Mom was a busy obstetrics nurse and sometimes found herself having to work late. To make sure we could feed ourselves on those days when she was running behind, Mom stocked the freezer with individual frozen potpies. I could barely wait for the timer to buzz to let me know that mine was ready. I remember poking a hole in the top of the hot crust with my spoon, smelling the rich aromas, and eating every bite of the tender chicken and vegetables blanketed in a velvety cream sauce. If you don’t have time to roast a chicken, pick up an already-cooked rotisserie one at your market.
Makes6 to 8 servings
Total Timeunder 4 hours
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together
Recipe Coursemain course
Dietary Considerationpeanut free, soy free, tree nut free
Taste and Texturebuttery, crisp, meaty, savory
Type of Dishsavory/pot pie
- 2½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Pinch of sugar
- ½ cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very cold and cubed
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 cups chopped carrots
- 1 leek, well rinsed and coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 3-pound whole chicken
- 4 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
- 6 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup ½-inch sliced carrots
- 2 small onions, chopped
- 1 cup quartered button mushrooms
- ¼ cup sliced shiitake mushrooms (stems discarded)
- 1 cup fresh or frozen peas, thawed if frozen
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
- ¾ cup all purpose flour
- Leaves from 4 fresh thyme sprigs, chopped
- Leaves from 2 fresh rosemary sprigs, chopped
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
To make the pie dough, put the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 3 or 4 times to mix. Add the butter and pulse 6 to 8 times until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ¼ cup ice water, pulsing just until the dough holds together. Remove the dough, divide it into 2 equal-size balls, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
To make the chicken, toss the onion, carrots, and leek with the olive oil on an aluminum foil–lined baking sheet. Roast for about 30 minutes, until golden and tender.
Transfer the vegetables to a Dutch oven. Add the chicken, celery, thyme, white wine, salt, and peppercorns. Add 8 cups water, enough to cover the chicken completely. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour, until the chicken is tender when pierced with a fork.
Remove the chicken from the pot. When it is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones and shred it, discarding the skin and bones. Strain the broth through a colander into a large pot and discard the solids. Stir the tomato paste into the broth and simmer over medium heat until the mixture has reduced to 6 cups, about 40 minutes.
To make the filling, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the carrots and onions and sauté until they begin to soften, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the button and shiitake mushrooms and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the peas and cook for 1 minute. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl.
In the same skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Whisk in the thyme, rosemary, and the reserved broth. Add the shredded chicken and the vegetable mixture and bring to a simmer until the filling thickens, 5 to 8 minutes.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 ball of dough into an 11 x 15 rectangle. Place the dough in the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. (The dough should come up the sides of the dish.) Spread the chicken mixture over the dough. Roll out the remaining ball of dough into a 13- inch round. Place the dough on top of the chicken mixture. Using a fork or your fingers, pinch the edges to seal. Cut a 1-inch slit in the center of the crust to allow steam to escape. Brush the top crust with the beaten egg.
Place the potpie on a baking sheet and bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling, about 45 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before serving.
2012 David Venable