked... it probably will still separate the partially cooked white from the yolk. Go ahead and give it a try.) and the remaining cream - tablespoon or so didn‘t we decide? Brush it over the puff pastry. Bake, uncovered, until bubbly and a lovely shade of golden brown - about 45-55 minutes. Cover loosely with foil if you think it might start to turn an ugly shade of dirt - nobody will want to eat that. :-)
Remove from oven and let stand 15 minutes before serving. This time to rest is really helpful to prevent the pie from falling apart when dishing it out, and it just might prevent a trip to the emergency room with a scalded esophagus.
This platform does not yet provide for a printable version of posts. You can locate a printable version of this recipe here.