HELPING FAMILY FARMS FLOURISH. HELPING FEED THE HUNGRY.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Chicken Pot Pie







If the photos accompanying this recipe look familiar, it’s because I used the same pastry technique in my very first posting Jamie Oliver's Beef and Guinness Pie from Jamie at Home: Cook Your Way to the Good Life” (October 18,2009). But this time, I used it with that avatar of comfort food, the Chicken Pot Pie. 


       First off, let’s talk about the pastry. It’s a highly adaptable method for perfecting store-bought puff pastry, specifically those Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheets found in almost every grocery store’s frozen foods section. The trick here is to get a great bottom crust for your pie. And this is done by putting the pie plate on a sheet pan and then putting both sheet pan and pie plate on the bottom of a 375 degree oven for between 30 to 45 minutes. Unlike the sodden results or practically uncooked pastry of the past, you’ll be  pleased to see the entire pie takes on a beautiful browned look. And in the case of this Chicken Pot Pie, instead of the standard single crust, you get this wonderful true “piece of pie” that even holds the filling better. Now, about the filling.
Chicken Pot pie is one of those deeply gratifying ways to use almost any vegetable you have on hand. It’s a very useful way to clean out the vegetable bin or at least have the flexibility to use any vegetable you want. In this case, I used four them, simply because I had two of them on hand and wanted to supplement the carrots, a mainstay in chicken pot pie and the zucchini which is slightly more unusual. I had some baby corn and I had the remains of a package of white button mushrooms. So in they went.

As to the chicken itself, there are two ways of going here. You can poach four chicken breasts in cream or you can go with a half a rotisserie chicken and save yourself the poaching. The latter is what I did. I’d done chicken sandwiches with a delicious chicken from, of course, Costco and had half a bird left. It was perfect for this purpose.


Recipe for Chicken Pot Pie


4 chicken bone-in breasts or ½ rotisserie chicken
1 cup heavy cream
4 carrots, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces
2 zucchini, unpeeled and cut into ½ inch dice
½ cup baby corn
1 cup mushrooms, stemmed and halved
5 tbsp. unsalted butter
4 tbsp. flour
2 small yellow onions (8 ounces), coarsely chopped
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
¼ cup brandy, cognac or white wine
1 tbsp. dried tarragon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 egg
1 tbsp water
2 11X11inch sheets of frozen Puff Pastry
  1. Take the puff pastry out of the freezer 40 minutes before using to defrost.

  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  3. If using chicken breasts, put them in a single layer in a baking dish. Pour the cream over them and bake them for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the chicken from the cream, reserving the cream and the cooking liquid. Let the breasts cool, de-bone them and cut them into 1 inch pieces. Alternatively, take the meat off the bones of half a rotisserie chicken and cut it into one inch pieces.

  4. Raise the oven temperature to 375 degrees.

  5. Blanche the carrots in boiling water for 3 minutes, the zucchini, mushrooms and corn for 1 minute. Drain the vegetables and cool them under cold running water. Drain thoroughly.

  6. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, not brown, about 5 minutes.

  7. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Do not let flour brown.

  8. Add the chicken broth and cook until thickened. Then add the cream and juices and the brandy, cognac or white wine. Cook over low heat until thick, about 5 minutes.

  9. Stir in the tarragon, salt, pepper and simmer one minute. Add the chicken and vegetables and mix gently into the cream sauce. Remove from heat.

  10. Mix the egg and water in a small bowl. On a floured surface, roll out the puff pastry so that it is 1/8 inch thick. Butter a 9 inch pie dish and line it with one sheet of puff pastry. Trim any excess pastry leaving a half inch overhang. Brush the edge of the dish with the egg wash. Ladle the chicken filling into the pie dish. Roll out the second sheet of puff pastry and score it very gently in a cross hatch pattern. Lay the sheet of pastry over the top of the pie filling. Crimp the edges of the pastry decoratively Then take the egg wash and brush it all over the pastry.

  11. Place the pie dish on a sheet pan and put it in the bottom of the oven for 30 to 45 minutes or until it is beautifully browned checking it frequently. Serves 6.