It's homemade chicken soup, in convenient pie form!
The weather around here has been cooler again, and when that happens I want to pull out all of my sweaters and cook warm comfort foods. This week, with the nice crisp weather, pot pie Friday seemed like a no brainer.
My pot pie recipe calls for cooking the chicken using a method somewhere between braising and poaching. Broaching? Praising? I started doing this (versus, say, roasting my chicken before hand) when I started making my own chicken soup and would simmer the chicken in stock. The chicken was SO full of flavor, very tender from being "poached" in the stock for about an hour.
(here's the thing: when you poach something like fish or chicken, typically you cook it in a liquid- which I'm doing here with the chicken- but you're going to keep the poaching to a bare minimum. If you're braising, you're probably going to brown the meat first- which I do not do here, I trim the chicken and then into the pot it goes- and then cook it low and slow in a small amount of liquid. With the chicken I use in my chicken soup and my pot pie, I'm letting it cook in quite a bit of liquid, on a low temperature, for at least an hour. So.....is it poaching? Or is it sort of braising? Is this really the opposite of concerning to you and you want me to get on with the recipe?)
I'm picky about my chicken, so I trim it well. I like to poach in equal parts stock and wine (THE FLAVOR. you will have to stop yourself from eating all of the chicken before it makes it into your pie. I'm just looking out for your pie well being here). For kicks you can throw in a cheese cloth sachet of some fresh or dried herbs: rosemary, sage, cloves, cinammon even, just fish it out when the chicken is done- the flavor stays, but the bits of herbs go. I don't like peas, so I use sweet corn, but use the veggies you like. As always, make it yours. Cook what you like to eat!
Chicken Pot Pie
• 4 chicken breasts, trimmed well, but whole
• one box (1 qt) chicken broth
• 1 qt dry white wine (or, honestly, whatever you have lying around)
• 1 large onion, sliced thin
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 (8 tbsp) stick butter (I know! I'M SORRY but it's better this way)
• 1/4 cup cream (seriously, you will be FINE)
• 1/2 cup all purpose flour
• 3 or 4 carrots, peeled, sliced
• 1 cup sweet corn
• salt and freshly ground black pepper
• Pate Brisee (but this time, instead of adding water as needed, I add buttermilk. either is FINE for this recipe)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Add chicken broth and wine to a large stock pot (I like to use my 5 qt cast iron dutch oven for this- but anything big enough to hold the liquid and that has a lid is going to do you just fine) over a medium heat. Bring JUST to a boil, add chicken, and turn heat down to a simmer. Cover and allow the chicken to simmer on the stove until tender and thoroughly cooked, about an hour. Remove the chicken to a plate, allow to cool and then cut it into bite sized pieces. Reserve the wine and stock in a bowl.
BY THE WAY: If I were making homemade chicken soup, here is where I would assess our stock situation and add more stock if needed, and add cut carrots, celery, sauteed onions and seasonings. But we're not making soup, we're making a pot pie! So I'm going to remove my chicken to a plate to hang out until I need it back, and reserve the leftover wine and stock in a bowl for my filling.
Return the pot to the stove. Over a medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions and cook until translucent- don't go so far as to caramelize them, although that might be good so don't panic if you cook them a little longer than you intended. Add the minced garlic and cook until the garlic becomes fragrant. Get your stuff ready because this next part comes at you fast: add the flour to the onions, garlic and butter. Cook, stirring CONSTANTLY until flour is absorbed, for about 2 minutes. Add the hot reserved broth and let it simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce begins to thicken. Add salt, pepper and the cream. Stir in chicken, carrots and corn. Mix well. Taste- if you want more salt and pepper, go ahead and add it.
Pour into pie dish (you don't need a bottom crust for this one), cover with your rolled out pate brisee, crimp around the edges of your pie plate to seal it in, and slice three vents in the top of the pie. Or get fancy with your fancy patterned vents. OWN YOUR POT PIE.
Stick it in the oven and bake until the pie crust begins to lightly brown, about 45 minutes to an hour.
Try and let it cool before you grab a fork and dive in.
I can't think of anything more perfect for a stormy New England weekend. Good luck with Irene, you guys.