Chicken Pot Pies
Homemade chicken pot pies are pretty much a labor of love. They were a very popular item when I had a take out store on Shelter Island, NY because they are a delicious and hearty comfort food (and they freeze really well). However, they do take quite a bit of time, which may be problematic if you have a busy schedule. I’m including them in the 20% category, only because you will probably eat more of it than you should (it’s easy to eat too much pot pie) and the calories add up. But I do put vegetables in mine, so they are nutritious.
The process involves several different cooking methods, including: knife skills (dicing), stewing (the chicken), sautéing, blanching (carrots and potatoes) and pastry. So if you have the time, and if you like a really good chicken pot pie, try this one – I think you will like it and so will your friends and family.
- 1 whole chicken
- 2 large white potatoes
- 2-3 carrots
- 3-4 celery ribs
- 1 large onion
- 1-1/2 – 2 cups frozen green peas
- pastry dough
- sauce from chicken stock
1. Cook the chicken (this can be done a day in advance of making the pies)
- Place whole chicken in large pot and add enough cold water to cover. Add 1-2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and vegetables (a couple of carrots, ribs of celery and a sliced onion).
- Bring the water to a slow simmer, cook for approximately 1 hour until chicken is cooked (legs will move around easily in joints when chicken is cooked!) – stew!
- Allow the chicken to cook. remove to separate bowl.
- Strain the stock and store in refrigerator to chill until ready to make the sauce.
- Remove chicken from the bone, cut into bite size pieces and store in refrigerator.
2. Prepare the vegetables.
- Peel and dice the carrots and potatoes.
- Dice the onions and celery.
- Blanche the hard vegetables. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a bowl or large container with cold water (add some ice if you like) and set that beside the stove. Add the harder vegetables (carrots and potatoes) to the boiling water (separately) and cook until they are just tender (this will depend on the size of dice that you do – but it should only take a few minutes for each). When tender, remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon or kitchen spider, to the cold water. This stops the cooking process and refreshes the vegetables (they will retain a nice bright color). Drain well in colander when cooled.
- Saute the softer vegetables (onions and celery) in a little olive oil until they are soft. Remove and add to carrots and potatoes.
- Add peas to other vegetables – you should have a total of about 8 cups of vegetables. Store in refrigerator until ready to mix with other ingredients.
3. Click here to get complete instructions the pastry dough.
- Line the bottom of the pie shells with pastry and blind bake for about 10 minutes, until it starts to brown.
- Roll out the pasty dough for the tops of the pie shells between parchment paper and store in refrigerator until ready to use.
4. Make Sauce.
- Remove strained chicken stock from refrigerator. Grease will have congealed on the top and can easily be removed with slotted spoon, preventing greasy sauce!
You will need about 8 cups of the stock + 8 ounces (2 sticks) of butter and 1 cup of flour.
- In a heavy bottomed pot, melt the butter.
- Add the flour and use a whisk to incorporate into melted butter. This is a roux. Cook it for several minutes, whisking occasionally. You do not want it to get very brown for this sauce.
- In the meantime, you may want to heat the chicken stock (in a microwave is fine) – it is easier to incorporate the liquid into the roux if it is not too cold.
- When the roux is ready, add a portion of the liquid to the mixture (2-3 cups). Whisk briskly to incorporate the liquid into the roux and avoid lumps. Continue too add liquid (a cup or 2 at a time) until the sauce is creamy and desired consistency (I use about 8 cups of stock – you may like it a little thicker or thinner, it is up to you.) Season with salt & pepper and set aside.
5. Assemble the pies.
- Mix together the chicken, vegetables and sauce. Check seasoning (salt & pepper) and adjust if necessary.
- Add mixture to pie shells.
- Top with pastry dough and crimp edges.
- Cook, refrigerate or freeze.
6. Cook the pies.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pie on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (to avoid spillage on bottom of oven).
- Cook pie until the top pastry is browned. The total cooking time will be determined by the size of pie that you make, but it will probably take at least 45 minutes – 1 hour, even for a smaller pie. If the pie has been frozen, allow to thaw in refrigerator overnight before cooking. If the pie has been in for a long time and the top crust is still not brown, you can crank the heat up to about 400 degrees to help it brown.
7. Eat the pie – no instructions necessary!
Note: You can make the pies in disposable pie tins, glass pie dishes or ovenproof casserole dishes. This recipe made 3 large pies (each would serve 4-6 people, depending on appetites – so enough for a large crowd or to have a couple for the freezer).