Friday, September 9, 2011

Easy as (Chicken) Pie

It was a very long, very hot summer in Denver.  But, in typical Denver fashion, the weather went from one extreme to another and one day it was 95 degrees and the next it was 60.  So I thought it was only appropriate to make a cold weather dish to get me in the mood for my favorite time of year and decided to go with chicken pot pie.

I love comfort food.  The more rich and sinful a dish is, the more comfort there is to be had!  So when making a pot pie, I don't just go for chicken and gravy in a crust.  I used smoked chicken, heavy cream in the sauce and both pie crust AND puff pastry.  You heard me, cream, pie crust, AND puff pastry.  Cuz that's just how I roll.  When it comes to food, I don't mess around.  If you're going to enjoy comfort food, you might as well do it right.  Chicken pot pie really is quite easy to put together.  I used a pre-made pie crust, a smoked chicken from my work (or substitute a rotisserie chicken), frozen puff pastry and frozen veggies.  Doesn't get easier than that.

As pretty much anyone who cooks professionally will tell you, I don't know how to cook for two people.  I cook for a minimum of ten people at all times.  It's just one of those things that comes with the job -- you get used to cooking large quantities at work and that spills over to home.   Even though there are just two of us in my home and one of us doesn't like leftovers (not me, I can eat the same thing all week) I still somehow manage to cook for ten people every time.  Naturally when I set forth to make one pie, I ended  up with enough to make two pies.  But just put one in the freezer for later, or give one to a friend.

Chicken Pot Pie
Makes 2 pies

Two 9" pie crusts
1 box frozen puff pastry
1 rotisserie chicken (I used a smoked chicken from our in-store smokehouse!)
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup flour
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. sage
1/2 tsp. rosemary
1/2 lb. frozen mixed veggies
few dashes hot sauce
few dashes soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1 egg, beaten, for sealing and brushing the puff pastry

Place a baking sheet on the lowest rack of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.  Line each pie crust with foil or parchment paper and fill with dry beans or pie weights.  Place the crusts on the hot pan and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven, take out the paper and the beans and let cool while you prepare the rest of the recipe.

Pull the chicken from the carcass, removing the skin and bones.  Break up into chunks you can get into your mouth.  Melt the butter in a heavy sauce pot over medium high heat and add the onions.  Saute for about 5 minutes and then add the garlic.  Saute a few minutes more.  Add the flour and mix well.  Whisk in the chicken stock and then the cream, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.  Add all the herbs and seasonings and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium and let simmer for about 15 minutes.  Add the chicken and frozen veggies and remove from the heat.  Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.

Roll out your puff pastry sheets and use the pie crusts to trace circles large enough to completely cover the tops of the pies.  Cut several 1/2 inch slits in each of the top crusts and brush them with the beaten egg.  Divide the filling between the two pie crusts.  Brush the edge of the pie crusts with the egg and then place the puff pastry circles over the pies, pressing them firmly to adhere to the edges and form a tight seal.  If you like, sprinkle a little garlic seasoning on the top crusts to give them a nice flavor.  Place the pies back onto the hot pan in the oven and bake until bubbly and golden brown, about 40 to 50 minutes.

The filling ready to go.
Golden brown and delicious!  My steam vents sealed themselves back up so be sure to cut yours big!
Comfort food goodness!

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