Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Not My Mama's Chicken Pot Pie

Not My Mama's Chicken Pot Pie
Let me start by saying that my mama never made chicken pot pie. She bought chicken pot pie.  And it was good. No, she never served pot pie for dinner but we did receive the cute mini pies when we were sick in bed or when the baby sittter was left instructions to serve it. Yes, the famous babysitter. The one who cut our Sara Lee brownies into 4 giant bites.  But one problem with the pot pies of old is that they took about 45 or 50 minutes to bake, which was a long time to wait if you were hungry. Now I think you can microwave them in a special sleeve because when the need for comfort hits, it usually requires a quick fix. 

I think they were Swanson's or Banquet chicken pot pies. I remember the box having a blue  turquoise label. We didn't have Marie Callendar's back then. But whatever brand it was had a very flaky crust. And the veggies and chicken were cut in cubes. And when you broke through the golden crust, hot steam came out. And who doesn't like there own little pie for dinner? I love pot pies. But I had never thought to make my own until  my kids were in high school. I guess I must have been really craving comfort because I remember that day when I had a refrigerated pie crust and some leftover chicken and decided to go for it. And there was no turning back then.

A few weeks ago I asked my husband what he wanted for dinner. I'm never sure why I ask because I never get an answer. Usually, he says something like,"Whatever you feel like making." Or,"Whatever sounds good to you." Or,"Anything you make is good." But that day he astounded me with a very simple answer,"I think I might like chicken pot pie." Hallelujah! I love not thinking about what to come up with for dinner.

 Lately, both of our brains have been really fried, I mean like mush, really fried. It's no secret that we've been under a lot of stress and financial worries, but (call me crazy) we still believe the rainbow is starting to appear on the horizon. I just wish it would develop a bit faster. Right now that horizon seems a little to far off and I am not a patient person. In any case, comfort food does a lot to soothe the soul. And lately we've been needing a lot of soul comforting. So enter, chicken pot pie. If only life was so simple and savory.

Colorado is in the midst of Spring. And as any Coloradoan knows snow is never far away in April. And yesterday it snowed. No, the blizzard that was predicted never showed but it did get very, very cold. Like January cold. And I wish this pot pie had been in my freezer. But it was devoured a few weeks ago. And so I pulled my photos out and decided to rewrite this recipe, because when it is cold out, I stay in. I know you will like it. I hope it will give you comfort when life is getting you down. And I hope it will give you comfort even when life is good. After all, it's usually the simple things that help set things right. And the simple things are usually the most savory.

The pot pie mixture

 Chicken Pot Pie - a few notes:

I use leftover chicken from whatever meal in my pot pie. I have also bought roast chickens at the grocery to use in pot pie and I have poached chicken breasts if necessary to use, too. I do use store bought crust but a cream cheese crust works well also. In this case, I decided to use flaky biscuit dough that I stuffed with cheddar cheese. I love these biscuits whether topping pot pie or on their own. You don't have to use cheese. They can be left plain or filled with dried fruit, or herbs or cheese or onions, or.... You get the idea, don't you? you can also add a bit more sugar and vanilla and have a great biscuit for shortcake. These are good biscuits! Flaky and tender with just a pinch of salt; I love them with honey or jam.

Before Baking
Chicken Pot Pie  Serves 4-6

3 c leftover chicken (cooked, boned and skinned) torn into chunks or diced
2 small potatoes - diced
1 c sliced carrots
3 T butter
1 c diced onions
1 c diced celery
3 T flour
1 c chicken stock
1 1/2 c milk
1 T dijon mustard
1 c grated cheddar
1 c frozen peas, thawed
1/3 c chopped Italian leaf parsley

Par boil diced potatoes in salted water for 2-3 minutes. Add sliced carrots for the last minute. When tender but still crisp, drain and reserve.

Melt 2 T butter in dutch oven. Add 1 c diced onions and 1 c diced celery. Saute over medium high heat for 5 minutes. Remove from dutch oven and reserve.

To make cheese sauce: Melt remaining 1 T butter in dutch oven over medium heat. Add 3 T flour and stir constantly until light olden in color. Add 1 c chicken stock while whisking into flour and butter. Stir in milk slowly. Cook until thickened. Add 1 T dijon mustard and stir in grated cheddar. Now add peas, parsley, chicken, potatoes and carrots and onions and celery. Leave in dutch oven and make biscuit dough to cover.




Biscuits Makes 8-12

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2 c all purpose unbleached flour
1 T baking powder
1 t salt
1 T sugar
4 T cold butter
3/4 c cold milk
1 1/2 c grated cheddar

Stir dry ingredients together in bowl. Cut in with forks or pastry blender the cold butter. Slowly stir in the cold milk until a soft dough is formed. Turn out onto a floured surface.

Knead dough a few turns and then pat into a rectangle about 12 x 9 inches. Roll bout 1/4 inch thick. Now fold in thirds and rotate dough 90 degrees. Roll again about 1/4 inch thick into a 12 x 9 rectangle. Sprinkle with cheese and fold in thirds. (like a business letter). Now roll to about 3/4 inch thick. Cut in about 8 or 9 pieces in whatever shape you want. Lay on top of chicken mixture inside the dutch oven.

Bake uncovered for about 15-20 minutes or until mixture is bubbling and biscuits are golden.

Notice the cheese.




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11 comments:

  1. Thanks Denise! It is great on a cold, spring day!

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  2. I've had chicken pot pie on the brain recently! I haven't made one in years, but I may need to, and soon. Yours look wonderful - love the biscuits (I do it that way too sometimes). I remember those frozen pot pies - a big deal favorite when my parents when out, too, and the babysitter came in. Haven't had one for years, though. Thanks for this.

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  3. Abbe, your chicken pot pie looks beyond delicious! mmm..I want a few of these biscuits.

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  4. John, we are definitely of the same generation! And nothing beats chicken pot pie. i confess to even buying the frozen variety, if needed!

    Angie-the biscuits are killer!

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  5. This looks like one delicious chicken pot pie! I love that it has the cheese biscuits on top rather than flake crust, so yummy!

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  6. I like any kind of crust as lon as there is one! Thanks, Natalie!

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  7. I could easily have written the beginning of this post, Abbe. We, too, were served pot pies that were either Banquet or Swanson. And I love 'em, though, I've never made one for myself. Marie Callendar filled that need. I must say, though, that your recipe is much more approachable than I would have imagined and I like the biscuits on top. And with Winter refusing to move on, there's still time to make and enjoy a good pot pie. Yay!
    Thanks for sharing your tasty recipe.

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  8. Oh John, those pot pies stay with you. They aren't that tough to make if the chicken is ready. And I've even heard of using frozen chopped veggies instead of fresh. But if I lived in your house I'd be pasta happy. And as for weather, my brother always tells me that he knows if Colorado weather is bad that Chicago will get it a few days later. So.. at least another day of winter is predicted!

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  9. This looks so flipping good. I would be having seconds or thirds of this dish.

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  10. And you should Kim! It's good for you and it makes you feel good!

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