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Archive for April 4th, 2009

Individual Chicken Pot Pies

Chicken Pot Pie - Insert Fork

Chicken Pot Pie - Insert Fork

Oh sweet lovin’, I love chicken pot pies.  I love the crust, the chicken-stew filling, the “individual” nature of them.  Oh yes, they have to be individual pies.  You get that higher crust-to-consumer ratio that I feel is far superior to “family style” pies.  However, chicken pot pies fall firmly into the category of Comfort Food, and by definition, that makes them unhealthy.  And no, this isn’t some magical “healthy” version of a pot-pie.  It has pie crust made with butter, more butter in the filling, and then its eaten with a side of butter.  OK, that last part was not true, but the first two elements constitute enough butter that these probably shouldn’t be consumed any more than occasionally.

The pies start off deceptively healthy.  Diced carrots and potatoes go on to boil until tender.

Boiling Carrots and Potatoes

Boiling Carrots and Potatoes

At the same time, get the onions and diced chicken going in some melted butter.  Throw in some thyme for good measure.

Chicken, onions, butter, mmmm

Chicken, onions, butter, mmmm

The hardest part of the pot pie is, of course, the crust.  But remember our old friend from Pi Day?

Pi Day Leftovers

Pi Day Leftovers

In fact, my inspiration for making the pot-pies today was using the other half of the pie crust I made for the apple pie made to celebrate Pi Day.  I had it frozen, double wrapped in plastic since last month.  Last night, I set it in the fridge to thaw, and it was perfect for use today!  I love when a plan comes together.  So of the half-recipe I had remaining (which would be enough for one bottom crust of a pie), I divided the dough in half, then divided those halves into 1/3 and 2/3 segments (two unequal portions).  The smaller portions were used for the top of the pot pie and the larger portions were for the bottom/sides of the pot pies.

Divided Dough

Divided Dough

Roll those all out on a floured surface.  Place the larger portions in the baking dishes.  I used Corningware oven safe dishes (500 ml / ~1 pint sized).  Tuck the dough in the bottom, into the bottom corner and in along the sides.

Dough in the Dishes

Dough in the Dishes

And back to the filling.  Once the onions are tender and the chicken is cooked on the outside (not cooked through) add the flour and stir into the butter to make a roux.  Let this cook for a couple minutes, then add the liquids (milk and chicken stock in this case).  Stir to a boil so it thickens.  Once the sauce has cooked for a few minutes to thicken, add the drained vegetables.  By now, the potatoes and carrots should be cooked through and I have added a handful of frozen peas and corn.

Completing the Filling

Completing the Filling

Once the filling is ready, ladle into the wating crusts.  Don’t take the filling all the way to the top, leave about half an inch.   I had quite a lot of filling left over because the recipe is enough for 4.  However, I don’t mind at all because this will make some stellar leftover chicken stew to eat with some crusty sourdough toast.

Filled Pies...and Tomorrow's Lunch

Filled Pies...and Tomorrow's Lunch

Now put on the top crust, seal it to the bottom crust and pinch together with a fork.  And make some (4) slits in the top crust to prevent explosions.  You want to eat your pie right? Not scrape it off the top of your oven?

Pies Pre-Bake

Pies Pre-Bake

Pies Post-Bake

Pies Post-Bake

And of course you remembered to put the pies on a baking sheet to avoid having to clean your oven tonight, right?

Bubbly Goodness

Bubbly Goodness

Now let them sit so they can come down from Atomically Hot to just plain-old Scar-the-Roof-of-your-Mouth hot.

Prep Ranking: #4 – Weekend Afternoon
Tastiness Grade: Me – 9/10 (one of my favorites, it can’t fail me)
Tastiness Grade: Greg – 7.5/10 (needed salt apparently)

Now live it up and enjoy, just not too often, OK?  Recipe after the jump, and please refer back to Pi Day for the classic pie crust (or use your favorite recipe, or a store bought crust  –  I won’t tell).

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