Chicken pot pie is one of those comfort foods from my childhood I always craved. But this is not your pop-in-the-oven Swanson’s pot pie; it involves a few hours of chopping and stirring. But your reward will be a fresh-tasting delicious pie that’s worth all the trouble.
This deep-dish pot pie serves 6. I only make a top crust. You can make the crust the day before and refrigerate it as a plastic wrapped disk. Roll in out right before you make the gravy.
I use my pie crust recipe for one crust:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, divided
1/2 tsp salt (I use sea salt)
1 cube (8 Tb) cold butter
1 Tb frozen shortening (Crisco)
1 large egg yolk
1 -2 Tb ice water. I fill up a small cup with cold water and ice cubes and let it sit a few minutes, then measure it out.
2 tsp white vinegar
1 egg white to brush inside crust
Add 1 cup flour and salt to food processor and pulse a few times to mix. Add butter and shortening and pulse until it becomes a paste. Break up the dough with a knife and then add 1/2 cup flour and pulse until the flour-coated butter pieces range from from pea-sized to crumbles. Empty processor into a medium mixing bowl.
Mix vinegar with 1 Tb ice water and egg yolk. Add this to the flour and fat mixture and gently fold and press it into the dough with a fork. Drizzle in more ice water, one teaspoon at a time, until it’s moist. Gather it into a ball then flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
After dough has chilled for 10 minutes, pull out dough for bottom crust. You will now layer the dough with the fraisage technique. Pull an egg-sized piece off the disk and press down on a lightly floured surfaces with the palm of your hand, sliding forward about 4 inches. Set it aside and repeat with the rest of the dough, layering the each piece of flattened dough on top of it. Form a ball and then a disk and re-wrap in plastic and refrigerate while you make the pie filling.
Vegetable and Chicken Filling
2 ½ cups chicken stock. Use Roz’s Jewish Chicken Soup for best results
8-10 small or 20 tiny white pearl onions
2 large boneless, skinless chicken half-breasts, cubed
2 large Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed
3 large carrots, cubed
5 outside stalks of celery, cubed
About 10-12 medium white mushrooms, quartered
2 small zucchini, cubed
½ lb English peas, shelled (If you can’t find fresh ones, substitute 1 cup frozen peas)
Chop the chicken and vegetables ahead of time. You can shell the peas while the veggies are cooking.
Place the cubed carrots, potatoes, celery and chicken in a separate bowl to cook together.
Quarter the mushrooms and place in their own bowl.
Place the boiled onions, cubed zucchini, the shelled peas in separate bowls as well.
Heat chicken stock to boil. Place pearl onions in boiling stock for 3 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon to cool on a plate or cutting board.
Stir cubed potatoes, carrots, celery and chicken into boiling stock. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 8 – 10 minutes. Remove from stock with a slotted spoon, into a large bowl. Add mushrooms to stock and cook for a couple of minutes. Add zucchini to mushrooms and cook for just one minute. Remove vegetables with a slotted spoon in to the bowl with the other vegetables.
Cut the root end off the onions and squeeze the onion out from its skin, and put in the bowl.
Mix all the cooked vegetables and chicken together with uncooked shelled peas in the large bowl, then set aside.
Remeasure the stock, adding more if necessary. Place in refrigerator to cool.
Remove chilled pie dough from refrigerator. Roll between two sheets of plastic wrap out to approximately 1 ½ inches beyond the edge of the casserole edge. Set it back into the refrigerator to rest about 10 minutes while you make the gravy. Let it warm up on the counter for another 10 minutes.
4 Tb butter
1/3 cup flour
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup milk or oat milk
1 Tb white wine or dry sherry
½ tsp dried thyme or 1 tsp fresh thyme, minced finely
Several grinds black pepper
1 to 1 1/4 tsp sea salt, to taste
In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Whisk in flour and continue whisking over medium heat for several minutes. Add pepper and thyme and continue to whisk. Whisk in cold chicken stock, milk and wine. Add salt to taste, starting with ½ tsp then slowly up to 1 1/4 tsp, depending on the saltiness of your broth and your taste. Cook over medium-high heat until gravy thickens, then cook a few more minutes, whisking constantly.
Assembling the pie
Heat oven to 425◦
Pour the gravy over the mixed vegetables and chicken in the large bowl and stir until the gravy is mixed in with them. Grease or spray a 2.5 liter (10.5 cup) casserole bottom and sides with nonstick spray. If you have a pie bird, place it in the middle. Pour the chicken and vegetables into the casserole, making sure the gravy is mixed well. With a large spoon, make a mound in the middle of the filling, so that the sides are lower than the middle.
If you are using a pie bird, cut a small hole or slot for it in the middle of the crust. Carefully lift the crust so that is centered over the pie. Crimp the edges of the crust with your fingers. If you aren’t using a pie bird, cut a few slits in the crust so that the steam can escape.
To avoid burning the edges of the pie, place a pie shield over them or cover them with foil. Place the casserole in the middle of the oven. Bake for 30 -35 minutes until crust is crispy and browned. Let the pie cool a bit before cutting it. The gravy will thicken as it cools.