While my husband and son are adventurous in their food choices….they’ll try just about anything….my tastes are a little boring in comparison. However, American comfort food never fails to satisfy all of us. My recipe for Chicken Pot Pie is adapted from three different Cook’s Illustrated pot pie recipes. I preferred the crust of one but the sauce from another and the use of leftover chicken from yet another one. So with a little trial and error I put together my own blended recipe. Yes, it means making your own crust but it’s so worth it. The butter crust is flaky and savory…store-bought doesn’t even come close. Normally, I use the leftover meat from a Costco rotisserie chicken for the sauce. The pan I use is one that can be used on top of the stove and in the oven…this one to be exact. This way there is one less pan to wash because I cook the sauce and bake the pie all in one pan. (Note: this recipe is for cooks with a moderate amount of experience)
Classic Chicken Potpie (improved and adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
1 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (8 1/4 ounces), plus additional for work surface
3/4 teaspoon table salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/4 sticks), cold, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and frozen for 10 minutes
2 tablespoons sour cream
4 – 6 tablespoons ice water
Chicken and vegetables:
3 cups roasted, shredded rotisserie chicken
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup and 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 medium onion, minced
1-1/2 small stalks celery, sliced thin
2 carrots, sliced thin
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
½ cup frozen pearl onions (optional)
1 or 2 small potatoes, peeled, cubed and parboiled (optional)
Salt and ground pepper
1/2 cup frozen peas
1. TO MAKE THE DOUGH: Process flour and salt together in food processor until combined, about 3 seconds. Add butter and pulse until size of large peas, about six to eight 1-second pulses.
2. Mix sour cream and 4 tablespoons ice water in small bowl until combined. Add half of sour cream mixture to flour mixture; pulse for three 1-second pulses. Repeat with remaining sour cream mixture. Pinch dough with fingers; if dough is floury, dry, and does not hold together, add 1 to 2 additional tablespoons water and process until dough forms large clumps and no dry flour remains, three to five 1-second pulses.
3. Turn dough onto work surface. Shape into ball and flatten to 5-inch disk; wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm but not hard, 1 to 2 hours. (Dough can be refrigerated overnight.)
4. TO ROLL OUT THE DOUGH: (If dough has been chilled longer than 2 hours, let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before rolling.) Dust 16 by 12-inch sheet of parchment paper liberally with flour. Roll out dough to rough 14-inch round on parchment. Trim dough to an exact 14-inch circle. Fold dough to form 1/2-inch perimeter rim. Crimp folded dough between knuckle and forefingers to form 12-inch round with fluted edge. Cut four oval-shaped vents, 3 inches long and about 1/2 inch wide. Decorate dough with cutouts. Transfer parchment and dough to baking sheet; chill in freezer until ready to use, at least 30 minutes (or refrigerate for 1 hour).
CHICKEN AND VEGETABLES
1. Adjust oven rack to low-center position; heat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Add 2 tablespoons butter to the skillet over medium heat until melted. Add the onion, celery, carrots and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until incorporated, about 1 minute.
3. Stir in the vermouth and cook until evaporated, about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk in the broth, cream, and thyme, and bring to a simmer.
4. Add frozen pearl onions and potatoes (if using). Cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
5. Stir the chicken and the peas into the sauce. Remove dough from freezer, lift off parchment paper, and place dough on top of filling. Bake on upper-middle rack at 450 degrees until crust begins to brown around edges, about 15 minutes; reduce heat to 375 degrees and continue to bake until crust is golden brown and filling bubbles, 15 to 20 minutes more. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.