Sunday, January 18, 2009

I heart Pot Pies; Quick and Easy Pot Pies

Chicken or any other combination that makes you happy!

You've roasted tons of chicken (or have a treasure trove of root vegetables and mushrooms), now what?  It's time to work some magic..... 

Pot Pies.

I have streamlined this recipe by cooking the filling on the stove while the crusts are baking in the oven. It saves time and it keeps the crusts from becoming soggy.

I also make my own puff pastry, pie dough or biscuit toppings. However, purchasing ready made dough will make these even easier.  In the photo above: Puff Pastry Pie (my favorite), the one in the back is, Pie Crust Pot pie ( my daughter's favorite).

Read through the recipe; assemble, chop and measure all your ingredients before beginning. Although I like my vegetables to be large and rustic, cutting your veggies smaller (1/4-1/2 inch) AND all the same size, will allow you to cook this dish rather quickly.

Basic Pot Pie Recipe

1-2 Tbl olive oil
1/2 medium white or yellow onion, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped 
2-3 gloves garlic, minced
2 whole carrots, peeled and chopped
4 medium potatoes peeled and chopped
1/4 cup fresh or frozen peas (optional)
1/4 cup fresh green beans, chopped (optional)
2-3 quarts Chicken or vegetable stock
1 BG (Bouquet Garni= 6 whole peppercorns, 1 bay leaf, 4 stems fresh thyme, 6 stems parsley, no leaves) I just throw everything in the pot and remove it later.
2 Cups chicken meat, or 2 cups sauteed mushrooms
3 Tbl butter
4 Tbl flour
1/2 cup milk or half & half
1/2 cup Sharp cheddar cheese, or smoked Gouda, or 3 Tbl Parmesan  (optional)
pinch of cayenne pepper
Kosher or sea salt
Fresh Ground pepper
Squeeze of fresh lemon

Topping Options:

Puff pastry
Pie Crust
Biscuit dough
Egg wash (1 egg with a Tbl of cream or milk)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Line sheet pan with parchment

*In a 3 cup bowl; melt butter in the microwave, then stir in flour. Set mixture aside.

*Heat oil in a 4-5 quart pot over medium-low heat. Next add; onions, celery, carrots and garlic, and gently sweat (sauteing without achieving color) for 3-4 minutes, then add potatoes, BG (herb mixture) and stock. Turn heat to medium high and simmer until potatoes are cooked through, about 10-13 minutes.

*While vegetables are simmering; cut/shape your chosen crust into desired shapes, place on parchment paper or a well oiled sheet pan.  Brush the tops of pastry/pie crust/biscuit dough with egg wash ( make sure the egg does not run over the edges of each crust) and bake in 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until the crusts are golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.
Note: I like a top and bottom crust on my pot pies, so I cut one top crust and one smaller bottom crust for each serving. 

*Once the potatoes are cooked, add chicken, and green beans if using. Cook mixture for an additional 5-7 minutes (more if you want softer green beans). 

* Remove bay leaf, thyme and parsley stems. Carefully, take one ladle of hot stock from chicken pot pie base and slowly whisk it into your butter and flour mixture. Whisk until all the liquid is completely combined. Now add milk and cheese,  and whisk again.  Add one more small ladle of hot liquid, whisk completely, pour flour mixture back into simmering pot and stir until combined. Add fresh or frozen peas, if using. Continue to simmer until base is nice and thick. It should take about 5 minutes. 

Taste. Add salt, pepper, cayenne and a squeeze of  lemon. Taste and adjust seasonings; also, fresh chopped parsley is a nice touch.

To serve: Place bowls in warm oven during the last 5 minutes of cooking time. When bowls are warm, place one crust in bottom of bowl, ladle hot filling into bowl, then top with larger crust. Serve at once!

One final note: The pot pie base doubles or triples easily,  and the extra filling can be packaged into sealable freezer bags.  Divide cooled mixture into quart or gallon freezer bags. Label and date each.  Place flat on sheet pan and freeze. Once frozen, remove sheet pan and filling will store easily.  When ready to use, defrost portion in the refrigerator and reheat mixture on the stove top or in microwave and follow the direction for pastry topping.


Chef Deb T.


three generations said...

Those look soooo good! One question, if you do make a pie crust topping separately how do you bake it so you can lift it out and place it over the chicken and vegetables? I would think that it is going to crumble when it is moved?

Chef Deb T said...

Hi 3G!

Thats a good question.

Puff pastry and pie crust are pretty sturdy, despite being only flour, water and butter. I roll my crust out, cut them to size, then bake flat on parchment. Once baked, you can easily lift it off the parchment and put it on to your pot pie or store them to use later. Structurally, flat pastry is very strong.

I hope this answers your question.

Chef Deb T.