Its kind of fun living in New Jersey and being snowed in all winter long. Shoveling snow burns lots of calories so you can bake brownies and drink extra wine and cook comfort food. Even if you’re not suffering through this east coast winter, you can’t go wrong making good old-fashioned chicken pot pie. This version gets a lift with Parmesan cheese baked right into the crust, a natural compliment to the hearty chicken and veggies lying beneath. Chicken pot pie from scratch is a process but SHC walks you through in three easy steps with results that’ll keep you comfy all winter long.
Making crust is art: Whether it’s a savory pot pie or a fruit pie, the secret to a really good butter crust starts with really cold butter. The cold butter then tenderly mixes with the flour (and other dry ingredients) until it just holds together. Too much mixing will yield a tough crust and therein lies the art. Trust your light touch and home cooks instincts and in a matter of minutes you’ll be on your way to a flaky crust.
Making sauce is science: Making white sauce is one of the great foundations of cooking. It basically involves three ingredients: butter, flour and milk that are transformed when cooked together. The flour and butter are cooked first until they become one, then milk is added to make the sauce. It’s easy, it’s quick and you probably already have the ingredients so you can make all kinds of saucy things!
Creative Pot Pie: You heard it here first: Buffalo chicken pot pie: swap Parmesan for blue cheese in the crust. Stir 1-2 tablespoons buffalo wing or hot sauce into the finished sauce. Skip all the veggies except celery and onions. Chicken mac & cheese pot pie: swap Parmesan for Cheddar in the crust. Add more Cheddar (1 cup) into the finished sauce. Swap veggies for 1 cup cooked macaroni (and a salad on the side).
- 1¼ cups flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut up
- 3-4 tablespoons cold water
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken (dark, white or combo), cubed
- 14 ounce can chicken broth
- 1-tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 small head of broccoli florets
- Few thyme sprigs
- 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
- ½ cup flour
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- Crust: In a food processor mix flour, salt and ¼ cup Parmesan. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add cold water one tablespoon at a time until it looks like dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times. Shape into a disc and refrigerate while you make the filling.
- Filling: Step 1 (cook chicken) In a medium saucepan; poach the chicken in the chicken broth. Remove the chicken to a medium bowl and set aside the broth. Step 2 (cook veggies) In a medium skillet sauté onion, carrots and broccoli and thyme in olive oil until soft, 10 minutes. Add to poached chicken. Step 3 (make sauce) In a medium saucepan; melt butter, then whisk in flour and cook for about 1 minute until it no longer seems “raw”. Whisk in milk a little at a time followed by reserved chicken broth. The sauce will thicken as the liquid is added. Pour over chicken and veggies, then, gently toss.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place filling into a 2½ quart round baking dish or a 9x9-inch square one. Roll out crust to slightly larger than the size of the dish and place on top leaving a sloppy overhang on the edges (this makes it look homemade and the edges get crispy and delicious!) Sprinkle remaining ¼ cup of Parmesan on top. Bake 30 minutes until crust is golden and edges are bubbly.