Categories: Recipes

by leslie@mindstorm.ca

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Categories: Recipes

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Chicken pot pie recipe

From The Book “Puff” By Martha Holmberg, Photographs By Ngoc Minh Ngo

Serves 4 to 6

Though we all have fond childhood memories of frozen chicken potpie (well, I do anyway), white-meat chicken in a pasty white sauce isn’t all that appealing to grown-ups. This version brings the true rich, savory flavor of roast chicken to a potpie. I use chicken legs or thighs here because dark meat has indisputably more flavor than breast meat, and the moist texture is perfect in a sauce. I call for a mix of “spring” vegetables, but use what feels seasonal: mushrooms in fall, mixed root vegetables in winter, squash and peppers in summer. This recipe uses a neat trick to avoid the potpie pitfall of underdone pastry in the middle of the pie: cutting the pastry to the size of the dish, baking it separately until almost finished, then transferring it to the chicken stew in the potpie dish to finish cooking, which marries the crust to the sauce without sogginess.

2 1/4 pounds chicken thighs or whole legs

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth 3 medium carrots (about 7 ounces total), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice, to yield about 1 cup

12 ounces asparagus (about 18 spears), woody ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoon chicken fat or unsalted butter

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons chopped mixed fresh tender herbs (I like a mix of parsley, dill, and chives)

1/2 teaspoon lightly packed finely grated lemon zest

Fresh lemon juice, to taste

1 sheet (about 9 ounces) frozen puff pastry, thawed

1 cup fresh or frozen peas (no need to thaw)

Heavy cream for brushing the pastry (optional)

2 tablespoons freshly and finely grated Parmesan cheese, for dusting the pastry (optional)

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper and arrange in a single layer in a heavy flameproof pan, such as a large skillet or small roasting pan. Roast the chicken until tender and the juices run clear, or it registers 175 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, about 45 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and let it cool until you can handle it easily. Pour all the fat from the pan into a small bowl. Do not rinse out the pan; the cooked-on juices will be part of the sauce.

Meanwhile, put the broth in a medium saucepan and bring it to a boil. Add the carrots and cook until just barely tender, about 3 minutes. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the asparagus to the boiling broth and cook for about 30 seconds; scoop out and add to the carrots. Set aside the vegetables and the broth.

When the chicken has cooled, pull off the skin (it should be nice and crisp, so enjoy a piece as a snack), cut off the meat, and cut into small pieces. Add to the vegetables.

Put the roasting pan over medium heat and add back about 2 tablespoons of the chicken fat (if you don’t have enough, use butter). Add the flour and whisk to make a smooth paste, called a roux.

Cook the roux for about 1 minute, whisking constantly, then slowly whisk in the broth to create a smooth sauce. Cook the sauce, whisking frequently, until it’s reduced to about 3 cups, is very smooth, and has the consistency of thick gravy, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the herbs, lemon zest, lemon juice, and a generous amount of pepper; it will probably be plenty salty, but if not, add more salt.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. On a lightly floured counter, roll the pastry to the size and shape of the top of your baking dish (at least 1 1/2-quart capacity). Slide the pastry onto a baking sheet and bake until puffed and light brown, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, fold the vegetables, cooked peas and chicken into the sauce, and simmer gently to heat everything through.

When the pastry is ready, scrape the filling into the baking dish, transfer the pastry top to the filling; if you like, brush the top with a little heavy cream and sprinkle with grated Parmesan. Return the potpie to the oven and continue cooking until the filling is hot and the pastry is deep golden brown, another 3 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately.

Do ahead

You can prepare the chicken, vegetables and sauce one day ahead. Refrigerate the sauce separately.

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