Who doesn’t like pot pies? When the weather changes and it starts to get cooler one of the first things that I want to make is a pot pie. I have fond memories of eating frozen chicken pot pies as a child on nights when my parents were going out on the town. I was happy to be home with the babysitter who might let me stay up late, but even happier to be eating a pot pie for dinner! I’m really a crust person and I can remember eating all the filling and saving the crust, covered with the creamy sauce and then savoring every bite until it was gone! I probably tried to talk my younger sister out of a few bites of her crust.
I’ve never been one to buy canned, frozen or processed foods but I’ve always bought ready made pot pies. That was until I found a recipe that I loved! It’s really not hard at all and you can vary the filling to include anything that you want. I’ve talked about the “fear of making pie crusts” that I had for years and having a great crust recipe under my belt, I moved on to making my own pot pies. If you’re really pressed for time or just feeling lazy you can use frozen puff pastry for your topping. This is something that I always have on hand in the freezer. You can use it for hors d’oeuvres, entrees, side dishes and desserts.
Chicken pot pie is really a classic but I’m just as happy making a vegetarian version chock full of cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, pearl onions, potatoes and mushrooms. Use your imagination and throw in your favorite veggies. The basic recipe is the same and you can vary the filling according to what’s in your fridge or what looks good at the market that day. I usually make them the day that I want to have them, but you can assemble them and pop them into the freezer (you don’t even have to defrost before cooking).
Pot pies are a great do ahead gift to take over to a friends house. Imagine how happy you’d be to have someone come by and deliver this to your house for dinner! So-happy fall and here’s hoping that you’ll have a pot pie simmering in your oven on the next cold night. The original recipe I started with is from Marlene Sorosky’s “Year-Round Holiday Cookbook”. I’ve made a few changes over the years.
Chicken Pot Pie (for 6)
5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3/4 stick butter
1/3 cup flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup white wine
1 cup cream (1/2 and 1/2)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 cup chopped, fresh parsley
1 cup frozen, defrosted peas
1 cup carrots, chopped and blanched in boiling water about 2 minutes
1 cup frozen, defrosted pearl onions
1/2 lb. mushrooms, chopped
1 pie crust or 1 sheet frozen defrosted puff pastry
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large saute pan melt butter over medium heat, then add flour whisking for about 2 minutes. Pour in cream, then broth and wine and continue whisking constantly. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, add salt, pepper, thyme and basil and parsley. Stir in carrots, onions, peas, mushrooms and chicken. Fill a deep dish pie plate-about 9 inches (or use 6 individual ovenproof bowls).
Roll out your pie crust, or defrosted puff pastry on a lightly floured board. It should be about 1 inch larger than the dish that you are using. Place over filled dish and crimp edges. At this point you could refrigerate overnight or freeze. With a knife score the top of the crust (make 4 small slash marks) to let the steam escape. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush top with beaten egg. Place in preheated oven and bake for 35 minutes (or a little longer if top is not golden yet). If you are using them from the freezer they should bake 45-50 minutes.
* Feel free to substitute fresh thyme and basil if you have them, increasing to 1 tablespoon of each. This is also delicious using fresh tarragon rather than thyme and basil.
I have to mention that I meant to the take the photo before we ate dinner but in my haste to enjoy it I completely forgot!