Friday, January 28, 2011

Do You Like... Pot Pie???

After I roasted my chicken last weekend, I made a stock from the carcass, a few cloves of garlic, part of an onion, herbs de provence, and a little S&P.  After finishing, I stripped the carcass of any bits left, and I actually got quite a bit, so I decided to make - what else? - a chicken pot pie.
I wasn't quite sure how to do it, but I knew my trusty search engines would never fail me, so the night before we had them, I made another batch of pate brisee.  Have I mentioned that I looooooooooooove my Cuisinart® food processor?????
So, so pretty...
So, so tasty...
Just as I had predicted, I found an absolute slew of pot pie recipes.  MOST of them, though, called for the use of puff pastry, which was just not acceptable to me.  Even less acceptable was that some only called for the pastry to go over the top of the filling.  That's not a pie.  A pie has crust on the bottom.  It might not have it on the top (lemon meringue, anyone?), but it has it on the bottom.
In the end, I basically cobbled my pot pie recipe together from about three or four that were at least "pretty good."  Now, remember, I don't usually measure anything, but I tried to get in the ballpark or at least give descriptions enough so that you might be able to follow what I did (and hopefully I can too, the next time I make it).  Just remember that most of these should probably utilize the suffix -ish.

Chicken Pot Pie
Pate Brisee (one batch should be enough for 3-4 pies) - make this the night before

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter (or salted - whatever you have - who cares?)
  • flour (I swear I don't know how much - this is totally an "eyeball" thing)
  • 1/4 cup milk (or half & half or cream) - you might need more, depending on your hand with the flour
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp garlic, chopped or minced
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1-2 cups frozen peas, carrots, and/or corn (I would have used fresh were they in season)
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, chopped*
  • salt and pepper, to taste (I actually didn't use any)

*I had about a cup of chicken left over from the roast, so I sauteed a breast that I seasoned with kosher salt and pepper.  I would highly recommend having more leftover roast chicken.

Preheat oven to 350.  Roll out pastry dough and place into individual, oven-safe bowls or, preferably, tart pans.  Also roll out dough to cover; set aside.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat.  Once melted, add the flour and stir constantly until the consistency is kind of like warm peanut butter (if you use the all natural kind, you're going for the consistency of freshly stirred), but you don't want the butter-flour mixture to really brown; this isn't a roux.  Add the milk and stir for two minutes.  Add the onions and the garlic and cook, stirring, for one minute  Pour in the chicken stock and add the vegetables and chicken; stir to combine.  At this point, if your sauce needs to be thicker, add more flour.  If it's too thick, add a little more stock or milk until you have a creamy sauce, somewhat the same consistency of alfredo.
It made a sinkful of dishes.
Totally worth it.
Pour chicken mixture into tart pans.  Cover with top crust.  Trim edges and crimp to seal.  With a knife, cut some vent holes, brush with a little bit of milk.  Bake for 30-35 minutes (this is a good time to clean all the dishes you will have dirtied).

That evening, I went on my last practice run before London's Run (I'm doing the 10K), so I had to wait until I got back to eat.  Scott, however, ate before I left in order that he could run around chasing HRH, and he thought it was pretty darn tasty (he said it was just as good as the ones we can get at Costco, although I was going for better than that).  Consequently, I was really excited to sit down and eat.
I am super happy that I went with the double-crust REAL pie crust, which totally puffed up just like a store-bought puff pastry would have.  It was buttery and just a perfect match for the filling, which had a LOT more chicken than what you might find in those pot pies in your local grocer's freezer.  The chicken/veggies to sauce ratio was much greater, which made for a more filling meal.
In the future, I would like to add a few more veggies (I used up all that we had) and perhaps add mushrooms.  Scott and I were discussing them, and I said I know mushrooms aren't traditionally in a pot pie, and he replied, "They should be."  I agree - they have a great meaty texture, so I could possibly even sub mushrooms for chicken to make a vegetarian version (I'd also have to use veggie stock, but that would not be tough).
Finally, in my attempt to make less waste, what I SHOULD have done was save the onion and garlic that I used to make the stock and throw that in - while they did go in the compost, they were still wasted, so in the future I'm going to have to be more careful with what I use to make stock and how I use all my ingredients.
I confess that they were so good that I had the third and final one for "brunch" this morning.  Zooey had her nose right in my lap, hoping for a crumb, but I didn't let anything miss my mouth.  And now I'm kind of sad that they're all gone.  Maybe I'll be roasting another chicken sooner than I thought...

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