Chicken Pot Pie – the king of comfort food. I love comfort food. The aroma as you burst through the pasty crust…heavenly. The velvety sauce mixed with vegetables and plump pieces of chicken…aaaahhh. I admit that I even loved those little frozen Swanson chicken pot pies back in the 60’s. I can assure you, though, this recipe is a zillion times better.
Here are a few pluses and minuses for this recipe:
On the minus side, it has multiple steps and takes a couple of hours from start to finish. And, it is definitely not low calorie.
On the plus (plus, plus) side:
- You can take several shortcuts (see below) that cut the time in half and still produce a really, really good pot pie. I’ve used these shortcuts many times with great success;
- The recipe can be made ahead the day before (or even months ahead if you freeze it), making it ideal for a no-fuss weeknight meal or a dinner party with no last minute stress;
- Pot Pies are versatile– use only one or two vegetables or replace the ones in the recipe with ones you like better; and
- You can make the recipe totally vegetarian;
Considering all that and the sheer scrumptious-ness of this dish, it’s definitely worth the effort in my opinion. Come to think of it, it’s not just my opinion. I adapted this recipe from Ina Garten’s Chicken Pot Pie which got 4.9* (out of 5) from over 1000 reviews. Ina Garten is one of my favourite chefs.
- to freeze, wrap the chicken pot pies in aluminum foil and then in plastic wrap. Bake, from frozen, after brushing with egg wash, at 375F for an hour. *** If you plan to freeze the pot pies, do not use boiling potatoes. Either eliminate potatoes completely or use red or ‘new’ potatoes which hold up in the freezer much better.
- if using the next day, cover the pot pies with aluminum foil. Remove from fridge, brush with egg wash then bake at 375F for an hour.
- Instead of roasting the chicken: use left over chicken; chicken from a soup you just made; or BUY 1-2 rotisserie chickens (2 if you only want to use breast mean). I do the latter all the time and it’s perfect.
- Instead of making the pastry crust, BUY puff pastry dough sheets, unfold and cut to size as needed. This crust is delicious! buttery and flaky. You can also BUY ready-made refrigerated pastry dough. If you can’t find this in the store, you can use the ready made refrigerated pie shells. Just roll out flat and cut to size.
- Reduce the preparation time by using just chicken and frozen peas or chicken and one other vegetable.
- Make vegetarian pot pies, using vegetable or mushroom broth and vegetable bouillion cubes, omitting the chicken
- Alter the vegetables. Try butternut squash, mushrooms, pearl onions, cauliflower, sugar snap peas, etc.
- Instead of individual bowls (onion soup bowls or oven-proof soup bowls), use a 3 quart casserole dish.