Weekend Project: Extremely Lazy, Insanely Delicious Chicken Pot Pie
“If chicken soup is for the soul, this pot pie is for the sentient being.”
If chicken soup is for the soul, this pot pie is for the sentient being. Its texture and body are frankly, a wonderland. That said, credit is given where credit is due, so to be completely upfront, you should know that this is my personal adaptation of a Pillsbury recipe. The little Dough Boy himself figured it out, and if it ain’t broke... et cetera. I’ve only over-complicated it a bit, but for good reason.
The reality is, pie dough is actually very simple. It’s like, four ingredients. But a proper dough for crust takes a bit of time and makes a bit of a mess. Plus, to get the flakes right you’ve got to work in frozen butter, and that’s a whole vibe that I don’t always want to get into, especially considering how often I make this recipe... The reason I like using frozen ones here is because they are perfectly delicious, perfectly convenient, and perfectly fool-proof.
Since you’ll be using a frozen crust, you are especially capable of heating up some extra veggies. Adding cremini mushrooms provides a savory backbone to the porridge-like filling, and using fresh carrots allows you to better control their texture, as opposed to the classically frozen, mushy ones that most recipes request. Fresh carrots give the pie a needed toothsome bite, but I also like using them for aesthetics. The rainbow variety in place of just the classic orange hue perks up the presentation, and with a dish as simple and homey as this, flair can be a good thing. Frozen peas however, are perfect as they are, so please use those.
Also, using freshly picked herbs resonates well with mushrooms, and brings some levity to the filling of the dish, as it can be a bit stodgy; a stick to your gut kinda thing. While I am a fan of the foods that stick, the freshness of the parsley, thyme, and rosemary are needed, and lend a bit more color to the otherwise gluey looking mush.
Generally speaking, my biggest fear with chicken pot pie is that the finished product will be a creamy, too-loose mess. To avoid this, make sure as you move from the roux stage to the milk and broth stage, your mixture stays fairly thick. The vegetables and shredded meat will of course add body, and by that point, your spoon should be able to stick upright in the filling. This is not only desirable for a better mouthfeel, but also as you slice into your pie, it will hold its shape well, as opposed to looking like a cream soup with a golden-brown lid. Some people like that in a chicken pot pie, and if that someone is you, you will want to add a touch more milk and stock than the recipe calls for to reach your desired chicken pie viscosity.
You’re almost there! Whisk an egg for a wash and with tenderness, coat the top crust paying special attention to the edges. This will create a beautiful browning effect. All that’s left is to vent your top crust to let the heat out and avoid any potential side seeping. (Please note, the “top crust” is just another bottom pie shell that you will gracefully remove from its tin and crimp together with its matching counterpart. Why frozen crusts are always packaged this way as opposed to a top with a bottom, is beyond me. You’ll have to take that up with the pudgy little man made of dough.) Now, bake your baby. About 30 minutes in the oven and, huzzah - you have an entire pie for yourself! Or whatever...
- 1 box frozen pie crust (two crusts)
- 1 egg, whisked for wash
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ⅓ cup butter
- ⅓ cup chopped onion
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup milk
- 1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms
- ½ cup chopped carrot
- ½ cup frozen peas, thawed
- 1 ¾ cups chicken broth
- 2 ½ cups cooked and shredded chicken
- Salt and pepper to taste, about ½ and ¼ teaspoon respectively
- Fresh picked thyme leaves, three sprigs worth
- Fresh picked rosemary leaves, one sprig worth, rough chop
- Fresh picked parsley, about ¼ cup, rough chop
1. Preheat oven to 425 F and follow thawing directions of frozen crust packaging.
2. In a pan, add oil and sweat onions until translucent. Add chopped carrots and cook for about 5 minutes, until somewhat tender, but still firm, then add sliced mushrooms, rosemary and thyme to the pan and cook for another 8 minutes, turning over to get an even cook. Once finished, turn off heat.
3. In a separate medium - large pot add butter until melted, then flour to create your roux (a paste-like mixture). Add salt and pepper, and gradually stir in the milk, then the broth and stir until bubbly and thickened.
4. Stir in the chicken, cooked carrots and mushrooms, thawed peas, and parsley until the filling appears consistent throughout. Remove from heat, and add mixture to your bottom crust.
5. Using the remaining frozen bottom crust, carefully remove from its tin and place on top of your filled pie. Crimp top and bottom edges together and vent the top with a few holes by slicing with a knife, about ½ inch wide.
6. Beat egg for the wash, and gently glaze the top of the pie. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes or until golden brown. During the last 15 - 20 minutes of bake time, cover pie with foil to avoid burning the edges. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.