Sunday, September 27, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie


This is the ultimate comfort food! I first time I had this was at my BFF Abby's house. I thought I had died and gone to food heaven! It is a Martha Stewart recipe. The flavors are so perfect and comforting and now that it is officially Fall I feel I can start cooking "Fall", if you know what I mean! I borrowed Abby's explanation because she put it into words in a way the made it so easy for me to follow. Here is the link to her blog to see the original explanation. Sometimes to cut down on time I simply cook 3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts shred it and use chicken broth instead of stock thus cutting out the whole cook a whole chicken and debone it thing. I love it both ways so if a whole chicken scares you just use chicken breasts. This recipe is the sole reason I grow Thyme and Flat leaf parsley in my garden! We also got to use our carrots, my boys love that they are eating things that they are growing!

Chicken Pot Pie

I've simplified it here by giving you the three major steps:

Prep time: 1 hour & 20 minutes
Total time: approx. 2 hours

1.) Start cooking the chicken (1 hour cook time)
2.) Mix dough, get it in the fridge (1 hour chill time)
3.) About 20 minutes before chicken is done, cut veggies, chop parsley, measure milk, chicken stock, & flour, get casserole pan ready

STEP 1: Cook Chicken:

3-4 lbs. Chicken
4 c. Chicken Stock (or 4 c. water + 4 bullion cubes)
1 Yellow onion, split in half
2 dry bay leaves
1/2 t. whole black peppercorns (or ground pepper, whatever)
1 small bunch fresh thyme
1 rib celery, cut in 3 pieces

Combine all ingredients above in a large stockpot, add enough water to cover the chicken. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered 1 hour. When chicken is cooked, remove the chicken and reserve the stock. Remove the skin & bones, shred into bite-size strips, set aside. Strain stock and save for later.

STEP 2: Crust:

1 c. flour
1/4 t. salt
1 T. fresh thyme leaves
10 T. chilled butter, cut into small pieces (1 cube + 2 T. of another cube)
3 T. ice water
1 egg yolk

Pick enough thyme leaves to make 3 Tablespoons. Set 2 Tablespoons aside. Combine flour, salt, thyme either in a food processor or in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ice water and egg yolk, mix until dough holds together. Try not to over mix. Turn dough out onto plastic wrap, flatten into a circle, wrap well, refrigerate at least 1 hour.

STEP 3: Filling:

5 T. Butter
9 oz. red potatoes, scrubbed, cut into 1/2” pieces
1 large onion, diced (or 12 pearl onions, peeled & cut in half)
1 medium leek, white and light-green parts only, sliced into 1/4” thick rounds
2 carrots, peeled & cut into rounds
6 oz. mushrooms, sliced or cut into chunks

THEN LATER:

5 T. flour
2 c. reserved chicken stock (save the rest for another use.)
1 c. milk
2 T. fresh thyme
2 T. chopped, fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 t. fresh ground pepper
2 t. salt

Heat oven to 375º. Melt 5 T. butter in large sauté pan or stockpot over medium heat. Add potatoes and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, 4-5 minutes, until potatoes begin to turn golden. Add leeks, carrots, and mushrooms, cooking 4-5 minutes more. Add 5 T. flour, and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Stir in reserved chicken stock and milk, bring to a simmer. Cook until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly, 2-3 minutes. Add reserved chicken pieces, chopped parsley, and remaining thyme, 2 t. salt, and ground pepper. Transfer to a large casserole dish. Set aside.Working quickly so you keep the dough cold, roll out the dough until it is 1/4” thick, transfer to a baking sheet and chill if necessary. Otherwise, place dough over the top of the chicken mixture, tuck extra dough around the edges. Cut slits on top to allow steam to escape. Bake 35-40 minutes, until crust is golden. Serve hot.
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