classic comfort food: chicken pot pie

I was drawn to this recipe of chicken pot pie from the first moment I saw it on the cover of the cookbook Easy Comfort Food: Simple Recipes for Feel-Good Favorites. This version of chicken pot pie is fairly simple to make, especially if you use frozen pie crust or puff pastry and grocery store rotisserie chicken.  The recipe also calls for my favorite herb of the moment, tarragon, which pairs very well with chicken. Best of all, this chicken pot pie does not contain anything I have to pick out, namely carrots or peas.  I added shiitake mushrooms to make the filling more hearty and because I like mushrooms.  To get all the fond, or caramelized browned bits of chicken stuck on the pan, I also recommend deglazing with some white wine.  This step adds wonderful flavor to the filling.  I converted this recipe from one large pie into 4 individual ones because the pies served in ramekins makes for a nicer presentation and they’re easier to serve.  To ensure that there is ample pie crust for each serving, I cut the dough into rounds and placed a piece of dough on the bottom of each ramekin, added the filling, and then topped it with another piece of dough.

I was very disappointed in the pastry crust that was included in recipe so I am not sharing that with you and I am substituting it with the pastry crust recipe from Ina Garten.  I have made Ina’s crust before and it turned out very flaky and would be much better than the one that was provided in the recipe.

Chicken, Leek, and Tarragon Pot Pie
Adapted from Easy Comfort Food: Simple Recipes for Feel-Good Favorites
Yields 4 individual servings

For the Pastry Crust
This substitute recipe adapted from Ina Garten

Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
Flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper

Method:
Mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the shortening and butter and mix quickly with your fingers until each piece is coated with flour. Pulse 10 times, or until the fat is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water and process only enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together. Dump the dough out onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Do note overwork the dough because it will get tough.  Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

For the Filling

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons butter, separated into 2 halves
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
4 leeks , white parts only, sliced thick
1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms (or your favorite mushroom variety), cleaned and cut into bite-size pieces
1/4 cup white wine
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup cream
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Method:
In a large skillet, melt half the butter over high heat.  Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to the pan and cook until browned. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.  Reduce heat to medium, and add remaining butter.  Add leeks and mushrooms to the pan and cook for about 3-4 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Deglaze with white wine.  Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for another 2 minutes until leeks and mushroom are very soft.

Return the chicken to the pan, returning to a high heat, and sprinkle the flour in, thickly coating the chicken and leeks.  Gradually add chicken stock to the pan and stir until boiling.  Add the cream, tarragon and parsley and season with salt and pepper.  Reduce heat to a simmer and allow mixture to thicken.  Once everything is thickened, allow the filling to cool.

Pie Assembly

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Divide the dough into quarters and roll each piece into a circle that is  1/2-inch larger than the top of your ramekins or other ovenproof bowls.  Divide the filling equally among the ramekins and brush the outside edges of each ramekin with the egg wash, then place the dough on top.  Crimp the dough to fold over the side, pressing it to make it stick. Brush the dough with egg wash and make 3 slits in the top. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.

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3 thoughts on “classic comfort food: chicken pot pie

  1. Pingback: my favorite dishes of 2011 « daisy's world

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