updating a classic: chicken pot pie

The bite of a crisp New York apple causes a grin. A slow-cooked batch of chili has already come and gone. The apple cravings are back. So I see you have returned, dear friend Autumn, casually known as Fall. With you comes the warm stews and hot cider.

That’s how this post originally started. I drafted it up two weeks ago, after the lovely Pie Party Live hosted by Jackie and Ken. And then, New York City got hit with icy, dense, no-good snow this weekend. Now it feels like winter has smacked us in the face, no pleasant, leisurely drift through fall. But that feeling is something I yearn to hold on to, so comforting and lovely.

Classics can be a challenge. Capturing something that feels like home, soulful and satisfying, isn’t as easy as one may hope. But this recipe, where a party of vegetables and roasted chicken mingle with dark beer and nutty cheese mingle strikes a great balance between old and new. Lucky me, I had some leftover Autumn Maple beer from working with The Bruery, a dark beer with a bit of spice and no bitterness. The beer and chicken stock made a very rich roux, avoiding the pasty flour effect that can come with many pot pies.

An added bonus to my pot pie was a large chunk of cheese, thanks to Jackie and the folks at Jarlsberg. The bottom layer of puff pastry received a hearty layer of shredded cheese, building the layers of richness. Oh, and puff pastry. That buttery, flaky crust, softer on the bottom and crisp on top, is hard to beat. It’s also a show stopper, golden brown and puffed up. While the leftovers made with a whole wheat biscuit topping [seen at the top] made a fine lunch, the double crusted puff pastry was the winner. All these components come together to give you a recipe that feels like a classic, updated.

chicken pot pie

This recipe looks intensive but it is rather straightforward. This makes enough filling for TWO pies (or a pie and 6-8 ramekins). Adapted from Fine Cooking.

  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1.5 pounds roasted chicken, diced [I used 2 breasts, 1 thigh, 1 leg]
  • 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 small onion, diced [1/2 cup]
  • 1 medium or 2 small red bell peppers, diced [2 cups]
  • 4 medium carrots, sliced 1/2 inch thick [1.5 cups]
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 9 ounce box frozen pearl onions in cream [Birdseye brand]
  • 2.25 ounces all purpose flour
  • 14.5 ounces chicken broth
  • 10 ounces dark beer
  • 8 ounces half-and-half or heavy cream
  • 12 ounces potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice [2 cups]
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1.5 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • dried thyme, rosemary, oregano, to taste
  • kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup shredded Jarslberg Cheese
  • 1 box puff pastry, thawed [2 sheets]

directions

  1. If you're cooking the chicken the same time you're making the pot pie, use a large skillet or Dutch oven. Save the pan to cook in so you get all the delicious drippings. Using cooled chicken, remove the skin [if necessary] and pull off the bone. Shred or dice into small pieces and put into a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until hot. Add the mushrooms and cook without stirring for 1 minute. Continue cooking another 3 to 4 minutes until well browned, stirring occasionally, until well browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the bowl of chicken.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and add 1 tablespoon butter and the raw onions, carrots and pepper. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 8 to 9 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the edges of the vegetables are browned, add the garlic and thawed pearl onions [and all onion liquids] and cook for one minute more. Scrape the vegetables into the bowl of chicken and mushrooms.
  4. Melt the last four tablespoons of butter in the same pot over low heat. Add the flour and cook about 4 minutes whisking constantly. At first the flour will be clumpy, but it will smooth out and loosen. Whisking constantly, slowly add the chicken broth, beer and half-and-half. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to low and add the potatoes and the contents of your bowl (and any accumulated juice), and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Partially cover the pot and simmer gently (adjusting the heat as necessary), stirring occasionally, until the potatoes and carrots are just tender, 15 to 18 minutes. Stir in the peas, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and dried herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Grease a 9 inch, deep dish pie pan. Gently unfold one sheet of puff pastry and place it into the pie shell, pressing it into the edges and onto the lip of the pie pan. The corners may stick out - trim those off and save the pastry. Add the shredded cheese in an even layer. Top with half of the filling, mounding up towards the center. Carefully unfold the second piece of puff pastry and place it on top of the pie. Trim off the excess corners and crimp it together with the bottom layer of puff pastry. Brush with the beaten egg. If you want, use the excess puff pastry on top of the pie as decoration. Brush it as well with egg.
  6. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes. If the top gets too dark, cover with foil. Let sit for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.

4 Responses

  1. This chicken pot pie looks like comfort in a bowl (or ramekin). Whether fall or winter (and yes, I was blasted by all that snow this past weekend myself), I would happily dive into this dish. I can’t wait to try it.

    Thank you for including the Jarlsberg, which is such a lovely cheese, whether for melting or adding into your whole-wheat biscuit topping (just a thought for the next go around).

    Cheers!
    Casey Benedict
    on behalf of Jarlsberg USA
    http://jarlsbergusa.com

  2. Jarlsberg biscuits! What a perfect idea. There’s no doubt there’s going to be more biscuit-topped bowls of comfort in the next few months, I’ll have to try this idea.
    Thanks again for the wonderful cheese!
    Emily

  3. hmm never tried beer in pot pie but sounds wonderful. After much experimenting with pot pie crusts I have found puff pastry beats the others, too. Your pie looks and sounds wonderful and comforting!

  4. Beer in a pot pie!!!!! YES! Wow these look like little bits of heaven 🙂

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