Chicken Pot Pie

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This is my week to cook luncheon for the Sages. The Sages are the group of about 30 old-timers at our church. I like this job a lot, for many reasons. I like people older than me, I like being appreciated, and I like to cook in the big, outdated, industrial church kitchen.

The luncheon has to be hot, because many of them rarely cook at home anymore. I also have a budget, which is not huge. Finally, I have standards, so I cannot serve crap. This week, since I have been writing here about puff pastry, I decided to make pot pie. I hope they like it.

Like all good casseroles, this one began as a way to utilize leftovers. The entire thing can be made with canned ingredients, but I much prefer the real thing, made with last night’s bird and homemade puff. (If you can’t muster the energy for the puff, try a good pie-dough or biscuit recipe.) For special occasions, try cooking your pot pies in individual dishes. They cook better, faster, more evenly, and they make your guests feel special!

INGREDIENTS

4 TB. unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 tsp. each dried thyme, dried sage, and dried oregano
4 TB. all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1-2 cups chicken broth
2 cups cooked chicken meat, chopped or shredded
1 large baking potato, peeled and diced
1 cup green peas, fresh or frozen
1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
Puff pastry, pie dough or biscuit dough – enough to cover the top of your baking dish
1 egg yolk
2 TB. cream
Pinch salt
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375˚F. Sauté onion, celery, carrot and herbs in butter until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add flour and stir until it absorbs all the butter and begins to brown. (This is a roux.) Slowly add milk 1/4 cup at a time, stirring constantly. As each addition is absorbed by the roux, add more. When the milk is all in, add broth in the same manner, until a thick-soup consistency is reached. Remove from the heat.
  2. Off the heat add the chicken, potato, peas and corn. Stir well to combine, season with salt and pepper and transfer to a 9×13″ casserole dish. Sprinkle with grated cheese and top with pastry dough. Combine yolk, cream, salt, and brush lightly on the top of the dough. Sprinkle lightly with the parmesan cheese and bake at 375˚F until brown and bubbly, about 30 minutes.

FYI …
The amount of liquid a roux will hold varies tremendously, especially if, like here, there are vegetables added to the hot fat. The moisture in the vegetables depends on the size they are chopped, the degree they are cooked, and how much water is retained after washing. The flour and butter play a role too. Different brands and styles of flour absorb differently, and all butter brands retain a different percentage of water. So … use your eye, and don’t be afraid to add more or less liquid than a recipe calls for.

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