Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

I don't typically crave rich, creamy things like Chicken Pot Pie. But when I offered to cook dinner for an old friend, he had his little heart dead set on one. I searched hi and low on the interwebs for a recipe that I thought was a)easy enough for the weekday, b) satisfying enough for my tastebuds and boring enough to satisfying his. I came across Bon Appetit's February 2003 "Easy Chicken Pot Pie" version and I thought I had a winner.

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner Indeed. I was simply amazed at how well it came together. Let's get at it.



Chicken Pot Pie (as I adapted from Bon Appetit:)
  • 2 sheets pastry puffs (I got mine in the refrigerated section)
  • Various herbs - parsley, thyme, sage, bay, oregano (I bought a "Poultry" mix from the fresh herb section- about 1/3 cup total)
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 chicken breasts, diced
  • 1 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 2 medium sized potatoes - diced
  • 1 1/2 cup frozen peas/carrots/corn
First, get to work, you have some chopping to do.  Enlist your handy, helpful sous chef to do things you don't like to do - like peel potatoes and cut up chicken.  In this case, it's best to have everything ready to go.

Preheat your oven to 375 and get a skillet going with some oil.  Toss in a bit of your herbs to start releasing some of their fragrence.  Sear your chicken chunks lightly on each side - about three minutes each side.  Do this in batches.  Don't over crowd your pan or you won't be able to get a sear going.  Also, make sure you're not cooking the chicken all the way through, as it's going into the oven later on anyways.  You don't want tough overcooked chicken. 




In another, deeper, skillet type pan (or dutch oven, if you're so lucky!), add your butter and the rest of your herbs and saute quickly for a minute.  Then add your celery, shallots,  and saute for approximately 5 minutes.  Your goal is to soften the celery and released the amazing herbs. 




Add in the chicken broth a bring mixture to a boil. 
Take a minute to enjoy the glass of white you've probably by now poured yourself.  You earned it.


Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low and add in chicken.  Simmer until the chicken is cooked through, maybe four or five minutes.  This really depends on how much you seared them.  I started to shred my chunks up during this process to bring them down.  Just take a fork, stab pieces and run your knife through the fork slats.  Easy.

Now here's where things got interesting.  I didn't read the recipe in its entirety before starting.  The next steps says that the chicken should be removed from the liquid mixture.  What?  Crap.  I removed with a slotted spoon and set aside.  Once the chicken is out, increase the heat to medium and allow to reduce to about 1 1/2 or 2 cups. 

This step took about 15 minutes. Which is good, because now is a great time to roll out your pie crusts and get them ready.  Place one of the crusts in the bottom of the pie pan.

Once the liquid is reduced, add your cream.  Have extra cream on hand.  I didn't have enough and I had to improvise.  Bring cream mixture to a boil and add potatoes and chicken.  Cook mixture for about 10 minutes until potatoes are soft.

Taste.  Isn't that amazing?  The shallots and the herbs are playing really nice together and the cream... wow.  After years of eating low cal, I have forgotten how amazing full fat cream is.  Yum.  Make sure to season with salt and pepper as you please.










Add the mixture to your pie pan. 












Roll the second crust out and cover your pie pan.  Make indents along the side with a fork to seal the two edges together.  Create slits in the top for the pie to breathe.





In the oven it goes!!! For 35 minutes.  By this time, it was about 9 pm.  The recipe calls this an easy pot pie, but jeez, it was actually pretty time consuming for a weeknight.
And once the crust is brown, it's time to come out.  Allow to cool for about 20 minutes.  This will let the liquid set a bit.
Delicious!


And get into it.  I clearly couldn't wait any longer.  It was pushing 10 pm at this point and I was hangry!  Because I didn't have any patience, the liquid was a bit runny. 

But the flavors... oh the flavors. 

I might have resisted the idea of chicken pot pie initially, but after this amazing, tasty, flavorful creation, I craved more chicken pot pie in the days following. 





Semi scary looking, but really amazing.


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