You have to be a masochist to make a chicken pot pie. Honestly. It is such a pain in the butt – so time consuming – exhausting in fact. And although homemade pot-pies are delicious – so are Mrs. Swanson’s and you don’t have to do anything other than buy it and pop it in the oven. I remember when I was a kid my parents would go out on Friday or Saturday night and our babysitter Maria Ceraceda or her sister Agnes (who, by the way, was President of the Davy Jones fan club – FYI) would make us dinner (Chicken Pot Pies, popcorn or hot fudge Sundays – parfait style) and we got to eat on TV trays in front of the TV. Best nights ever. Sometimes Maria would bring her boyfriend Renee over and he would teach us sign-language – that was fun – he was deaf and he was cute and it was so much fun. Anyway…. Those pot pies were delicious. Perhaps as delicious as the one I made last Sunday night. The last time I made chicken pot pie was about 16 years ago. Maybe even more. Alex was 8 years old or so – I think. Possibly even younger. My wonderful neighbor Lisa organized a dinner cooperative with four families. I think it was four families. I’m not completely sure how it worked but if memory serves me (and often it does not these days) – once a month each family would make dinner for all four families. It was supposed to be a simple meal – kid friendly.
But everyone involved is competitive and of course the meals got more and more elaborate and complicated over time. Everyone was outdoing the previous week’s meal – made by another family. And everyone could cook. Lisa’s recollection was that it was ‘fun.’ It was except if it was your week and you had to work that day. Eventually the thing fell apart – just too much work for working folk on a mid-week night. It was fun and was good community – but I’m telling you that chicken pot pie did me in.
Why then you ask would I make another one? Ever? Honestly I have no idea. I think I wanted to test my memory. I mean…How hard could a chicken pot pie really be? It’s just a pie crust and a bunch of chopping and par-boiling and roux making and putting together.
Oh and cook the chicken.
To add to the day I decided to make a chocolate coconut pound cake – an amazing Bon Appetit recipe AND Spice-Crusted carrots with harissa yogurt – also an amazing looking Bon Appetit recipe. The combo was a lot for one Sunday. I did have a blast cooking all day but it was all day. But it was fun. Nonetheless, I will never make a chicken pot pie again. I am not a masochist. I am not.
Chicken Pot Pie
(I can’t tell you where this is from. I think it’s from me. I read a bunch of recipes over the years, and then ab libed)
Pre-heat over to 425°
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
a pinch of salt
1-stick unsalted butter cut into pieces – must be super cold
3 to 4 Tbsp ice water
Put the flour and salt in the bowl of the food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and pulse again until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. While the machine is running, drizzle in the water, processing until the dough comes together to form a ball. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and shape it into a flat disk. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
1 whole chicken cooked however you want (I actually made a whole chicken in the slow-cooker the night before and I used that meat) – skip this one ingredient if you’re going vegetarian. Take all the meat off the bones and cut into cubes or shred.
1 cup sliced carrots or diced
1 cup green beans, ugly end removed and then cut into
1 ½ inch pieces
1 cup sliced celery (slice at an angle it’s prettier)
2 leaks sliced thin up to the green tops
½ pound cippolini onions or small onions or 1 large chopped onion
½ pound mushrooms sliced thick
peas if you want, fresh or frozen (I didn’t use them because I thought Jared might be coming for dinner and he has an allergy or aversion – unclear which but we’re not interesting in testing that one out)
½ cube butter unsalted
½ cup flour
2 cups chicken broth (vegetable broth if you’re going vegetarian) – homemade is a must. (For homemade vegetable broth see Batch-33.com Veggie Stock)
More water to thin the sauce
In a saucepan bring water to a boil and parboil the vegetables. You’ll need to do them separately because they cook at different speeds. Par-boil the carrots, the celery, the green beans, cippolini or mini-onions if using them (make an x with a knife on the root end of the onion. After parboiled the onions are easier to peel), and the peas.
In a pan melt ¼ cup of butter and sauté the onions first, then add the leeks and finally add the mushrooms.
Remove the vegetables from the pan and make a roux. This is how: add ½ cube of butter to the pan and melt it. When completely melted stir in ½ cup of flour. When the flour and butter are combined (this is the roux) slowly stir in the broth and if still too thick, add water.
Once the sauce is done, gently stir in all of the vegetables and the chicken (omit the chicken if you’re making a vegetarian pot pie).
Put the filling into your pot. I have a nice earthenware pot that I use but you can use anything you’ve got – even a pie pan.
Then remove the pie-crust from the refrigerator and roll it out into a circle, cover the pot with filling inside, crimp the edges, and put into a pre-heated 425° oven. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes – until the pastry is golden brown and the filling bubbly. Cool for a few minutes then serve in bowls. Phew.
Enjoy I guess…