Chicken Pot Pie
The essential one-dish cold-weather meal that you'll want to make all year long.
Comfort food never goes out of style. Chicken pot pie is packed with tender chicken, loads of colorful vegetables, and savory herbs. Throw anything in a potpie to make if perfect fit for your palate. You can substitute the chicken for leftover turkey at Thanksgiving, and you certainly can use any vegetables you want, ranging from mushrooms to sweet potatoes. It's all about technique, not torture. Once you learn how to make a proper velouté (the sauce that envelops the chicken and vegetables), you can whip up a pie from scratch or from leftovers any day of the week.
Equipment: cutting board; chef's knife; dry and wet measuring cups; measuring spoons; food processor with dough blade (or large mixing bowl); large saucepan or small stockpot; wooden spoon; whisk; large sauté pan; rolling pin; casserole; pastry brush
Pastry Ingredients: 2½ cups all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon powdered sugar 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1¼ cup cold unsalted butter (2 ½ sticks) 1/3 cup ice water
By hand: Combine the flour, kosher salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Cut the butter into tablespoon chunks, then cut each tablespoon into quarters. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture and squeeze the butter with the tips of your fingers, working it into the flour, until the fat is the size of peas. Drizzle the water over the mixture and continue working the dough with your fingers until all that fat and flour is incorporated and the dough comes together in a large ball.
Gather the dough, form it into two discs, wrap each in plastic and refrigerate.
In the food processor: Combine the flour, kosher salt, and sugar in a food processor for 10 seconds. Cut the butter into tablespoon chunks and scatter over the flour mixture (while the machine is off). Very carefully pulse in 2-second intervals until the fat is the size of peas. With the machine turned off, drizzle the water over the mixture. Pulse until the dough begins to form into small balls. If the dough will come together when pressed with your fingers, gather the dough, form it into two discs, wrap each in plastic and refrigerate. If not, drizzle a bit more ice water over the dough and pulse again. Gather the dough, form it into two discs, wrap each in plastic and refrigerate.
Pot Pie Ingredients:
1½ pounds cooked boneless chicken breast, cubed 6 tablespoons butter, divided ½ cup all-purpose flour 2 cups chicken stock 1½ cups whole milk ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg 1 cup pearl onions 3 carrots, sliced crosswise into coins 2 cups cubed butternut squash 1 cup frozen peas, thawed leaves from 4-6 sprigs of thyme ¼ cup finely chopped parsley kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste pie dough (see above) 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
1. Preheat oven to 400°F and position the rack to the upper third of the oven.
2. Heat 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add the flour and whisk until smooth, stirring constantly for one minute. Add the chicken stock and whisk until smooth. Then add the milk and bring the mixture to a simmer, increasing the heat to medium-high. Continue to whisk the mixture until it thickens to a creamy consistency. Remove the pot from the heat and add the cubed cooked chicken and nutmeg. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.
3. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the pearl onions, carrots, and butternut squash. Cook, stirring often, for 5-7 minutes. Add the vegetables to the chicken mixture, along with the peas, thyme, and parsley. Season again with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
ILOC tip: herbs like rosemary and thyme flower on woody stems that can be as thick and as stiff as twigs. Hold the stem in one hand and pull the herbs downward with the other hand, opposite to the direction in which they grow. They'll come right off the stem in just one motion.
4. Roll the pie dough to ¼-inch thickness in the shape of the dish you are using to bake the pie. Fill this vessel with the creamed chicken and vegetables and place the dough on top. Tuck in the edges down against the sides and brush the top with the egg and water mixture.
"It can be a lot of fun to decorate the pie crust with shapes or letters using cookie cutters."
5. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling.
Makes 8 servings.