November 9, 2010

Chicken Pot Pie

I know it's dull to talk about the weather, but I am so thrilled that the cooler weather has finally arrived here on the Gulf Coast that I just need to share my excitement.  I actually wore my jeans and sweaters last week.  The nights have become chilly enough to enjoy a hot tea before bed.  I've pulled out my soft chenille throw and draped it over the couch to have ready for an afternoon nap.  And I'm ready to spend much more time in the kitchen. 

The fall and winter months are my favorite times of year to cook.  Sure, I adore spring and summer's fresh produce and fuss-free recipes, but our spring is short-lived at best and our summer is so long and so oppressively hot, that even getting into the kitchen to make a salad makes me want to sob.  I love being in my kitchen year-round, but I love it even more when it's cool outside.  It means it's time for hearty comfort foods like chicken pot pie.

I didn't grow up eating chicken pot pie.  Not that I'm complaining.  Why would I when I got to eat things like spaghetti alla carbonara, pasta e fagioli, and cicerchiata?  But I love American comfort food classics too, so a couple of weeks ago, I decided to try making chicken pot pie for the first time.  As usual, I turned to a couple of Ina Garten's cookbooks for guidance and as usual the recipe was spot on perfection.  I used the recipe for the pot pie filling from Ina's Barefoot Contessa Family Style cookbook, where she has a recipe for Chicken Stew with Biscuits.  The crust recipe came from the Barefoot Contessa Parties cookbook, where she features a Vegetable Pot Pie recipe. 

Ever since teaching myself how to make pie crust from scratch last year, I am no longer intimidated by making it; in fact, I love making pie crust.  The recipe I used makes a large portion of crust, so I used only half of it to top the pot pie and refrigerated the rest.  The next night when we went to eat the leftovers, I rolled out the remaining half of the crust and used it to top the remaining pot pie filling, since we ate all the crust the night before.  Because we all know the crust is the best part, right?

What makes the pot pie filling incredibly flavorful is roasting bone-in, skin-on split chicken breasts.  It's incredibly easy to do and worth the extra step.  The bone and skin keep the breast meat from drying out and a small pat of butter tucked under the skin adds moistness and more flavor.  And since breast meat is quick to cook, these only spend thirty to forty minutes in the oven. 

I won't lie, this is not exactly a quick dinner to make.  There's chopping, roasting, rolling and waiting for pie dough to chill.  You'll spend the better part of an afternoon in your kitchen making this.  But isn't that what this time of year is all about?  Happy Fall!

Chicken Pot Pie
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Family Style and Barefoot Contessa Parties

For the Pie Dough

3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
1/2-2/3 cup cold water
1 egg, beaten with 1 T. water for egg wash
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper

For the Filling

3 bone-in, skin-on split chicken breasts, rinsed and patted dry
9 T. unsalted butter, divided
4 cups chicken stock
1 chicken bouillion cube
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 small onion)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/8 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup frozen peas
3/4 cup frozen pearl onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

To make the pie dough

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, mix the flour, salt and baking powder.  Add in the butter and pulse 10-12 times until the butter is the size of peas.  With the processor running, add in the ice water in a steady stream and process only enough to moisten the flour mixture until it just comes together.  Dump the dough onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight.

To make the filling

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place chicken breasts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Place a 1 T. pat of butter under the skin of each chicken breast.  Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.  Roast for 35-40  minutes, or until fully cooked.  Remove from oven and set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove the meat from the bones and discard the skin and bones.  Cut the chicken into large dice and set aside.

In a saucepan, heat the chicken stock over medium-low heat and dissolve the bouillion cube in the hot stock, stirring occasionally.  Make sure the stock does not boil.  Once the stock is fully warmed through and the bouillion cube has completely dissolved, remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.

In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter and saute the chopped onion over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, or until transluscent and pale golden.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the flour, stirring constantly to blend.  Add the hot chicken stock and simmer over low heat, stirring until the sauce has thickened.  Add 2 teaspoons of salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and the heavy cream.  Add in the cubed chicken, carrots, peas, pearl onions and parsley and mix well to combine.  Place the mixture in an oven-safe baking dish or deep pie dish.  Set aside while you prepare the pie dough.

Make the egg wash and set aside.

Divide the chilled pie dough in half.  Wrap the extra in plastic wrap and refrigerate.  If the dough is too cold to roll out easily, let it stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes.  Slowly and carefully roll the dough into a large round (or rectangle if your baking dish is square shaped).  Lightly brush the rim of the baking/pie dish with the egg wash and carefully transfer the rolled out pie dough on top.  Trim the dough to 1/2-inch larger than the top of the baking dish.  Crimp the dough to seal the sides, pressing lightly to make it stick to the rim of the baking dish.  Brush the top of the dough lightly with the egg wash and make 3 slits in the top.  Sprinkle with salt and cracked pepper.  Place the baking dish on a large baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.

Comments (4)

My husband was JUST asking me about a recipe for chicken pot pie. This is perfect timing. I will make this this week! Yum!


I just love chicken pot pie. It's real comfort food. yours sounds yummy. I too make one but it's a skinny version!


I've been looking for a really good recipe for Chicken Pot Pie. One of my favorite dishes, but never had the courage to make it myself. Since you've laid out the recipe step by step I think I tackle it! Especially like the idea of roasting the chicken beforehand. Sounds simply delicious, thanks for sharing!


It looks delicious! I tried a Chicken Pot Pie recipe recently and Hubs said it didn't taste like Swanson's. Oy. Looking forward to trying this.

Posted by louisa
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