Chicken Pot Pie
(American savory chicken stew in pastry)
Chicken pot pie is a hearty American wintertime dish that uses produce in season during the cold months of fall and winter. Classic recipes have the chicken stew encased entirely in flaky pastry. This simpler version uses a tasty biscuit topping instead.
Pot pie is a great way to use up leftover meats and vegetables in your refrigerator. Feel free to individualize to your taste. Use the variations below as your guide.
4 to 6 servings
- Chicken breasts or thighs, boneless, skinless -- 1 1/2 to 2 pounds
- Water -- 4 cups
- Bay leaf -- 1
- Butter or oil -- 1/3 cup
- Onion, diced -- 1
- Carrots, peeled and diced -- 2
- Celery, diced -- 2 ribs
- Flour -- 1/2 cup
- Peas -- 1/2 cup
- Parsley, minced -- 2 tablespoons
- Thyme -- 1 teaspoon
- Salt and pepper -- to taste
- Milk, cream or half and half (optional) -- 1/4 cup
- Flour -- 2 cups
- Baking powder -- 2 teaspoons
- Baking soda -- 1/2 teaspoon
- Salt -- 1 teaspoon
- Thyme -- 1 teaspoon
- Pepper -- 1/2 teaspoon
- Cold butter, cut into small pieces -- 8 tablespoons
- Milk -- 3/4 cup
- Filling: Place the chicken, water and bay leaf in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high flame. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until cooked through and tender. Set aside to cool.
- While the chicken is simmering, heat the butter or oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium flame. Add the onions, carrots and celery and saute until the onions are translucent but not browned, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Sprinkle the 1/2 cup flour into the pot and stir into the onions and carrots, making sure no lumps remain. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Remove chicken from its poaching liquid, reserving the liquid, and shred with your fingers or cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
- Whisk 1 cup of the poaching liquid into the vegetable-flour mixture, taking care to whisk out any lumps. Whisk in the remaining 3 cups of liquid and add the peas, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper.
- Return to medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to low and simmer for another 8 to 10 minutes.
- Stir in the milk, cream or half and half, adjust seasoning and set aside while you prepare the biscuit topping.
- Biscuit Topping: Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl and stir in the thyme and pepper.
- Work the butter into the flour with your fingertips until the flour takes on a texture a little like dry oatmeal. A few large chunks of butter are fine.
- Pour in the milk all at once and stir just enough to moisten all the dry ingredients. Add a little more milk if necessary to make a moist, but not runny, batter. Do not over mix.
- Assembly: Preheat oven to 400°F. Pour the chicken filling into a 2-quart casserole dish with 3- or 4-inch sides.
- Drop spoonsful of the biscuit batter over the top to cover most of the filling.
- Place in the oven and bake until the biscuit topping is browned and the filling is bubbling, 25 to 35 minutes.
Pot Pie Variations
- Filling: Substitute beef or turkey for the chicken if you like. Or increase the amounts of the vegetables and make a vegetable pot pie instead. Just substitute water or vegetable stock for the chicken broth.
- Topping: This recipe uses an easy biscuit dough topping. Try topping with a pie dough or puff pastry instead.
- Vegetables: Substitute or add other vegetables you have in your kitchen. You should have about 3 cups total of vegetables in the end. Root vegetables like rutabagas, turnips and parsnips work particularly well, but potatoes, broccoli, cabbage and green beans are good too.