Thursday, July 17, 2014

Chicken Pot Pie

Okay, for once I'm gonna shut up about other random stuff and just talk about food. FOOOOOOD. Like 

THIS.


CHICKEN.


POT.


PIE. 


It's true that you'll find thousands of chicken pot pie recipes out there on the internet and in every self-respecting cookbook, but this, my friends, is a pot pie to be reckoned with. This past Christmas, when our family was holed up in a cabin in chilly Show Low, AZ (yes, it does get chilly and even snow in parts of Arizona) I decided we were allowed to indulge in comfort food galore. Over the three days of our stay, we had creamy ham and potato chowder with homemade biscuits, herbed turkey meatballs with cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes, and this chicken pot pie. (I guess you're a pretty dyed-in-the-wool foodie when you remember every meal you ate on a trip seven months later.) It was an interesting challenge to make do with whatever was on hand in an unfamiliar kitchen, as well as shop at unfamiliar stores. (An aside: if you ever want to feel truly sad for humanity, go to Wal-Mart at 5pm Christmas Eve.) In the spirit of making do, I cobbled together parts of several existing recipes for chicken pot pie I found online and ended up with this version. Despite having to use a temperamental gas stove, an old-fashioned temperature-dial oven, and haphazard kitchen tools, it came out like the pot pie of my dreams. Flaky crust, rich herbed gravy, sautéed vegetables with just a hint of caramelization, and of course chicken combined for comfort food heaven.

I do realize that it is July now--not exactly pot pie season--but comfort food (and the need for it) takes no summer breaks. Sometimes you just crave something savory, warm, and gooey. For those days, this is the ticket.

Chicken Pot Pie
(A Love Letter to Food original recipe)

Ingredients:

2 9-inch unbaked pie crusts
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large Russet or sweet potato, peeled and diced 1/4 inch thick
1 c. carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 small/medium onion, diced
1/3 c. butter
1/3 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
3/4 tsp. dried ground thyme
1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
1 1/2 c. chicken broth (homemade if possible!)
1 1/2 c. shredded cooked chicken
salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add potato and sauté about 5 minutes. Add carrots, celery, and onion and cook another 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are soft and carrots and onions just begin to brown. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add flour and whisk to combine. Add salt, pepper, thyme, and rosemary and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Slowly add chicken broth. Increase heat to medium and continue to whisk/stir constantly until sauce becomes thick. (The whisk should leave a very defined trail in the sauce when it's thick enough.) Remove from heat. Add chicken and vegetables to sauce and stir to combine. 

4. Place 1 pie crust in pie dish. Pour hot chicken-vegetable mixture in, smoothing the top. Cover with second pie crust and seal the edges. Cut slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape.

5. Bake in preheated oven 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Makes one 9-inch pie. 

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