Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Chicken Pot Pie

This is technically what was for dinner at the Munoz's house last night.  I am a little late in getting it posted...

So Sunday night I made a Roast Chicken, which was delicious!  And, as there usually is, there were a ton of leftovers.  2 people can only eat so much of an entire bird at one meal.  After the initial dinner, I am always stuck with the question of what to do with all the leftover meat.  In the summer time salads or even tacos are the easy answer, but in the fall & winter, a casserole is hard to beat.  And the king of casseroles, at least in our house is chicken pot pie.

There are probably a hundred different ways to make a Pot Pie.  It's basically a casserole surrounded by dough.  My version is fairly quick to make and uses one of my favorite root vegetables- parsnips.  I've mentioned it before, but my husband and I both dislike the flavor & texture of cooked carrots.  Nothing wrong with a raw carrot, in fact I love them raw, but add heat and, well, yuck.  It was just another reason I knew our relationship would work when I discovered Pancho shared my love for the raw, but disdain for the cooked, carrot.  In almost all recipes where carrots are called for (to be cooked) I'll substitute in the carrots better cousin- a parsnip.  I hear that parsnips are richer in vitamins & minerals than carrots, are especially high in potassium and are a good source of dietary fiber.  Seems like a good trade off to me.

I also use just a top layer of store bought puff pastry, rather than making an actual pie, in order to save time & effort.  The dish is seasoned with some sweet wine, and Herbs de Provence which are available at the grocery store these days.  A little bit of a béchamel sauce gives it some creaminess.  I happened to have some leeks that I picked up at the Produce Stand, so I threw those in as well.  If you don't have any leeks or don't want to deal with cleaning them, you can just use more onion, although leeks give the dish an extra depth of flavor.

Chicken Pot Pie
1 to 2 cups leftover roasted chicken, cut into bite sized cubes
1/2 small onion, halved, then sliced and 3/4 cup sliced leeks, or a whole small onion, halved & then sliced
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 yukon gold potatoes, diced into 1/2" cubes
1 parsnip, diced into 1/2" cubes
1/2 cup Madeira, Marsala or Sherry wine
1 tsp Herbs de Provence
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1 cup milk (1% or 2% preferrably)
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Salt & Pepper
Olive Oil
1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed

  1. Cook up the veggies.  Run a little olive oil around a large sauté pan and turn the heat up to medium.  Once the pan has warmed up add in the onions & leeks and cook until they start to soften.  Add in the mushrooms, parsnips & potatoes and season with salt & pepper.  Stir in the Herbs De Provence and continue to cook over medium heat for about 5 to 7 minutes.  The Parsnips and Potatoes should just be starting to soften, but not browning.  Add in the wine, and let it cook down until it is reduced by at least half.  Stir in the chicken and remove the mixture from the heat
  2. Make a Béchamel Sauce (white sauce).  While the wine is cooking down, in a small pot melt 1 tbsp butter over medium high heat.  Add in 1 tbsp flour and stir constantly for a minute or so until the flour paste is cooked but not browned. Whisk in the milk, bring it up to a boil, then continue whisking over medium low heat until the sauce has thickened, about 2 minutes.  Stir in the Parmesan Cheese, season with a little pepper and remove the sauce from the heat.
  3. Prepare the Casserole.  Spray a square 8 x 8 deep sided baking dish with non-stick spray.  Add in the chicken & vegetable mixture and then pour the béchamel sauce over the top.  Give the mixture a gentle stir so that the béchamel sauce gets down into the mixture.
  4. Cover with the Puff Pastry.  Take the sheet of thawed puff pastry and lay it over the casserole.  There will be lots of overhang.  Take a pizza wheel cutter, or a knife, and run it around the edge of the dish, cutting off the overhang.  Tuck the edges down into the sides of the baking dish.  Make a few slits on the top of the puff pastry to allow steam to escape.  Save the leftover puff pastry for a future use.
  5. Bake the Pot Pie.  Put the pot pie into an oven that has been preheated to 350 F and bake for 30 to 40 minutes.  The Puff Pastry should be nicely browned and the sauce should be bubbling away underneath the crust.
  6. Serve!  Take the pot pie out of the oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes to cool slightly.  Open up a bottle of Pinot Noir and enjoy leftovers, elevated to something far more delicious!
Fresh from the oven, yum!
If you don't happen to have leftover roast chicken, you can use the chicken from a store bought rotisserie chicken, or even brown some cut up boneless, skinless chicken pieces before step 1 above.  It's really easy to turn this into a vegetarian dish as well- just double up the mushrooms and leave out the chicken.  Unless you are a devoted carnivore like Pancho, you probably won't even miss it.

Bon Appetit!

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