Thursday, October 13, 2011

Chicken Pot Pies

Finally.

I've probably tried and failed to post this recipe five times since the beginning of this blog. 

For some reason or another, each time I've tried to write it up, I've failed to get the right pictures, or not had the time, or it not work out properly.

This time, I will finally post it.

This is a great recipe. It's easy to make and also makes a TON, so you are almost guaranteed leftovers.

I love pot pies because you can make them so many different ways. I've tweaked this one over time to what I like the best, but I've done a great many varieties.

Chicken Pot Pies
(adapted from here)

2 large chicken breasts
(Again, I brined mine in 2 Tbs salt and 2 Tbs of sugar in enough water to cover)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Splash of white wine 

1 1/2 cups potatoes, diced
1/2 cup butter
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup celery, chopped
1 (16 oz) bag frozen mixed vegetables
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup half-and-half
salt and pepper
1 package refrigerated pie crusts

==

I brined my chicken for about 4 hours. I I've taken to trimming and portioning the chicken before the brine for speed once I want to cook.


Throw the chicken into a pan over med/high heat and season with a little pepper and thyme.


Flip when the chicken starts to brown. You'll probably have a hard time getting real color on the chicken because it always creates a great deal of liquid from the brining.


I pulled the chicken when it was just NEARLY done. Let it cool before dicing.



Since we're going to be baking these pot pies, I have found if the chicken is cooked all the way in this step, it can be a little dry in the final pie.

You should be able to see the line of light pink (not "raw") running through the chicken. This is ok. Don't freak out, it'll be fully cooked by the time we eat.



The juices left in the pan are too good to toss, so I start building my filling right in the pan.

I boost the heat and add a splash of white wine to the pan and scrape up the brown bits as best I can (the same way we'd make any pan sauce).


Transfer this sauce to a new pot/dutch oven. We'll run out of space, even in a big saute pan. Put the heat to med/high and add the stick of butter.

Get it melted and let it come up to temp.


Toss in the potatoes. I used regular frozen "southern style" hash browns from the store.


Add the onions.


Add the celery and cook until the veggies have softened. I add a bit of salt, pepper and a dash more of thyme at this point.

It usually takes me 10-12 minutes.


Add the frozen veggies and cook for another 8-10 minutes until the carrots have softened.


==

In the mean time, get the chicken broth and half and half together.


The veggies should all be nice and tender and ready to go. Check for salt.


Add the flour in 2 parts. I find dumping the whole thing in at once is a disaster.


Stir until the flour is completely absorbed. It'll stick to the bottom a little. It's ok. We need to cook it for a full 60 seconds to cook out the "raw" flour taste.


Add half of the broth/milk mixture and stir.

It should tighten up really quickly.



Add the rest of the flour and stir for 60 seconds.

It'll be really thick and tough.


Add the rest of the broth/milk


Give everything a stir until the sauce has thickened up. 


Add the chicken and stir to combine.


Make a final taste for salt/pepper and then kill the heat and get ready to bake.

I really like it peppery so don't be bashful.


I happen to have 2 identical pans that work perfectly for pot pies.

Yes, I weigh them out for accuracy.


Side note here - I usually make these in the morning/afternoon and save them until dinner. Just cover and toss in the fridge until service. You can even freeze them!


==

Once you're ready to cook, get out your pie crusts (thawed) and roll over the top.

I've made these with biscuits with great results in the past. Just arrange a few on each pie and bake until golden brown. 


Fold the extra dough down to form a crust and poke a few holes for ventilation.


Bake for 40 minutes at 400F or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling out.


Cut out a slice or two and consume.

This meal is awesome on a few levels. It's filling. It's comfort food. It makes a ton, so you'll have leftovers. You can also make it different ways. I've done a curry pie before. Sometimes I add a bit of cinnamon to it. I've used garam masala or ras al hanout to kick it to different countries. You can even add cayenne pepper. They all turn out great.

This is a standard recipe around here and always a hit. My daughter loves pot pies so much she asks for it by name. It is easily one of my favorite meals.


Enjoy!

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