Chicken Pot Pie

slice of pie

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.

veggies for pot pie

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)

Directions:

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.

pot pie without crust

Gravy:

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

unbaked pot 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.

baked chicken pot pie

Minestrone Soup

Fall in the Bay Area brings a few weeks of sunshine to ripen tomatoes, then rainy and chilly days, perfect Minestrone Soup weather. Pick those ripened tomatoes off the withering vines, combine them with broth and chopped veggies and herbs in a big pot. This is a pretty forgiving recipe, so if you want to clean out the veggie bin of your fridge, throw in what you’ve got. You could use frozen veggies  or canned tomatoes. There is a use for everything, even Parmesan cheese rinds! The rind lends a wonderful flavor to the soup. If it doesn’t break up, leave it in the pot when serving.

10 servings:
1 or more Parmesan rinds
1 large onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 bunch red Swiss chard, leaves torn off ribs and chopped fine, to make about 3 ½ cups, dice the ribs
1 large red bell pepper, diced to make 1 cup
1 large green bell pepper, diced to make 1 cup
1/2 pound crimini mushrooms
1 Tb salt (to taste)
½  tsp fresh minced rosemary
1 Tb fresh minced oregano
1 tsp dried basil
6 cloves garlic, minced
several grinds black pepper
One package (4 links) Aidells chicken sausages. either artichoke and garlic or sun-dried tomato with mozzarella cheese (optional)
1 bay leaf
several shakes red pepper flakes
10 cups (2 1/2 quarts) homemade chicken or vegetable stock Roz’s Jewish Chicken Soup or vegetable broth (you can use boxed stock, but it won’t be as good!)
1 can tomato paste
4 cups diced tomatoes (Roma is best)
OR 28 ounce can San Marzano peeled tomatoes to sub for tomatoes and tomato paste
4 dried Porcini mushrooms
1 rind Parmesan cheese
1  cup peeled and diced carrots (2 large carrots)
2 peeled and diced red potatoes
2/3 cup small pasta (I used the tiny tubes called ditalini for my last batch, but I have also used salad macaroni)
4 small zucchini, diced to make 1 ½ cups
1/2 pound green beans, chopped
1 15-oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed.
1 cup frozen or fresh corn kernels
1/2 cup frozen or fresh peas
1 small bunch Italian parsley, chopped.
1 Tb fresh minced basil (about 5 leaves)
 
Garnish:
a few pinches dried oregano to taste
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

 

Heat stock, Parmesan rinds, tomato paste, tomatoes or canned tomatoes  in a large pot.

Grind dried Porcini mushrooms in a coffee grinder or small food processor and add to the stock. Add salt to taste.

Scrub mushrooms and rinse well. Dry in paper towel. and cut off woody ends from the stems. Place mushrooms on toaster oven tray and spray with olive oil spray. Broil for 10 minutes. When they cool, cut them in quarters and add to stock.

Stir-fry onions, red bell pepper, chard ribs, garlic, celery, and herbs in  olive oil in a heavy skillet until translucent. Add to stock.

Slice sausages in quarters lengthwise and then into half-coins. Stir fry in the same skillet as the onions were in for about 4 minutes, until browned. Add to soup, then ladle some soup into the frying pan and scrape the browned bits into the soup, then pour back into the pot.

Stir in carrots, chard leaves, canned beans, and potato and cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in pasta, green beans, zucchini, parsley, corn and peas. Cook 10 minutes on medium. Stir in fresh basil.

Discard bay leaf and ladle into bowl. Stir in a pinch of dried oregano, fresh basil, and a few spoonfuls of grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy with a slice of good bread such as Acme herb slab, foccacia, olive bread, or sourdough baguette. Manga!