Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cooking with Kristin: Chicken Pot Pie

And tonight, yet another meat dish - chicken pot pie!  An amusing story about chicken pot pie: while I was in England, one of my closest friends there ate a lot of frozen chicken pot pies.  We made fun of him pretty mercilessly, and eventually he started making real food, but never really lost the reputation.  Until a few months ago, when he became one of the hardest-core vegetarians I know.  One might say "fundamentalist vegetarian."  I don't think he'd approve of this recipe, but I have to say, it's seriously a lot better than frozen.  And, I think you could really easily substitute potatoes for the chicken, and not miss out on much, so keep that in mind, vegetarians.

Two quick notes: Having a food processor (pretty sure this is the model I have) made making pie crust about a thousand times easier than having a fork.  If you can get your hands on one, I think it would be a great investment.  I can't wait to make peanut butter in mine!  Also, the gravy that this makes is really, really good.  If you're vegetarian, I would highly recommend it.  It tastes as rich as any meat gravy I've ever had.  I could definitely see this tasting great and just a little different on mashed potatoes.

Photo Credit: Roger.
Pie Crust
(Adapted from How to Cook Everything, Mark Bittman)
Makes enough crust for a top and bottom pie crust, plus enough for one bottom.  I think I could have used the original recipe and had enough for the top and bottom, but I wasn't sure, so I doubled it.  We'll have dumplings tomorrow!  Also, this is really decadent crust.  I think you could easily use 3/4 or 1/3 of the butter and be perfectly satisfied.
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks frozen or cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 5 tablespoons ice water, plus more if necessary
  • 1 egg
  1. Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in the container of a food processor and pulse once or twice. Add the butter all at once; process until the mixture is uniform, about 10 seconds (do not over-process). Add the egg and process another few seconds.
  2. Put the mixture in a bowl and add 5 tablespoons ice water; mix with your hands until you can form the dough into a ball, adding another tablespoon or 2 of ice water if necessary (if you overdo it and the mixture becomes sodden, add a little more flour). Form into a ball, wrap in plastic, and freeze for 10 minutes or refrigerate for at least 30 minutes).
  3. Sprinkle your baking board with flour and put the dough on it; sprinkle the top with a little flour. Use a rolling pin to roll with light pressure, from the center out. If the dough is sticky, add a little flour (if it continues to become sticky, and it’s taking you more than a few minutes to roll it out, refrigerate or freeze again). Roll, adding flour and rotating and turning the dough as needed; use ragged edges of dough to repair any tears, adding a drop of water while you press the patch into place.
  4. Place the bottom crust into the pie-pan and place in freezer for 30 minutes or refrigerator for an hour.  Leave the top flat on the baking board while you prepare the filling.
  
Chicken Pot Pie Filling
(Adapted from Allrecipes)
There was a little extra gravy left over from this, which we'll use with the extra dough we have leftover, but you may want to tweak the proportions a little bit there.  Also, as I said before, this would probably taste just as good with potatoes in place of the chicken, so feel free to experiment with that, also.  Finally, the original recipe called for celery and celery seed.  I'm sure that would be delicious, but we didn't have either on hand, and the flavors were complex enough without it.
  • 1/2 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cubed
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 3/4 cups white wine
  • 2/3 cup milk
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. For chicken mixture: In a saucepan, combine chicken, carrots, and peas. Add water to cover and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.
  3. For gravy: In the saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper. Slowly stir in white wine and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Place the chicken mixture in bottom pie crust. Pour gravy over. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

6 comments:

  1. nice work, ktin! pie crusts are not easy......have you tried out the crock pot yet?

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Leah! This one was much more buttery than I'm used to, but I'd definitely try it again.

      And no, no crockpot yet. I'm not sure what to make in it yet!

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    2. oh yes, I had wondered about how the butter turned out. It looks like a fairly normal amount of butter for a pie crust, however. Would you ever consider using shortening or an animal fat instead?

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    3. I wanted to say that I would definitely try it, but I do have a tendency to stay away from recipes that call for lard. Not entirely sure why, actually. Probably only because I never have it in the house.

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  2. You timing is amazing. I was just thinking this very morning that I wanted chicken pot pie!

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    Replies
    1. Make this one! (And, if it doesn't take you an hour to find and put together the food processor, it's actually a pretty quick and easy recipe.)

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