Aunt Meg’s (award winning) Chicken Pot Pie

There’s nothing quite like the smell of chicken stock simmering on a cold winter afternoon. The preparation for my chicken pot pie fills the house with warmth and coziness.  It’s said chicken soup or stock rids the home of negativity.  Maybe that’s why people say “Chicken Soup for the Soul.”  All I know is that this is a fantastic dish for company and everyone seems happy when I make it.  It is both rustic and elegant.  I suggest serving it with a nice white wine and a simple salad.  You can get as fancy as you like with this or keep it super simple.  Either way, I know anyone who eats will love it!  My secret is I make my own stock and I love to use fresh herbs.

*If you don’t eat meat use vegetable stock and load it up with all kinds of veggies.  Get fancy and add seafood (shrimp, crab or lobster) and seafood stock.

What you need:

*Ingredients will be used for stock and pot pie

  • 1 Rotisserie Chicken-  make it easy on yourself and buy a rotisserie chicken (you typically can get one for around $5)
  • 7 Large carrots
  • 1 bunch of celery (I even use the leaves)
  • 4 large potatoes
  • 2 med onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 8 oz can of large peas
  • 1 package of pie crust (I use Wegmans)-  if you want to make your own I have a quick recipe I’ll add to this.  When I have time, I make the crust from scratch.  However, the pre-made works great.
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 1 bunch of fresh thyme (8 or 10 sticks)
  • 1 hand full of peppercorns
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • Cooking oil around 2 tbsp (enough to cover the bottom of the pot)
  • 1 egg

What to do FIRST:

  • After you’ve cooled your chicken, carefully take all meat off the breast, thighs and legs. Pull it apart and set aside on a plate.  Cover with foil to keep moist. Carefully get rid of any small bones.
  • Take all remaining pieces of chicken, including the skin and juices from the container and add to a med-large pot.
  • Peel and half 1 onion, add to pot with garlic, 3 carrots, 4 celery stalks outside pieces (I break them in half, carrots too), peppercorns and fresh thyme (if you have it) and fill pot with water.
  • Add around 2 tsp of salt.
  • Cook on med heat for 25 mins.  Turn down heat and simmer on low until stock reduces by almost half.  This process takes about 1 hour.
  • When stock reduces, remove from heat and let cool for a bit.
  • Take a small hole strainer and place in a large bowl.  Pour stock and contents into strainer.  Let all the stock drain into bowl and remove strainer.  Throw contents used to make stock away.  What you should have left is a fabulous broth.
  • You can make this anytime you have left over chicken or turkey parts.  Freeze it untill you want to use it.  In this case we are going to use it immediately.

What to do next:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Chop remaining veggies.  Onion, carrots, celery, and potatoes (try to make veggies the same size. I take my potatoes and cut them in half and half again to make small cubes).
  • In the same pot you made your stock, add oil and veggies.  Add a little salt and pepper (about a tsp or so of each).  Let them soften for about 8-10 mins.
  • Add stock and 2 bouillon cubes.  Simmer on low.
  • In a small pan, add stick of butter and melt on low heat.  When butter is melted add flour 1 tbsp at a time.  Mix well as you add it.  Let the flour and butter cook for about 1 min.
  • Add cream to butter and flour mixture.  Stir well and turn heat up to med-low.  Mixture will begin to thicken.  When it coats the spoon, shut of heat and add mixture to stock and vegetables.
  • Gently combine and cook on med-low for another 15-20.  Make sure you don’t scorch the bottom.  Stir frequently and turn heat down if you notice the filling is sticking to the bottom.
  • While filling is reducing, take a medium size baking dish and butter or spray it.  Roll out one pie crust and add to dish.
  • Roll out second pie crust and make a few small slits.  Let sit until you add filling to dish.
  • With a large ladle (I use a big coffee mug) add filling to baking dish.  When all of the filling has been added, cover with the second pie crust.
  • Make an egg wash by cracking an egg in a small bowl and mix with a little water (about 2 tsp) whisk and brush pie crust lightly with wash.
  • Sprinkle crust with salt and pepper and place in oven for 25-30 mins or until crust in golden brown.
  • Cool for a few minutes before serving… if you can keep people away from it.

HOMEMADE PIE CRUST RECIPE

*I make this in my food processor.

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 stick could butter – cut in cubes
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • Pulse 10 times or until butter is balled in mixture.
  • For extra flavor and a splash of color, I add some thyme leaves into the batter
  • Add 2/3 cups ice-cold water, pulse until almost forms a ball, remove & refrigerate for 30 mins
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