Ask anyone when the the last time they had a homemade savory pie and I’d venture the answer would be a very, very long time. Sadly, even the stuff you get from the neighborhood pub is usually straight from the freezer. It’s not entirely surprising, chicken pot pie certainly isn’t the worst option in the freezer aisle, and it beats rolling pastry. But if you find yourself on a Saturday afternoon with lots of ambition and even more time, making the stuff from scratch will provide you with perhaps the most satisfying meal of all time, and then days of leftovers that are just as good.
This is my favorite recipe because it has lots of vegetables you might not generally see in a pie, big pieces of roast chicken, and saffron in the sauce. It is a lot of work, but every step is worth it. If you want to cut corners on anything, you can use frozen puff pastry instead of making your own. This is a great dish to treat your friends to, pretty much everyone loves it and you can make the whole thing even a day ahead, baking just before the company arrives.
Chicken Pot Pie
Dice the veggies small (3/4 inch dice) but leave the chicken in larger chunks for the nicest results.
- 4 chicken breasts, bone-in, skin on
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 12 tablespoons butter
- 2 cups diced yellow onions
- 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup flour
- 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
- pinch of saffron threads
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 medium white potatoes, diced (1 1/2 cup)
- 4 carrots, diced (1 1/2 cup)
- 1 1/2 cup butternut squash, diced
- 2 cups frozen peas
- 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, minced
- 3 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
- 1 stick cold butter, diced
- 1/2 cup ice water
- 1 egg, beaten
- kosher salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350. Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35-40 minutes until cooked through. When they cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones and dice the chicken, discarding the skin.
- While your chicken is roasting, chop and prep all your vegetables.
- Melt the butter in a large pot/dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and fennel and cook until translucent but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add flour and reduce heat to low, stir and cook for 3 minutes. Slowly add in the stock, using a whisk if necessary to avoid lumps. Add saffron, heavy cream, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, and salt as needed (depending on how salty your chicken stock was). It should be highly seasoned - remember you’re adding a lot of veggies to this mix! Set this mixture aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes. After 5 minutes, add the squash and carrots, boil for 5 more minutes. They should be tender. Drain and add to the onion/flour mixture, along with the peas, parsley, and chicken. Mix until well combined.
- Now on to the pastry: In a food processor mix the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the shortening and butter, toss quickly to coat with flour. Pulse until the mixture resembles small peas, about 10 times. With the ice water ready, turn on the machine and add the water with the machine running, processing just until the mixture comes together. Dump the dough out onto a flour board, give it a quick knead into a ball, and wrap it up in plastic wrap to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. Give yourself a pat on the back. You, my friend, are on home stretch.
- Preheat the oven to 375. Divide the filling amongst whatever vessels you fancy to use: two pie plates, 4 individual ovenproof bowls, a 9 x 13 glass pan, or some permutation of the three.
- Crack the egg in a bowl and beat up with a bit of water, brush some of this on the rim of your vessel of choice.
- Take the pastry out of the fridge and roll it out on a floured surface to a size large enough to fit over the top of your pies. Cut out the approximate shape and put it on the top. Do you best to try and make the edges look pretty: crimping it over the edge to stick. Don’t worry, even if you massively fail at making it look pretty it will have that great “rustic” look. Brush the tops with more egg wash, make a couple slits in the top, and give it a sprinkle of salt and a couple turns from the pepper mill.
- Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until the tops are golden.
- Enjoy! (And believe me, you will!)
Adapted from the Barefoot Contessa. This recipe is essentially her Vegetable Pot Pie (Barefoot Contessa Parties!) and Chicken Pot Pie (available online) recipes combined.