Nothing says cold weather “comfort food” quite like a Chicken Pot Pie. A hearty pie filled with roasted chicken, savory vegetables, and fresh herbs. Absolute perfection on a cold winter day. By cooking the chicken and vegetables, building the creamy sauce, and even baking the pie all in the same skillet, every drop of flavor makes it into the final dish.
You start this chicken pot pie by searing the chicken and hearty vegetables in a large skillet and transferring it to a oven until golden brown. The sauce is then prepared in the same skillet, where we bring chicken broth to a simmer and scrape the sides and bottom of the skillet to loosen all those delicious browned bits of goodness. When then a make a rich roux by toasting it until it is a nutty brown color before adding the broth to the skillet. Simmer and let thicken for 8 to 10 minutes (this is when the sauce gets extra creamy and delicious!) before you add the chicken and vegetables back to the skillet. Top with a buttery homemade crust and bake until golden brown.
Don’t let the ingredient list and directions scare you away from making this incredible pot pie. It’s oh so worth the effort. In fact, you can make this pot pie in steps if you prefer. Make the dough, chicken and vegetables one day and assemble and bake the next.
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
For the Dough:
1 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus additional for work surface
3/4 teaspoon table salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and frozen for 10 minutes
2 tablespoons sour cream
4 - 6 tablespoons ice water
For the Chicken and Vegetables:
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 whole chicken (about 4 1/2 pounds), cut into 4 pieces (2 breast pieces, 2 leg quarters, wings discarded) and trimmed of excess fat
24 frozen pearl onions, thawed, drained, and patted dry, about 1 cup
1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
4 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 medium ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
Salt and ground black pepper
For the Sauce:
4 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup frozen peas, unthawed
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
To Make the Dough: In the bowl of a food processor, process flour and salt together until combined, about 3 seconds. Add butter and pulse until size of large peas, about six to eight 1-second pulses.
In small bowl, mix sour cream and 4 tablespoons ice water until combined. Add half of sour cream mixture to flour mixture and pulse for three 1-second pulses. Repeat with remaining sour cream mixture. Pinch dough with fingers; if dough is floury, dry, and does not hold together, add 1 to 2 additional tablespoons water and process until dough forms large clumps and no dry flour remains, three to five 1-second pulses.
Turn dough onto work surface and shape into ball. Flatten into a 5-inch disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm but not hard, 1 to 2 hours. (Dough can be refrigerated overnight.)
To Roast the Chicken and Vegetables: Heat oven to 450 degrees. In heavy-bottomed 12-inch ovenproof skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat it just begins to smoke; swirling to coat evenly with oil. Brown chicken pieces skin side down until deep golden, 3 to 4 minutes; turn chicken pieces and brown until golden on second side, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to large plate; drain all but 1 tablespoon fat.
Set skillet over medium heat. Add pearl onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 3 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and add onion, carrots, celery, and salt and pepper to taste; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Return chicken pieces to skillet skin side up and place in oven. Roast until thickest part of breast registers about 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer and thickest part of thigh and drumstick registers about 175 degrees, 18 to 25 minutes. Using an oven mitt, remove skillet from oven. Transfer chicken to platter and let rest 1 hour. Set skillet with vegetables aside.
To Roll Out the Dough: Allow dough to stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before rolling if dough has been chilled longer than 2 hours. Dust 16 by 12-inch sheet of parchment paper liberally with flour. Roll out dough to rough 14-inch round on parchment. Mark center of top, bottom, and side arcs with knife. Connecting the marks, trim dough into a 14-inch circle.
Fold dough to form 1/2-inch perimeter rim.
Crimp folded dough between knuckle and forefingers to form 12-inch round with fluted edge. Cut four oval-shaped vents, 3 inches long and about 1/2 inch wide. Decorate dough with cutouts.
Transfer parchment and dough to baking sheet; chill in freezer until ready to use, at least 30 minutes (or refrigerate for 1 hour).
To Make the Sauce and Assemble the Pie: While chicken rests, return skillet with vegetables to medium-high heat. Add chicken broth and any juices from chicken platter and bring to simmer. Scrape sides and bottom of skillet with wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits. Pour contents of skillet through medium-mesh strainer set over large bowl; transfer vegetables from strainer to a separate medium bowl and refrigerate. After fat rises to surface of the broth, about 15 to 20 minutes, skim with a large spoon and discard. (You should have about 3 1/2 cups broth.)
After the chicken has rested, remove and discard skin. Using your fingers, pull chicken off bones into 2-inch shreds and 1-inch chunks; refrigerate until ready to use (you should have about 4 1/2 cups chicken).
Wipe skillet clean and melt butter over medium-high heat until foaming. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture darkens slightly and becomes fragrant, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in broth and cream and bring to boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring constantly, until sauce is thickened and coats back of spoon, 8 to 10 minutes. Turn off heat, add chicken, reserved vegetables, peas, lemon juice, parsley, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste; gently stir to combine.
Remove dough from freezer, lift off the parchment paper, and place dough on top of filling.
Bake on upper-middle rack at 450 degrees until crust begins to brown around edges, about 15 minutes; reduce heat to 375 degrees and continue to bake until crust is golden brown and filling bubbles, 15 to 20 minutes more. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.
Recipe Notes: Substitute 3 to 3 1/2 pounds of bone-in, skin-on chicken parts for the whole chicken, if desired. The dough and the chicken and vegetables can be prepared the day before and refrigerated.
Source: Cook's Illustrated
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