Everyone has a favorite comfort food and mine is chicken pot pie. Far from pretentious, chicken pot pie is belly-warming and plate-scraping good. While frozen pot pies more often find their way to our table on busy weeknights, nothing is better than one made from scratch.
My recipe for chicken pot pie is very similar to a traditional pot pie recipe, but with a slight twist. I like to add dried shiitake mushrooms. These dried mushrooms, which can be found at most grocery stores and Asian markets, are rehydrated in the chicken stock giving the pie a little “oomph” in the flavor department.
While some recipes call for using cooked chicken breasts, I prefer to make the dish using the leftovers from a roasted chicken. My husband and I will eat half a roasted chicken for dinner one night and then I pick the meat off the bones and either freeze or refrigerate it for later use in a chicken pot pie. I love the mixture of dark and white meat and frankly, it’s just plain economical. Leftover turkey could also be substituted making a great meal for the Thanksgiving holidays.
While store-bought frozen pie dough would be an easy substitute for the pastry dough called for in this recipe, you have to try to make your own crust just once. The crispy, buttery, flaky crust that comes from homemade pastry dough is second to none. Big results are achieved with just a little extra effort! Give it a try. You’ll be amazed at the difference.
And finally, while you might think that chicken pot pie is strictly for family meals, it can be elevated to company-status with just one extra step. Simply roll out any excess pastry dough and using a cookie cutter, cut out the dough in the decorative shape of your choice. Place it on the crust and your homey meal just went high-class.
Chicken Pot Pie
1 lb cooked chicken, chopped or torn into pieces
1 quart chicken stock
1 lb red potatoes, roughly cut into 1/2″ cubes
4 small carrots, sliced in 1/4″ slices
2 large celery stalks, sliced in 1/4″ slices
5 dried shiitake mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 onion, chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons minced parsley
2 teaspoons minced sage
2 teaspoons minced thyme
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 recipe pastry dough (recipe follows)
Egg wash (lightly beaten egg with a little water)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and set a baking sheet on the middle rack.
In a medium saucepan, bring chicken stock to a boil. Add potatoes, carrots, and celery to the stock and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 12-15 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and using a slotted spoon, remove the vegetables from the stock and set aside in a large bowl. You should have about 3 cups of stock remaining in the saucepan. If you have additional stock, remove the extra and set aside for use in another recipe.
Add the dried shiitake mushrooms to the hot chicken stock and allow to soak.
Meanwhile, melt butter in another medium saucepan. Once melted, add onions and cook until soft about 6 minutes over medium heat. Add flour to the onions and butter and cook for two minutes, stirring constantly, to make a thick roux. Whisking constantly, slowly add the chicken stock with mushrooms to the roux and onions. Continuing to whisk the mixture, bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and let simmer for about 5 minutes until the sauce is very thick. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the minced herbs. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Pour the sauce over the vegetables and add the chicken. Stir to coat everything with the sauce and then pour the entire mixture into a shallow 2-quart baking dish. Set aside.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry dough to a 1/4″ thickness in the shape of a rectangle. Fold the dough gently, or use your rolling pin, to transfer the dough from the countertop to the 2 quart baking dish with your filling. Cover the filling and press dough down along the edges of the casserole dish. Trim the edges, but do not worry if the dough goes over the edge.
If desired, use the excess pastry dough to cut out decorative shapes for the top of the pie. Brush the dough with the egg wash and place the casserole dish on the baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes or until filling is bubbling and the top is nicely browned. If filling is bubbling, but the top is not as brown as you would like it, turn on the broiler for a minute or two, but watch your pie closely to avoid burning!
Once baked remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.
Pastry Dough for Chicken Pot Pie
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
5 tablespoons ice water
In a large bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Using a fork or pastry blender cut butter and shortening into the flour mixture until the fat is in small lumps. Sprinkle with ice water and using a fork pull mixture together. If mixture is not holding together, add up to 1 more tablespoon of water.
Dump dough out on the counter and, working quickly, mold into a large ball. Press into a 5” disc then wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least thirty minutes and up to one day.