An old favorite takes on new flavors in just about 60 minutes
Out here in the Hamptons, the day after Labor Day is called “Tumbleweed Tuesday”. It is the day when the place completely clears out as everyone heads back to school and work. It signals the end of summer. This year it was particularly early, September 2nd. It did however live up to its reputation and even more alarmingly, the warm weather seemed to go with it. Never mind, fall weekends have a terrific allure here. Crisp air, apple picking, deserted beaches–it’s a wonderful time of year. On Fridays, the weekenders arrive especially if the weather forecast is good. Last Friday, they arrived in force, myself among them. So Friday night, one of our favorite haunts, Dockside (26 Bay Street in Sag Harbor Tel: 631 725 7100) was going full tilt.
During the season, its terrace overlooks the Sag Harbor Yacht Club and it’s always packed. But Friday night with the temperature in the 50s, it was not as inviting. Nevertheless, my friend Terry and I were only too happy to be seated out there, given blankets to bundle up in and to eat we chose their splendid “Delores’ Chicken Pot Pie” named for a late and beloved customer. It was the perfect thing to tuck into on a chilly night. And it reminded me of a wonderful pot pie that’s so easy, you can get it on the table in about an hour. Today, let’s revisit this great weeknight recipe.
Chicken Pot Pie with 3 Startling Ingredients.
Searching for a title this post proved to be quite a challenge. I could have called it as above: Chicken Pot Pie with 3 startling ingredients. Or Chicken and Sausage Pot Pie. Or Chicken Pot Pie with Butternut Squash. But in the end, given how little time it takes to make, I stuck with a really pared down name. It doesn’t do complete justice to this creamy, vegetable-rich, tender chicken and sweet sausage-filled pie. Perhaps I can up the ante by telling you that you use Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets. And I should add that you make the filling in a cast-iron skillet that goes straight from stovetop to the oven which eliminates a lot of clean-up. Finally, you make it with Rotisserie Chicken. And then there’s the matter of the third surprise ingredient…sauerkraut. Yes, sauerkraut in a chicken pot pie.
New ways with a very old favorite.
This Bon Appetit recipe was certainly one of those. It looked wonderful as it sat there in its cast iron skillet with its perfect golden crust. I didn’t follow Rick Martinez’ recipe completely. The sausage was my idea. I like a chicken pot pie filled with meat. There was nearly enough chicken for me. I broke down two Italian sweet sausages in the freezer and added them to my chicken to give it some extra helft and flavor. I opted for cream in the cream sauce instead of milk. ( If you’d like, substitute milk for the cream.) And I opted for Butternut Squash instead of Acorn. I cheated by buying a 12 oz. bag of pre-cut Butternut Squash, about half of which I used.
The Surprise ingredient you don’t tell pickle haters about.
One further piece of advice. Avoid telling any professed pickle hater that you’ve gone and put sauerkraut, which is, after all, chopped cabbage pickled in brine, into anything they’re going to eat. But the Bon Appetit writer, a woman named Elyssa Goldberg, called Sauerkraut her ‘new secret flavoring weapon’ because it ‘adds a little bit of acid and funk’ to the pot pie. I wasn’t sure about the funk but the truth is, it is ¼ cup of sauerkraut which all but disappears into the luscious filling. I wouldn’t leave it out. A jar of the stuff is more than would ever be consumed at our house. But I am fortunate to live right near New York’s Gray’s Papaya, a landmark that sells hot dogs loaded with onions or sauerkraut or both 24 hours a day. They were happy to sell me a small coffee cup filled with sauerkraut for all of $1.00. Please make this, you have no idea what you’re missing if you don’t. Here is the recipe. And after it, a couple of other versions you might enjoy.
Weeknight Chicken Pot Pie
A wonderful take on Chicken Pot Pie with some surprising ingredients. And you can get it on the table in about an hour.
- ½ cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, divided
- 2 cups Rotisserie Chicken, shredded.
- 2 sweet Italian sausages, removed from casing and crumbled
- ¾ medium onion, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more per taste
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more per taste
- ¼ cup sauerkraut
- 6 oz. Butternut Squash cut into ¾-inch pieces
- 1 Cup Heavy Cream
- 1 Package Pepperidge Farm Frozen Puff Pastry, defrosted in the refrigerator so it’s ready to use.
- Step 1 Preheat oven to 450°. Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the sausage, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to brown, 5–6 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl with a slotted spoon. Leave any accumulated liquid in the skillet.
- Step 2 Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in same skillet over medium heat. Cook onion and celery, stirring occasionally and scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pan until vegetables are beginning to soften, 6–8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Step 3 Add sauerkraut and cook until liquid is evaporated, about 1 minute. Add squash and cook, tossing occasionally, until slightly softened, about 5 minutes.
- Step 4 Add the cooked sausage and shredded chicken and any accumulated juices to skillet and sprinkle with 2 Tbsp. flour
- Step 5 Toss to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 1 minute.
- Step 6 Stir in 1 cup cream and 1 cup water and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened to the consistency of heavy cream, about 10 minutes.
- Step 7 For the Pastry Crust. Beat egg yolk and 1 Tbsp. water in a small bowl just to blend.
- Step 8 Place the pastry over the top of the skillet. Trim the excess pastry from the sides.
- Step 9 Cut 4 slits in dough to allow steam to escape and brush with egg wash.
- Step 10 Bake pot pie until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling around the edges, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.