For me, when it comes to pot pies, the filling makes the pie. You can use a shortcrust pastry or a puff pastry, or even mashed potatoes - but a pie is as good as the first bite of creamy goodness oozing out of the filling. So I totally don't agree with the use of 'cream of chicken / asparagus / mushroom / whatevers' which come in a can as a base; because they will make the entire pie taste that way - canned. Once you know how easy it is to make a cream based sauce, anything which comes in a jar or those iconic red and white cans - will never be the same.
Chicken Pot Pies
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Bake: 30 minutes
Serves 4 - 6 (2 x 9" pie dish)
Serves 4 - 6 (2 x 9" pie dish)
- 300g chicken fillet
- 500g chicken thighs (bone in) - you can use chicken breasts if you prefer
- 150g of butter, divided into two parts
- 2 potatoes, skinned and diced
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 2 cups frozen vegetables - I use Watties, because they are sweeter!
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 2 tbs cornstarch
- 2 tsp dried mixed herbs
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- 1 pack of puff pastry (4 sheets) - no, I'm too busy to make my own!
1. Dice the chicken fillet and chicken thighs. If you prefer more bite in the filling, cut large cubes, because the chicken will 'shrink' when it's cooked. Marinate with cornstarch, salt and pepper. Set aside.
|I used a mix of chicken thighs and fillets to balance out the taste - because we are not really huge fans of chicken breasts!|
2. Put the bones from the thighs in 5 cups of water, and boil till the water is halved. I used the reduction as chicken stock. The hubs doesn't like celery - so I've decided to do without that for the stock. While the stock is simmering, cut the potatoes and onions into small cubes.
3. In a heavy bottomed pan (or large wok), sauté onions in one part of the butter until they turn translucent. Take care not to allow the onions to caramelise or burn.
|Yes... I use a LOT of butter. I don't stinge on the good stuff, never mind that the waistline suffers!|
4. Add the potatoes in, give it a good stir, and then put the chicken in.
|A hen is only an egg's way of making another egg. Best to cook the chicken instead of the egg.|
5. Once the chicken turns 'white', add in the frozen vegetables. Stir-fry. Remove from pan, and set aside.
|Remind me to change the kitchen light from warm to cool. The lighting makes my pics look horrendously jaundiced!|
6. Melt the remaining butter in low heat, and add in the flour. Slowly stir in the chicken broth and milk. (Yay! We have a non-canned cream sauce!). Add in the chicken, potatoes and vegetables into the pot. Salt, pepper and mixed herbs to taste. Mix well and remove from heat.
I usually make the filling either a few hours before baking or the day before, and refrigerate. It is very, very important to make sure that the filling is completely cool when working with puff pastry, as even the slightest hint of warmth will result in soggy crusts. A non-flaky crust will spoil the enjoyment of the pie!
7. Use a glass dish or an aluminium disposable bake pan (if you don't want to be scraping pastry off the dish), and line the base with a sheet of the puff pastry. While working with one sheet, keep the rest in the fridge, especially if your kitchen is very warm. Trim excess dough off the edges. Give a 1 cm allowance all round, and spoon the cooled filling in. I like a heaped amount, because empty spaces in between reminds me of store bought pies!
|Power packed goodness!|
8. Cover the pie with another sheet of pastry, and seal the edges. Brush the top of the pie with egg yolk, so as to give it a sheen. Cut two holes at the top for ventilation (and so that the pie won't explode!) Bake at 200 deg C for 30 - 35 minutes, or until the top is brown and filling is bubbly (you can see it via the ventilation holes).
|Before and after. Amazing what an oven can do.|
Cool for 10 minutes before serving.
|This is the only flaky thing I like - not dandruff or people, please!|
|Top view of the pie. Can't resist taking another pic just to irritate the hubs and my brother, who was waiting to dig in from the time I started!|
Chicken pot pie. My Oh My!
|Classic Comfort Food. Tastes like 'coming home'.|