Chicken Pot Pie

One of the guilty pleasures of my childhood; the frozen version.  I haven’t had much experience with any other; the one I particularly remember was the Boston Market one, which was too sweet and too bland and generally not like the real thing.

I’ve been meaning to do this for over  a year, but finally actually made my first try at it today. It was successful beyond my wildest dreams—tasted exactly right, and yet contained only actual food ingredients (well, perhaps something nasty in the commercial crust or the bouillon).

Based on the Pillsbury Classic Chicken Pot Pie recipe; what I record here is what I actually did, as best I remember.

Pre-heat oven to 425°.

Cut two chicken breasts into ¾” or so cubes, and sauté gently until firm. Add 1 ¾ cups frozen peas and at least get the frost off them. This is too much meat, I think. And a mix of vegetables might be more interesting, although Lydy doesn’t want carrots in it.  But I think carrots would be good, and they’re certainly traditional. I drew the line at collard greens or cauliflower, though.

Mince one medium onion (recipe calls for 1/3 cup, so this is more than called for).

Melt 1/3 cup butter over medium heat, and sauté the onions a couple of minutes, until transparent.

Gradually add 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, with ½ tsp salt, 25 turns of fresh-ground pepper, and ¼ tsp or so each of thyme and sage.  Oh, and maybe 1/8 tsp of celery seed. Anyway, add this stuff gradually into the butter and onions.  Then add 1¾ cups chicken stock (I used Knorr bouillon) and ½ cup milk, still gradually and while stirring. I found this made a fairly glutinous mixture.

I used commercial crusts (top and bottom), and a 10-inch pie plate (recipe was for 9-inch, but I had extra meat and no shortage of other stuff). Put bottom crust in pie pan, then dump meat and veggies in, then pour the sauce over them. Finally, put on the top crust, seal the edges, and cut vents for the steam. Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. If your crust / oven requires it, cover the edges for the last 15 minutes to avoid over-browning.  Let sit at least 5 minutes (I waited 10, and it was still essentially impossible to get a piece out as one piece) before cutting and serving.

Makes perhaps 6 reasonable servings. Total elapsed time was about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Thoughts for the future: might be better to put a cookie sheet under the pie plate (less cleanup inside the oven). I had a bit too much filling even for a 10-inch pan, so one big breast is plenty (original recipe calls for 2½ cups shredded chicken). Maybe try with leftover turkey / turkey broth after Thanksgiving or Christmas. I wonder if finding containers to make single-serving portions is worth it? That would resolve the serving issue, but would require making my own crust.

Apologies to anybody who has trouble reading this due to my playing with the typography (accent in “sauté”, and fractions).