Chicken pot pie is comfort food, no doubt about it. As with all types of comfort food, everyone has their own way of making it – and there are tons of freezer-read options available that try and entice people not to make it themselves. Chicken pot pie is definitely worth making at home because it is so much better than the frozen pies you can buy and you can always customize it to suit your own tastes.
For me, chicken pot pie should be kind of like a very hearty, creamy chicken soup that happens to be in pie form. I don’t want it to be so thick that it slices like custard; my pie needs to be scooped out of the pie dish. I also don’t want the crust to overwhelm the pie; I use only a single top crust to cover my filling. Elise has an excellent chicken pot pie recipe, and I base my pie off of hers. The biggest change I make from her recipe is that I usually start with a rotisserie chicken and shred up the already cooked meat, rather than starting with raw chicken and making the stock for the pie myself. It’s very convenient this way, and it is a great use for leftover chicken if you have a lot to use up. I often go out and buy a chicken from the market right before I make a pot pie because I like a lot of chicken in mine and don’t usually have that much laying around as leftovers when I cook chicken at home!
My “secret” to pot pie is to use homemade pie crust for the top. It always comes out flaky and crispy, and it really doesn’t take very long to make it. I usually mix up the dough, chill it for only a few minutes while I cook the filling, and then roll it out before the pie goes into the oven. That said, it’s not necessary to use homemade pie dough. A sheet of puff pastry works well as a topper for this dish, too.
The filling for this pie is rich and creamy, with a consistency like a medium-thick gravy (thicker than I make gravy, thinner than the gravy you’ll find at your average diner). Its subtly spiced with thyme, which leaves lots of room for the flavor of the chicken to come out and shine. This recipe makes enough to fill up a deep dish pie plate and will definitely overfill a smaller one. You can use a casserole dish if you don’t have a smaller pie dish. If you must use a smaller pie plate, put the leftover filling into a ramekin, top with its own piece of puff pastry, and bake it off, too.
Deep Dish Chicken Pot Pie
1 tbsp butter
1 cup onion, thinly sliced
1 cup celery, thinly sliced
1 cup carrots, thinly sliced
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups milk (skim, low fat or whole)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
3 cups shredded cooked chicken (from a 2-3lb bird)
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
salt and pepper, to taste
1 recipe for pie crust dough (below) or large sheet of puff pastry
Make the pie dough (below) and let it chill in the refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 400F.
In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add in onions, carrots, and celery, and cook for 5-10 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring continuously, for one minute to cook out some of the flour flavor. Stir in chicken stock and milk. Bring just to a simmer, than decrease the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add in the chicken meat, peas and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour filling carefully into a 9 or 10-inch deep dish pie plate.
Take chilled dough from the refrigerator and roll it out on a lightly floured surface until it is large enough to cover the top of the pie plate. Cover filling with pie, pressing it down around the edges of the pie plate and cutting 4-5 slits in the top to allow steam to escape.
Bake for about 30-35 minutes, until filling is bubbly and the pie crust is golden.
Let pie sit for about 5 minutes before serving.
Single Pie Crust
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp butter, chilled and cut into pieces
4-6 tbsp cold
Stir together flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Add in butter and rub it into the flour mixture with your fingertips, forming pieces no larger than a pea. Stir in 4 tbsp cold water with a fork, letting the dough come together. Add additional water until dough forms a rough ball (if it is very dry, you can add more water than directed in the recipe above; the amount can vary depending on the weather!). Wrap dough in plastic wrap, press down into a disc and chill until ready to use.