Teddi is a big fan of comfort food, but she makes sure there are plenty of veggies involved!
A tasty pot pie should consist of a well-balanced mixture of chicken and veggies bathed in a quality sauce or gravy and baked in a good pie crust. The biggest drawback of store-bought pot pies is the imbalance between chicken and vegetables. So often, there will be an abundance of breast meat (with little or no flavorful dark meat) decorated with a light sprinkling of peas and carrots.
This recipe uses five kinds of veggies. I tend to favor root vegetables, but I am not averse to adding (or occasionally substituting) peas and green beans—leftover or newly cooked. Moreover, I rarely pass up an opportunity to add a green or red pepper. I add enough filling that the mixture is usually simply coated with the sauce, not sitting in a pool of sauce. Filling ingredients can be reduced a little for those who would prefer a higher sauce-to-filling ratio.
This recipe uses a basic white sauce made up of melted butter mixed with flour, to which milk and/or cream is added, and which is seasoned with a little salt and pepper. You can add other seasonings and flavors as you choose. More about that later when we go over the sauce recipe in detail. Approximate metric conversions are supplied throughout the recipe.
To make a pot pie, the order things need to be done in is:
- Prepare the dough for the crust.
- Prepare the filling.
- Roll out the dough and put the bottom crust in the pie pan.
- Make the sauce.
- Stir the filling into the sauce.
- Spoon the filling with sauce into the pie pan.
- Cover with the top crust.
- With a fork prick holes in the crust.
- Put the pie in the oven to bake.
If you do not have your own favorite crust recipe or there is no ready-made crust product you like, you can try my trusty pie-crust recipe. After making a pie crust dough, it should go in the refrigerator for at least an hour. One method is to quickly make it up the previous day (or night) and leave it in the refrigerator overnight.
Step 1: Prepare the Filling
Let us turn to preparing the filling. Below, find a list of ingredients. Feel free to adjust proportions of the various ingredients to your own tastes, e.g. a little less chicken and potato, and a little more carrots and onions.
- Two medium-sized potatoes
- Two carrots
- One parsnip
- Six to eight boiling onions or shallots
- A couple of medium-sized peppers
- Cut up enough cooked chicken to fill 2 to 2 ½ cups (480 to 600 milliliters). You can use leftovers or you can cook fresh. If cooking fresh, I tend to use leg quarters or thighs. Generally, two leg quarters or four thighs will do. If cooking up fresh, you can then use that pan in which to make the sauce. Pour off most of the melted fat left behind. Later, add back one tablespoon (15 milliliters) to the sauce as it is being made.
- Cut up the vegetables. Two medium-sized potatoes or enough to make a cup (240 milliliters). Two carrots and one parsnip, enough to fill one cup (240 milliliters). (Or vice versa, two parsnips and one carrot.) Six to eight boiling onion and/or shallots. Parboil them all, but not together. (The carrots and parsnips can go together.) Add about an eighth of a teaspoon of salt (under 1 milliliter, i.e. just a bit) to each. You can use stove or microwave.
- While they are boiling, cut up a couple of medium-sized peppers, enough to fill about one and a half cups (360 milliliters).
- Once the ingredients for the filling are ready set them aside, roll out the bottom crust, place it in the pie pan, then turn to the sauce.
Step 2: Prepare the White Sauce
- 3 tablespoons butter, (45 milliliters)
- 3 tablespoons flour, (45 milliliters)
- 1 cup milk, (240 milliliters)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, (120 milliliters)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, (2 1/2 milliliters)
- 3/8 teaspoon black pepper, (2 milliliters)
- 1/2 teaspoon sage, (2 1/2 milliliters)
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger, (1 1/4 milliliters)
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves, (15 milliliters)
- Optional below
- 1 garlic clove, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon curry, (2 1/2 milliliters)
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, (5 milliliters)
- Or, 1 teaspoon Tabasco Sauce, (5 milliliters)
- 1 or 2 tablespoons bone marrow broth or gelatin from said broth, (15-30 milliliters)
- Or, 1 or 2 tablespoons chicken broth, (15-30 milliliters)
- 1 or 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- Melt butter in a large, 9-inch pan or a Dutch oven. (If using newly cooked chicken rather than leftovers, use that pan. Just drain off excess melted fat and remove large chicken bits before melting the butter. Remember to add back that one tablespoon of melted fat.)
- Add sage, ginger, and, if using it, garlic, to the hot fat and stir it about.
- Next, stir in flour until absorbed.
- Stir in first milk and then cream.
- Add salt, pepper, and oregano leaves.
- At this point, should you wish, add any of the other ingredients from the optional list.
- The thing I most like to add sometimes, if I have some, is the gelatin from a bone marrow broth. (Every once in a while I will make up some bone marrow broth from left over chicken bones and keep it in the refrigerator for use in other recipes.)
Step 3: Add the Filling and Bake
- Once the sauce is made, it is time to stir in the filling, starting with the chicken. Then, one by one, add the vegetables.
- Once the filling is coated with the sauce, spoon or pour it into the pie plate, which has been lined with the crust.
- If the top crust has not been rolled out yet, do so now, and then cover the filling with it. Tuck up and seal the edges. Prick the top of the crust to let out steam.
Step 4: Finish the Pie
- Now pop the pie into the oven, onto a lower shelf. Bake it at 450˚F (235˚C) for about ten minutes. Move the pie to a middle shelf then turn the oven down to 350˚F (175˚C). Bake until done, which usually takes 50 to 60 minutes.
- Take it out and let it cool for a few minutes, then cut and serve. This is a dish that can last for several days in the refrigerator. You could eat a slice cold, but it is better heated up.
© 2018 Teddi DiCanio