Monday, July 13, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie

Oh, July.

I’d say that I dislike you almost as much as August, but at least August has back-to-school sales, which means the fall merchandise will be making an appearance soon. But, July has that extra holiday thrown in there, so it’s a toss up. Sigh.

You know how I feel about pretending it’s fall in the middle of the summer. Some people start putting up their indoor Christmas decorations in October, so why can’t I start wishing for fall in July? That means I'll usually make fall-type foods on a regular basis, even though it’s too bloody hot outside to even go check the mail. I guess it’ll do until the real thing gets here.

This is an EASY pot pie to make. And everyone loves chicken pot pie, right? You don’t even have to make the crust, and who doesn’t love that? This recipe is adapted from the book Kitchen Sense, and is perfect for those days when you wish it were cooler outside, even when it’s not.

Chicken Pot Pie
Adapted from Kichen Sense

3-1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken (a generous pound by weight – Precooked rotisserie chickens work great for this)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, sliced
1 celery stalk, chopped
6 oz small mushrooms, quartered
1 tsp thyme leaves (stripped from the stem or ½ tsp dried)
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup sherry or dry white wine
5 T all-purpose flour
2 cups poultry stock
1 bay leaf
1 T chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
Your favorite pie crust dough (enough for 9-inch pie pan)
1 small egg, beaten with 1 T cold water

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion until soft, then add the carrot and celery and continue cooking for another 3 to 5 minutes, until soft. Add the mushrooms and thyme and cook until the mushrooms give up their liquid. Add salt, and pepper to taste; stir and cook for a couple of minutes. Deglaze the pan with half of the sherry; remove the cooked vegetables and their juices to a bowl and set aside.

Melt the remaining butter in the skillet, then whisk in the flour to make a roux. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes until the paste takes on a blonde color, Whisk in the stock and the remaining sherry, then add the bay leaf, parsley, salt, and pepper to taste. Simmer until thickened.

Add the cooked chicken and sauteed vegetables, and peas to the sauce. Transfer the mixture to a 1-1/2 quart baking dish (such as a deep-dish pie pan) and set aside in a warm spot near the oven.

Roll out the pie dough about 1 inch larger than the diameter of the baking dish and about 1/4-inch thick (or like me, I made a bit more of the filling and put it all in a large casserole dish and used 2 pieces of prepared pie dough (Pilsbury) pinched together in the middle). Place the dough atop the pie filling, and press the overlap to the outside of the dish. Place the filled and covered pie on top of a rimmed baking sheet. Brush with the beaten egg, then make a few slits to allow steam to escape.

Bake for 20 minutes (depending on size of pot pie) at 425°F until the crust has risen and begun to take on color. Reduce the heat to 350°F and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the crust is a deep golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve.

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