April 1, 2014

Chicken Pot Pie

It's a funny thing. I have so much more to say about food than I do about books. Maybe I need to re-approach the way I talk about my books -- to get back to telling stories about how the books make me feel, as opposed to the half baked non-reviews I usually slap down about the books I'm 'reviewing'.

But I think food is just so interesting. I love reading books about food. Food memoirs are my favorite thing.  I read cookbooks overandover again, like novels. I've told you this overandover as well. I'm officially on repeat mode on this here bloggy!

I've mentioned before about my great love for comfort food. I think everyone loves comfort food, that's why there are like, COMFORT FOOD COOKBOOKS out the wazoo.

But I have special love for chicken pot pie, largely because I have had some really bad ones. I don't like bad chicken pie.

Bad chicken pie is nasty, and dry, and has big chunks of chicken. I don't want a chunky piece, I want nicely shredded little pieces. 

Do you know the movie 'Chicken Run'????? Brilliant movie! About chickens trying to flee a chicken yard before they are turned into chicken pie. "BUT I DON'T WANT TO BE A PIE!!!" said in an English grandma-ish voice.

Let's all say it together! "BUT I DON'T WANT TO BE A PIE!!!!!"

I've adapted this recipe from one of my great great cookbook loves, the 'Crabtree & Evelyn Cookbook', which is available used, and such fun and so pretty, and so ENGLISH, and I've had it since I was 19, and it is one of my great great great favorites, and my fav cookbook man, Nigel Slater, did the food styling in it, way back in the day.

(please note I just made an entire paragraph out of one sentence.)

I made some changes, based on convenience, so I'm going to give you my changed recipe. If you want the exact recipe, which calls for homemade crust, go scooty-loo and dig up the book, which really I SWEAR is worth digging up.

This recipe looks like it has a lot of steps and ingredients, which it does, but it's not hard at all, and really, so worth making. I promise AND swear.

CHICKEN POT PIE ~ via 'Crabtree & Evelyn Cookbook'

Note from the book: "the chicken and vegetable stew can be assembled, put in its baking dish without the crust, and refrigerated the day before it is needed but should be brought back to room temperature before cooking."

For the crust: I used one sheet of puff pastry, thawed and rolled out just a bit to cover the top of a 2 and one half or 3-quart capacity baking dish, square, oval or round. You will be covering the top of the stew with this puff pastry.

Chicken Pie Filling:

1/2 lb mushrooms (either wild, like the recipe calls for, or just regular, which is what i used -- I just grabbed a box of pre-sliced mushrooms)
1 cup thawed frozen peas
5 to 7 tablespoons butter (yes)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 carrots, thinly sliced
2 leeks, white and pale green parts only, washed and thinly sliced. (instead, i used one small shallot and a scant half onion, which is all I had on hand)
about 3 and maybe a half cups cooked shredded chicken -- I used the remains of a rotisserie chicken. (the original recipe calls for 1 and 1/2 lbs chicken thighs, boned and skinned and cooked in the skillet after the veggies are cooked, in a bit of butter and oil and salt/pepper for 10-15 minutes until almost cooked through, and then cut up)
3 tablespoons flour
1 and 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 and 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon, or 1 and 1/2 teaspoons dried
1 large egg yolk


Thaw puff pastry sheet, about 1 hour. Let thaw another 30 min or so more during stew cooking process.

In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon oil. Add mushrooms and cook over med-high heat until soft and light brown, about 5 min, stirring often. Remove and place in baking dish.

Melt 4 T. butter and 2 T. oil in same skillet, add carrots and onions (or leeks). Cover and cook over low heat for 10 min, stirring once or twice. Remove veggies with slotted spoon and place in baking dish. Add shredded chicken to baking dish.

About 2 tablespoons of fat should still be in the skillet. If not, add 2 T. butter. Stir flour into fat and cook over med-high heat with wooden spoon, about 2 minutes. Gradually stir in stock and cream, stirring constantly ~ bring to a boil, and then turn down to low and simmer for about 5 minutes, until sauce is smooth and thick.

Pour sauce into baking dish and stir gently to blend with other ingredients. Add and stir in herbs. Taste and season with salt/pepper, to taste (is using salty stock, might not need much extra salt).

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Roll out puff pastry on floured surface or tea towel until it covers baking dish. It won't need much rolling. Place over filling and press down the edges to make a little border. Cut a few steam slashes. Beat egg yolk with 2 teaspoons water and brush over pastry top to make a glaze.

Place pie in oven and reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake for 40-50 minutes, until crust is rich golden brown. Serve hot. ~ 6 servings.



  1. O wow. I'm drooling. How beautiful.

    You've also left me with the desire to rent that movie. It's been way too long since I've seen it.


      (eventually I'll get tired of saying this sometime, maybe) :)

  2. That looks delicious! However, I can't get the thought that it tastes like pear soap because it came from Crabtree and Evelyn! I will make it though, and prove to Kurt there are excellent chicken pot pies! Thanks!

    1. HA HA HA! It does not taste or smell like pear. Or goat milk. or coastal breeze.

      can we take a minute to geek out about Crabtree & Evelyn? What does it say about me, that as a 19-20 year old girl.......C&E was my favorite store IN THE UNIVERSE. if i could have lived in a C&E biscuit tin and worn nothing but smock pinafores my whole life, I would have been a happy camper.

    2. I think that goes hand in hand with Laura Ashley! OMG. I always walked wistfully (and broke) into the Laura Ashley store here in LA in the late 80s/early 90s, just waiting for the day I could afford to buy whichever dress I wanted!

    3. YES IT DOES. I was equally obsessed with Laura Ashley. Totally. Absolutely. I wore them for yrs and yrs. Do you know they have UK based blog?? It's cool!


  3. Oh wow... that looks incredible! I'm the only one in my family who loves chicken pot pie (sad, I know). I love the idea of using shredding chicken instead of chicken chunks. Yum!

    1. NO CHUNKS! chunks are nasty. i actually made the recipe once, exactly as written in the book, and I was like, oh this is good and all.......except for the CHUNKY MEAT. (i had cut the thighs into chunks)

  4. my kiddo and husband gave approval as well, and Andrew is not a big chicken fan ("the blandest of meats"). The seasonings are fairly mild, which small kids may appreciate. If stronger flavor is desired, I would double the tarragon and crank on more pepper. But I kinda liked the creamy mildness. :)

  5. Being a vegetarian, I'll pass it on to the husband. He can always use a good chicken pot pie recipe. ;)

    1. you could totally make this just veggie! just add a few more cups of veggies! use the same sauce and seasonings!

  6. I am so trying this recipe! I love chicken pot pie but the frozen ones are disappointing. Oh I do remember the "Chicken Run" movie. Hilarious! Kids loved it too but they still like to eat chicken nuggets after that.

    1. we saw the movie a couple yrs ago and it all kind of went over julia's head -- i think if she saw it again now, she'd go vegetarian!