Chicken Pot Pie

I really thought I was lacking the chicken pot pie gene. Gloppy sauce, chunks of rubbery chicken and COOKED CARROTS? Blech. Right?


Unfortunately, that description is fitting for about 90% of frozen (storebought) chicken pot pies. While revolting as far as I'm concerned, my man just happens to love them. It pains me. So I figured if chicken pot pies were going to find their way into my freezer, they may as well have arrived there by my own hand.

By this point, we know that I'm a taste-as-you-go kind of girl. I can't keep my (clean, thank you) hands out of the stuff that I'm cooking - batter, dough, sauce, whatever. I'm making sure the end result will be perfect as I go along. One slurp of this homemade sauce paired with a shred of rotisserie chicken, and I all but forgot about the mushy carrots that would soon join the party.

Oh, and the crust. Cream cheese seems surprising here, but I think it really makes a difference in flakiness. If you are a fan of any of the countless frozen chicken pot pies on the market today, or if you're like me and equate it to institutional slop, please try this.

One more thing: my man declared this the best pot pie he's ever eaten. Now that's the surest sign of a keeper.

Note: this recipe can also be converted into an 8 x 12 baking dish, which was how I prepared it since I only have two crocks.

For the filling, you will need:

3 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 large russett potato, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced (I found a stink bug in my carton of mushrooms. I think my heart stopped for a second).
½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 purchased rotisserie chicken
2 cups frozen peas and carrots
1/4 cup dry sherry (optional)

For the sauce, you will need:

8 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
2½ cups chicken broth
½ cup heavy cream (optional)
Dash of hot sauce
Salt and freshly ground pepper

For the crust, you will need:

16 tbsp. cold unsalted butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
10 oz. cream cheese, chilled
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
1 large egg

To make the filling: melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and potato to the pan, and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add sherry. Mix in the garlic, bell pepper and mushrooms, and cook for about 15 minutes more, until the potatoes are tender. While the vegetables are cooking, remove the skin from the chicken, pull the meat off the bones and shred or chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Once the vegetables are finished cooking, turn off the heat and mix in the chicken and the frozen peas and carrots. Stir in the red pepper flakes, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

To make the sauce:  melt the butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the chicken broth and cook over medium heat until it thickens to the consistency of a cream soup. Mix in the cream (if using), the hot sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the cream sauce over the chicken and veggie mixture and stir to combine well. Spoon the mixture into 6-8 individual oven-safe dishes (such as ramekins/crocks), or scrape the entire mixture into an 8x12 glass baking dish. Preheat the oven to 375° F.

To make the crust: cut the butter into 16 pieces. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse the butter and flour until crumbly. Add the cream cheese, salt and pepper. Continue pulsing just until the dough forms a ball. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough out to about ¼-inch thickness. Cut out dough rounds to be about 1½ inches larger than the diameter of your pot pie dish/es. Lay the dough  on top of the dishe/s. Beat the egg with a whisk, and brush the tops of the dough  lightly with the beaten egg. If your crust splits like mine did, just pinch it together as best you can.

Place in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

Adapted from Annie's Eats.

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