Click below to listen to this post about my individual chicken pot pies on Candidly Kendra Eats:
In Colorado Springs we get more snow in the so-called spring than we do in the winter. In the winter we get pretty flurries, but in the spring we get dumps of snow, as though God takes whatever’s left in the giant snow-bucket-in-the-sky and dumps it all on us.
One year Steve and I went to dinner, and while we sat by the window we watched the snow start, and then pick up, and before we knew it, after an hours’ time, we were driving home in a half a foot of snow! That was fun.
(I’m imagining some of you saying, “Kendra, that’s nothing! You should hear about the time when…” I’d love to hear it! Share your story in the comments!)
Well, this weekend we’re expecting a major winter storm. The department of transportation has asked us to avoid all travel. The grocery stores are getting cleaned out of essentials. And the entire state is either eagerly anticipating or actively dreading a few days of forced relaxation.
Some say we’ll get five feet of snow. With our meteorology track record, it might be a dusting. You never know! Hold on tight and go along for the ride!
But I have good news for you. If you live in Colorado and choose not to fight the panicked grocery store crowds (or if you live anywhere and want to eat good food) this recipe is a super-tasty comfort meal that you can make using what you probably already have in your pantry.
These pot pies are made in individual ramekins with a delicious meat and veggie filling, and topped with a buttery pie crust, then baked to golden perfection. If you have kids, you can cut the pie crust into shapes your kids will love, bake them like cookies, and then serve them standing up in the top of your family’s pot pies.
For these pot pies, there are four elements you need to consider: the crust, the meat, the veggies, and the sauce.
The Crust: For the crust, the easiest way is to use a frozen Pillsbury pie crust. They come in packs of two and are rolled up. All you need to do is thaw one, and then proceed with the recipe. But if you’re snowed in (or if you want to practice your pastry skills), you can make a crust from scratch. Don’t worry, it’s not as hard to do as they want you to think it is! There are only four ingredients: flour, salt, butter, and water. The key is to not overmix your dough, and to make sure your butter is cold, but cut up into tiny pieces (ie, shredded), which you can accomplish very easily with a food processor, or even a cheese grater!
For the meat you can use chicken, or ham, or even, in a pinch, roughly chopped hard boiled eggs. Chicken is our favorite. And we always have frozen chicken tenderloins on hand.
For the veggies, you can use whatever vegetables you like. The easiest way would be to use a bag of frozen vegetables, but you could also use cans of vegetables, or anything left over that’s sitting in your fridge. (My favorite combination is onion, celery, carrots, and broccoli.
And finally, for the sauce, I will give you instructions for making your sauce from scratch. All you need are butter, flour, chicken broth (I always have chicken bouillon cubes on hand so I can make broth), a little bit of cream or milk, and some seasonings. (I use thyme, parsley, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. I really like the thyme in this recipe.) If you want to save yourself the trouble, use a couple jars of chicken gravy. I’ve never done that, but I’m sure it would work.
Chicken Pot Pies Digest
- First, decide which pie crust you will use: homemade or store-bought? If you want to make your pie crust from scratch, there are two ways. If you have a food processor, put 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. flour in your food processor. Add 1/2 tsp. salt and give it a quick whirl. Add 1 stick of cold butter, sliced. Pulse for a few seconds until the mixture looks like wet sand. Then add 1 ice cube to a 1-cup measuring cup and fill the measuring cup half-full of water. Using the chute on your food processor, turn the processor to low and add the water in a very small stream until the dough forms a ball on one side of your food processor. You did it! That’s your pie crust dough! Wrap that dough in plastic wrap and flatten into a disk shape. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- If you don’t have a food processor, put the flour in a bowl, add the salt and stir. Then, using a cheese grater, grate 1 stick of cold butter into your flour. Toss it to mix. Then add 1/4 cup ice water, and mix with a fork. Continue adding water, just a tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork between additions, until the dough starts to come together and you can form a ball. Mix it just a little bit with your hands, adding more water if necessary, to make sure most of the flour is incorporated. Shape the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, melt 1 tbsp. butter in a medium skillet. If using raw chicken, add the chicken (seasoned with salt and pepper) to the butter and cook until browned and no longer pink in the middle.
- If using fresh or frozen veggies, add them next. (I like to use 1/4 cup chopped onion, 2 celery ribs, chopped, 1 carrot, chopped, and 1 cup chopped broccoli florets.) Cook and stir until the veggies are soft. Then remove the chicken and veggies and keep them warm.
- Add 3 tbsp. butter to the same skillet and melt. Add 1/4 tsp. thyme, 1 tsp. parsley, 1 bay leaf, and 1/2 tsp. salt and a shake of pepper. Add 3 tbsp. flour and cook and stir for a couple minutes (1-2 minutes) to cook the flour. Add 2 cups chicken broth slowly, whisking constantly. Cook and whisk constantly over medium high heat until it comes to a boil. Cook and stir for one minute and then reduce the heat to medium-low.
- Add 1/4 cup cream (or milk, but cream is better). Stir the meat and veggies back into the skillet. (Or, if you’re using canned veggies or previously cooked meat, add them now.)
- If that^^ looked complicated, you can replace the entire process with a jar or two of your favorite gravy, mixed with meat and veggies to your taste.
- Now, roll out your pie crust dough on a floured board until it’s about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes using cookie cutters. Place them on a baking sheet (I always line my baking sheets with parchment paper), and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes until lightly browned.
- Divide the filling into individual ramekins or bowls. Top with the crust to use as dippers. (PS. For my pot pies that are pictured, I topped the ramekins with circles of dough, brushed with an egg mixed with a little water, and baked at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.)
Here is the recipe:
Chicken Pot Pies
For the Pie Crust
- 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 stick cold butter
- 8-10 tbsp ice water
For the Filling
- 4 tbsp butter, divided
- 2 cups chopped chicken, uncooked
- ¼ cup chopped onion
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- ½ cup broccoli, chopped
- 3 tbsp flour
- 2 cups chicken broth
- ¼ cup cream
- ¼ tsp thyme
- 1 tsp parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
For The Pie Crust
- In a food processor, whirl the flour and the salt. Add butter and process until it is the texture of wet sand. Add water in a slow stream and process until the dough forms a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, shape into a disk, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.Preheat oven to 400°
For the Filling
- In a medium skillet, melt 1 tbsp butter. Add chicken and cook until browned and cooked through.
- Add onion, celery, carrot, and broccoli and cook until the vegetables are tender.
- Remove chicken and vegetables to a plate and keep warm.
- Heat 3 tbsp. butter in the same skillet. over medium heat. Add flour, thyme, parsley, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes.
- Add chicken broth, whisking constantly. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until boiling. Cook and stir for one minute more. Add cream.
- Return chicken and vegetables to the skillet with the sauce.
- Roll the pie dough out on a floured board to a ¼ inch thickness. Option 1: Cut into desired shapes. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 400°. Divide the pot pie filling among ramekins and serve with pie crust "cookies."Option 2: Cut the pie crust into circles slightly larger than your ramekins. Divide the pot pie filling among ramekins. Top with pie crusts. Brush pie crusts with egg wash*. Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes.