Chicken pot pie has always been a gloriously comforting food, one my mom and I would eat together. I was so happy to be able to introduce it to my darling sweetie, who had never had it before! Together we gleefully imitated Cartman and snarled at our beloved Godcat, who harbours an ungodly love of chicken, “No, Kitty, this is MAH pot pie!”
But guess what? Like Annie, whose recipe I perused and ultimately decided to adapt to suit myself, I had only had the frozen kind!
It. Does. Not. Compare. Not even close.
And it’s a shame, too, because making pot pie yourself takes time. From start to finish, this dish takes me four hours. But oh my stars and garters, it is worth every second in the kitchen. The crust – my favourite of all time – is moist yet flaky, succulent, and tangy with the addition of cream cheese, which may sound a bit weird but will make perfect, beautiful sense when you bite into it.
The thick, heavenly cream sauce is the savory world’s answer to ganache, and brings unexpected glamour and flavour to the chicken and vegetables. As for the chicken, I’ll reveal my bias now and state that while using a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken saves a little time, it sacrifices a lot of flavour. Chicken breasts you season and bake and cube yourself are much more tender and flavourful than store-bought, pre-cooked chicken.
Not a fast meal by any means, this version of chicken pot pie is nonetheless one I’m confident you’ll return to again and again, as I do.
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Chicken Pot Pie
Yield: one 9×13″ pot pie OR 6 – 8 individual pot pies
For the filling:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked (instructions below) & cut into 1″ cubes; OR 1 purchased rotisserie chicken
3 TBS butter
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 large gold potatoes, cubed (leave skin on unless you have strong feelings about taking it off, in which case just peel those puppies!)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can green peas, drained of juice
1 can carrot slices, drained of juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
For the sauce:
8 TBS salted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
2½ cups chicken broth
½ cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the crust:
16 TBS cold, unsalted butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
10 oz. cream cheese, chilled & cut into 1″ cubes
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 large egg
For the chicken:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking pan with aluminum foil, making sure the foil reaches over the sides of the pan. (This makes cleaning the pan much easier.)
Trim excess fat off four boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Generously rub both sides of each breast with olive oil. Generously salt and pepper both sides of each breast. Place breasts on lined pan, 1″ apart. (If there isn’t room on the pan for this, then it’s okay if the breasts are touching; all that will happen is that it may take a minute or two longer to bake them.) Bake for forty to forty-five minutes, or until breasts are thoroughly cooked and read 165°F on an instant-read thermometer, and the juices run clear.
Let cool at least five minutes before cutting into 1″ cubes. Place cubes AND juices into a bowl; they will be added to the pot pie filling later.
If using a rotisserie chicken, remove the skin from the chicken, pull the meat off the bones, and cut or shred into bite-sized pieces.
For the filling:
Melt butter in a large skillet (I recommend a 12″ skillet if you have it; a 10″ will do) over medium heat. Add the onion and potato to the pan, and sauté until the potatoes are tender. (This usually takes me 45 minutes, so I start this step and then begin the process of baking the chicken.) Add the garlic just before the potatoes are done. Once the potatoes are finished cooking, turn off the heat and add the potatoes to the chicken. Mix in the peas and carrots. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
For the sauce:
Melt the butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the flour and chicken broth and whisk until smooth. Cook over medium heat until it thickens noticeably, to the consistency of a cream soup. Mix in the cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the cream sauce over the chicken and vegetable mixture and stir to combine well. Spoon the mixture into a 9×13″ baking dish OR into 6-8 individual oven-safe dishes (oven-safe bowls with handles would be ideal for this, as would ramekins).
For the crust:
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Cut the butter into 16 pieces. In a food processor, pulse the butter and flour until crumbly. Add the cream cheese, salt, and pepper. Continue pulsing just until the dough forms a ball. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to about ¼-inch thickness.
If using a 9×13″ dish, cover the chicken mixture with the large sheet of crust you’ve just rolled out. The crust will be very soft and will tear easily, so be patient with yourself. Trim excess dough from the edges and patch any holes that may be present. If you wish, you may crimp the edges of the dough for a pretty, professional look.
If using individual dishes, cut out dough rounds to be about 1/2″ larger than the diameter of the dishes and lay the dough rounds on top of the individual dishes. If there is enough dough to do this, you may crimp the edges of the dough as for the 9×13″ dish.
Regardless of which type of dish you are using, prick the surface of the dough with a fork to allow steam to escape. Beat the egg with a fork and brush the top of the dough lightly with the beaten egg. (Without the egg, the crust stays very white. It still tastes lovely, but it looks more appetising if it’s gilded by the egg wash.)
Place the pot pie dish(-es) on a baking sheet for easy transfer in and out of the oven. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve immediately.
Source: Adapted from Annie’s Eats