Thursday, January 12, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie

A few years ago, a niece lived with us for awhile and she would take turns doing some of the cooking.  She made this recipe for us one night and it has been a family staple ever since.  We all love this recipe and it is relatively easy to make and can be done quite quickly.  It sure beats those frozen pot pies you buy in the store.  And it's just good comfort food, especially on a cold winter night, or any night for that matter.  We enjoy this one year round...

Chicken Pot Pie

Cooked, chopped up chicken (whatever you feel is necessary)
1/3 cup butter or margarine
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
1 small potato, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup flour
1 cup half and half
2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Pie crust (homemade or 1/2 of a 15 oz pkg refrigerated piecrusts)

Melt butter in a large skillet.  Add onion, celery, carrots, potato, and peas.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until veggies are tender.  Add flour, stirring until smooth.  Gradually add broth and half and half, cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbly.  Stir in chopped chicken, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper.  Pour into a 9x13 baking dish.  Set aside.

Roll out pie crust and place over filling.  Fold edges under and crimp.  Cut slits in top to allow steam to escape.

Bake at 400 F for 30 minutes or until golden brown, covering edges with aluminum foil after 20 minutes to prevent excess browning, if necessary.

Super Easy Pie Crust Recipe
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup shortening
4 to 5 tbsp cold water

In a medium bowl, stir together flour and salt.  Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until pieces are pea-size.  Sprinkle 1 tbsp of the water over part of the flour mixture; gently toss with a fork.  Push moistened dough to the side of the bowl.  Repeat moistening flour mixture, using 1 tbsp of the water at a time, until all the flour mixture is moistened.  Form dough into a ball.  On a lightly floured surface, use your hands to slightly flatten dough.  Roll dough from center to edges to the desired shape.  To transfer the dough, wrap it around the rolling pin and unroll it over the surface to be covered.


Now for the deets:  the real recipe calls for boiling a whole chicken and reserving the broth and yada yada yada.  I like to keep some already cooked, chopped up chicken packaged away in my freezer to pull out on a night when I want to make something like this so I can skip the boiling and picking apart and all that nastiness.  But to each his own.  With that in mind, I skip right to the melting of the butter and the adding of the chopped veggies shown here:

I will often stick a lid on my skillet, turn the heat down to medium-ish, and while it is working its magic, I mix up my pie dough.  Don't completely forget about the veggies - they will still need a stir here and there to keep them from scorching but they'll be okay if you divide your attention somewhat.  Now I did title the pie dough recipe as super easy because it is.  It is not, however, no fail.  I have managed to make it fail.  Do not add more shortening than it calls for - big mistake.  And don't overdo it on the water - 1 tbsp at a time is good advice.  Once it gets to the point where you think to yourself, boy, I bet if I grabbed that with my hands and started smooshing it, it would come together nicely, then by all means, stop adding water.  Not that I'm speaking from experience or anything - purely hypothetical...
Here's a picture of using the pastry blender to cut in the shortening
 And here's about what it should look like by the time it's ready to move on...
 And here is a nice round ball of pie dough that is ready to roll.
 At this point, I forgot to take pictures of the rest of the steps but needless to say they are not tricky or difficult.  Add the flour to your veggie mixture and give it a quick stir through.  Then add in a can of broth (one will do it but I often add just a little bit of water into the can, swish it around, and toss that in too) and your half and half.  I have been at this point before when I realized I did not have half and half - surprise!  Regular old milk works just fine too and you can't tell the difference (well, maybe if you were using that skim stuff you'd notice).  Actually tonight is one of those times when I realized that I did not have the required stuff.  I found a carton of heavy whipping cream in the fridge and used that instead, the whole pint as well which is twice as much as it calls for.  This recipe is very forgiving and can be increased or decreased to suit your needs or tastes.  But the pie with the cream was super delicious, not going to lie... 
But I digress...  So cook your creamy mixture till it thickens a tad and starts to bubble.  Then toss in your chopped chicken (tonight the family got some leftover Christmas turkey tossed into the pie instead of chicken - it was just as good) and whatever you do, don't forget the salt and pepper, not that you can't make up for that later but it will be perfect if you remember it here.  Let that heat through for just a minute and then pour it into your baking dish.  I like the 9x13 size but you can use smaller if you desire and haven't added twice as much of everything like I usually do.  A caveat here on the crust:  this recipe doesn't call for a bottom crust but you could double the pie crust recipe and put one in there before pouring in the mixture.  You may need to cook it just a bit longer to make sure that bottom one gets cooked through.  Once the mixture is in there, you can lay your top crust over the top, fold the edges over and crimp around the sides.  Be sure to cut some slits in the crust to vent so it doesn't bubble up in a crazy way.  The tradition in our family is to make the slits say something.  The kids love to see the final product on the table and read the message.  Here is a picture of the one we made when Dad requested this meal for his Father's Day meal:
 And here is a picture of how I go about covering the edges so they don't overbrown but this step isn't always necessary.  Peek in there after about 20 minutes of cooking and use your judgment as to whether it will be necessary or not.
 Happy eating!


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5 comments:

Charissa said...

This was good when you fed it to me that one time! Yum!

The Southern Product Queen said...

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Heidi said...

Oooohhh I love chicken pot pie...I must try this recipe soon!! I need to come up and visit so I can have some of your amazing cooking!!!! And of course to see you guys!! =)

tiffunny said...

Yes I need to try this too since my hubby loves Marie Calendar pot pies from the freezer. Anything you give the stamp of approval to is always yummy!

Alison @ Oopsey Daisy said...

YUM!! This is a favorite recipe in our family, too!

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