With so much snow on the ground, and more to come, we crave warm and comforting foods. Chicken pot pie is one of our family faves, adaptable season by season. It’s typically the end of the line for a roast chicken, when all of the meat has been taken off and the carcass turned into stock. Here I used carrots, parsnips and turnips with the typical celery and onions. Another time, there might be fennel instead, or mushrooms or leeks. I also vary the herbs, using dill, tarragon or lovage instead of the ubiquitous parsley.
The sauce is basically a velouté (think béchamel without the dairy) made around the vegetables. Slowly cook the veggies in butter until soft, sprinkle with flour and cook for a few minutes to eliminate the rawness of the flour. Douse with white wine, the magic ingredient that adds flavor, evaporate the wine and add chicken stock. After the mixture is thoroughly cooked, add the chicken, herbs, salt and pepper to taste and cool. I sometimes add milk or cream but it’s not essential. For the crust (I only use a top crust) I use a frozen puff pastry sheet, slightly thawed. While I’ve tried dumplings and conventional crust, this remains the winner.
Chow down. This is “moreish,” meaning you’ll want to refill your plate!
Chicken Pot Pie
I sheet frozen puff pastry (I use Pepperidge Farm)
2-3 tbsp butter
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 small parsnips, peeled and chopped
I small turnip, diced
2 stalks celery, stringed and chopped
2-3 tbsp flour
1/3 c white wine
1 c or rmore chicken stock, warmed
1 c or more chopped cooked chicken
Optional: 2-3 tbsp cream
Remove the puff pastry from the freezer and let thaw a little while you make the pie filling.
Melt the butter in a wide saucepan and turn off the heat.
As you prepare the vegetables, drop them into the pan. Turn the heat back on and cook them slowly until the carrots are crisp tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the flour and stir to combine, stirring until the flout has cooked a little, 2-3 minutes (do not let it brown). Add the wine, stirring rapidly to make the sauce base. When the wine has evaporated, gradually add the chicken stock, stirring. Cook the sauce until the raw flavor of the flour has disappeared, adding more stock if it gets too thick. You want it to hold together and not be soupy but remember that the chicken will be added. Add the chicken, herbs, salt and pepper to taste and the cream, if using.
Turn the mixture into a pie pan (I use a 9-inch glass Pyrex pan.) and set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the thawed puff pastry sheet on to and cut off the corners (it’s square). Crimp the edges to adhere to the pie pan. Cut a few slits in the top and place the cut off corners neatly on top. Place in the oven (put a cookie sheet below it to catch drips). Bake for about an hour. Cool for 5-10 minutes and serve.