Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Autumn's best dinner: Chicken Pot Pie

After we had our first frost on September 30, the boy started whispering dreamily about chicken pot pie and he didn't have to ask twice. We scarfed down a few generous helpings of this cold-weather classic last weekend… I'm not gonna lie: it is time-consuming. But, if you make a full recipe and put half away for the freezer (see notes), it's all worth it knowing you have this socked away for another blustery day!

Chicken and Fall Vegetable Pot Pie
Adapted from epicurious.com/Bob Appetit Oct 1999
Serves 8.
  • 4 pounds chicken breasts with skin and bones
  • 4 to 6 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 3 large carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 pound potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large bunch spinach or bunch of green beans
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 3 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), sliced
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • (Herb crust recipe follow)

Butter 4-quart oval baking dish. Place chicken breasts in heavy large pot. Add just enough broth to cover chicken. Bring broth to boil; reduce heat to low. Cover pot and simmer until chicken is just cooked through, skimming surface occasionally, about 20 minutes. Using tongs, transfer chicken to plate and cool.

Add carrots and potatoes to chicken broth in pot. Simmer uncovered until vegetables are just tender, about 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to prepared baking dish. Add greens/beans to broth and cook just until wilted, about 1 minute. Using slotted spoon, transfer greens to colander; drain well. Add to vegetables in baking dish.

Strain broth; reserve 4 cups. Remove skin and bones from chicken. Cut meat into 1/2- to 3/4-inch pieces. Add chicken to vegetables in baking dish.

Melt butter in same pot over medium heat. Add leeks, shallots and thyme. Sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Add flour and stir 2 minutes. Stir in 4 cups broth and white wine. Increase heat to high and bring to boil, stirring constantly. Add cream and boil until sauce thickens enough to coat spoon, whisking frequently, about 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Pour gravy over mixture in dish. Stir to blend. Cool 45 minutes. (Filling can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Position 1 rack in top third of oven and place baking sheet on bottom rack in oven; preheat to 400deg;F. Roll out crust dough on parchment paper to 15x10 1/2-inch rectangle. Using paper as aid, turn dough over onto filling. Trim dough overhang; tuck dough edge inside dish. Roll out dough scraps to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out leaf shapes. Brush bottom of cutouts with water and place on crust; cut slits in crust to allow steam to escape.

Place pot pie on top rack and bake until crust is golden and gravy is bubbling, about 50 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Filling before crust is put on

Herb Crust

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 6 1/2 tablespoons (about) ice water
Blend first 5 ingredients in processor until herbs are very finely chopped. Add butter and shortening. Blend until mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer mixture to large bowl. Using fork, mix enough ice water into flour mixture to form moist clumps. Gather dough into ball; flatten into rectangle. Cover and chill 30 minutes. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled. Let dough soften slightly before rolling out.)

• This recipe really does take quite a bit of time, but is well worth it, especially if you…
• I make the full recipe and use a 1 1/2 - 2 quart casserole, fill with half ingredients and cover with half of crust recipe. The remainder goes in the freezer for later.
• I had bones left over from a roasted chicken earlier in the week. I simmered them with boneless chicken breasts
• Cooling the filling keeps the crust from getting gooey. (My mom called while I was waiting for things to cool and she explained why this is necessary — thanks, Mom!)
• Original recipe calls for turnips and turnip greens. I'm not a huge fan, but feel free to try it.



  1. Man, Nicole - this looks delicious! I don't think I have the patience, but I wish I did! LOL! xo Pam

  2. Wow, that looks delicious. I keep telling Aaron that the next meat pie we should make should be in those little individual sized pie tins, or the short ball jars, so we can freeze some and not waste so much. Mmm, pie.

  3. You can do it, Pam! Though I'm sure there are some shortcuts that could be made!!

    Ball jars - that's a terrific idea, Jo, though I may want more crust than would cover one… hmm?!?! And thanks for the Daivd Cross link — especially funny b/c we've been re-watching Arrested Development!

  4. Looks like enough to feed an army. Delicious too.

  5. It does, but we managed to finish off about 3/4 of it in one sitting — so good! Hope you're well!!