Friday, April 30, 2010

Homemade Chicken Pot Pie

I have to be honest. Homemade chicken pot pie is really the driving force that made me want to start blogging. You tell people that you're having delicious chicken pot pie for dinner, and they "ooh" and "aah" and say you're fab and very Martha-like.

But really, what's so incredible about going home, pulling a pot pie out of the freezer, and popping it in the oven for an hour? One hour, and you've got this waiting for you.

And this. Oh baby.

If you have a couple of hours one weekend to make these, you're in for about 10 scrumptious, individually-packaged servings of chicken pot pie. Just a few simple ingredients will get you there. I got the original recipe from my parents, but I'm not sure where it originated. 

Try making these. You're going to impress the pants off of yourself...I know it.

Chicken Pot Pie (makes 9-10 individual pot pies)

Approx. 3 lbs. whole or split chicken breast (on bone w/skin)
Olive oil for rubbing chicken
Salt/pepper to season chicken
2/3 cup butter (about 10 tbsp.)
1 cup onion, chopped
2 cups carrots, chopped
2 cups celery, chopped
2 small potatoes, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup flour
4 cups good, low-sodium chicken broth, at room temp. (or use homemade)
2 cups half and half*, at room temp.
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 package refrigerated pie crusts
2 tsp. flour

*Don't use fat-free half and half (I've tried it). You need the fat for the roux to work!

Roast the chicken (this can be done up to 2 days ahead of time — just tightly wrap whole, cooked chicken breasts in the fridge until you're ready to use them). To do so, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil and place the chicken breasts on the sheet. Rub the surface of the chicken with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken for 35-40 minutes until it is no longer pink and the internal temp reads 165 degrees (juices should be clear). Cooking time will vary based on how large your chicken pieces are, so keep an eye on them. Remove chicken from oven, cover with foil, and let sit for about 10 minutes. When chicken is cool enough to handle, skin and cut chicken off of the bone and chop into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven. Add chopped onion, carrots, celery, potatoes, and peas. Cook over medium heat until carrots are tender — about 10 minutes. Be sure you don't have the heat too high — you want to sweat the veggies, not brown them. 

Add the flour and stir until smooth and evenly distributed, about 30 seconds. Gradually add the chicken broth and half and half, and cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly. Congrats — you've just made yourself a roux. Next stir in the chopped chicken, salt, and pepper.

Pour the mixture into your dishes (I like to use small loaf pan aluminum tins for can use anything that is oven-safe though). Sprinkle your counter with flour, and unfold the pie crusts onto it. With a rolling pin, give it a quick roll to spread out the dough a bit. Cut pieces of pie crust the size of your dish, and place it over the chicken mixture. Cut slits in the top for ventilation while they're cooking.

Here's where you can go one of two ways. If you're freezing your pot pies, cover each one with foil and stick 'em (carefully!) in the freezer. When you're ready to cook one, heat your oven to 350 and cook for an hour.

You also have the option to eat the fruits of your labor right away — put it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Whichever route you go, just keep an eye on the crust to make sure it doesn't get too brown. You want the mixture to be bubbling and the crust to be nice and golden.

Now that's what a freezer should look like. See, frozen dinners don't have to mean sodium, fat, and preservatives.

Click here for a printable recipe!

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