Thursday, October 21, 2010

Chicken Pot Pie

           Life is full of disappointments. This isn't one of them.


This is one of those dinners that is ludicrously easy to make, but looks very impressive and June Cleaver-ish. The boy has been known to treat this as a single serving and retire to a dark corner with the pie plate and a fork, prepared to defend it from other diners if required.

I'm not a huge fan of using frozen veggies; however, they work a lot better in this recipe than their fresh counterparts and all your veggies will come out cooked to the same degree. You can substitute really anything in the place of the peas and carrots, this is just my very traditional take.

Pre-made pie crust (get the dough sheet kind, not the already formed to the pie plate kind. That kind sucks).
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 leeks, thinly sliced
1 package frozen peas with pearl onions
1 package frozen sliced carrots.
2 tbs flour (you might need more, but start with two tablespoons)
Butter/Olive Oil for sauteing
1/2 light cream (like the flour, you might wind up needing more. This is just a starting point.)
1/2 Chicken stock (stock, not broth)
Salt and Pepper
1 beaten egg

Pre-heat your oven to 350 F

Season and cook the chicken breasts. I brown them in a saute pan and then add chicken stock and cook with a lid on to keep moisture in. However, grilled would work, as would using left over chicken breasts or a rotisserie chicken. Once the chicken is cooked let it cool and then shred it and set it aside.

In a big frying pan, (seriously, use the biggest fucker you have- you are going to be cramming all kinds of crap in there by the end of the recipe) bring your butter or oil up to a medium sizzle. Add the chopped leeks and saute until they start to turn translucent. Once the leeks are soft and translucent, add the frozen peas and carrots. Continue cooking until thawed. You might need to add a little bit more butter at this point. Now sprinkle the flour over the vegetable mixture and stir in until the vegetables are coated with the butter-flour mixture. Add the cream and the chicken stock. Stir so that everything is well incorporated. Continue to stir until is comes to a slow boil. Don't let the boil get out of hand, just an occasional bubble is hot enough. The cream and the stock should start to thicken at this point. If your mixture is too thin add more flour, a teaspoon at a time. If its too thick and appears pasty, add more cream. Take your shredded chicken and add it to the vegetables and cream mixture. Again, you may need to add more cream at this point. It should look like a very thick stew at this point.

There are two way to use the pie crust. You can make a pot pie with a top and bottom crust or just a top crust, totally a matter of personal preference. I make a two-crust pie because I like crust. So there.

For a two crust pie- line a deep pie plate with one sheet of pie dough. Pour the chicken and vegetable mixture into the pie dish. Make sure that the chicken and the veggies are fairly evenly distributed in the mixture. No one wants a serving of chicken pot pie that is all veg and no meat.  Drape the second sheet of pie dough over the mixture and crimp the crust edges together. Cut four vents in the top crust and brush it with the beaten egg.

For a one crust pie- Pour the chicken and vegetable mixture directly into a deep pie plate. Drape a sheet of pie dough over the top of the mixture. Crimp the pie dough to the pie plate. Cut four vents in the top of the crust. Brush with beaten egg.

Place the pie on a center rack in your pre-heated over. You might want to put a baking sheet or tinfoil under it because it tends to bubble out the side a little and no one likes burned pie drippings fouling up your oven. Bake until the crust is golden. Everything inside the pie was cooked before it ever went into the oven, so this is strictly a crust issue. It will probably take 40-50 minutes, but start checking on it at around 30 min into baking.