The chicken pot pie of my childhood was made by Marie Callender’s. It was a personal pot pie, and it baked in the oven for what seemed like an eternity. My favorite part was the crust coated in that creamy pot pie sauce. Well, this chicken pot pie a thousand times better, though it’s a time commitment. Between making the pie crust, roasting chicken, blanching vegetables, making a bechamel, you’re in it for the long haul. But it’s worth it.
I’d recommend making chicken pot pie when you have left over meat from roasting a chicken and chicken enchiladas or chicken soup don’t sound appealing. I’d also recommend it for a crowd – a single slice will fill you up. You could very easily make this ahead of time, freeze it and bake it straight from the freezer, adding 20 – 30 minutes of additional bake time.
Chicken Pot Pie, adapted from Ad Hoc at Home
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
about 5 tablespoons ice water
1 cup red skinned potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
12 pearl onions, peeled
1 cup celery, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 bay leaves
3 thyme sprigs
1/2 tablespoon peppercorns
1/2 cup peas
2 cups cooked chicken, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
pinch of cayenne
Make the pie crust the night before. In a food processor, combine flour and salt. Remove the butter from the fridge and cut into 1 inch cubes. Add them to the flour mixture. Process until the butter chunks are about the size of peas. Add the water and pulse a few times to combine. Divide into two equal balls, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Remove the dough from the fridge and let it warm just slightly. Roll out the dough and place one piece in a 9 inch pie pan. Cut around the edges and put it back in the fridge. Roll out the second piece of dough into a 12 inch round. Place on a baking sheet and put it back in the fridge.
Bring a pot of water to boil. Add the bay leaves, thyme and pepper corns. Salt the water until it tastes like sea water. Blanche the potatoes, carrots and onions for 8 minutes. Add the celery and cook for another two. Strain the vegetables from water, pour them onto a sheet pan and discard the spices.
In a medium pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture is light brown. Whisk in the milk. Let the sauce come to a boil to thicken, stirring often. Remove from the heat. Add the salt, pepper, thyme, parsley and cayenne. Make sure you’re happy with the seasoning.
Remove the bottom crust from the fridge. Scatter the blanched vegetables, frozen peas and chicken in the pie shell. Pour the bechamel over the pie. Beat an egg in a small bowl. Moisten the rim of the shell with some of the egg. Top it with the other crust. Pinch around the edges and cut off the excess. Brush the top with the egg. Cut a small vent in the top crust to allow steam to escape.
Bake on the lower rack of 375 degree oven until the crust is golden brown, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the pie and let rest for 10 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve warm.