Pot Pies

A few weeks ago I starting cooking for my grandparents a few times a week.  They are older, and have been increasingly unhappy with the food options available to them now that they can’t cook for themselves.  Since I live close by, and enjoy cooking, our new arrangement has worked out well.
My grandparents aren’t vegetarian, so my new cooking assignment also lets me challenge myself to cook different meat dishes as well.  A few weeks ago I made them chicken pot pies.  I made a vegetarian version for myself, so I can confidently tell you that this recipe is delicious.  I’ll also tell you that I based it off a recipe from the Barefoot Contessa (original recipe here), which is generally proof of deliciousness in and of itself.
FILLING
4 chicken tenders
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt
pepper
4 cups vegetable stock
1 stick butter
1 yellow onion, chopped
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 carrots, medium-diced
1 large potato, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
1 tablespoon parsley

PASTRY
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
Flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat the oil in a skillet. Salt and pepper the chicken. Cook the chicken in the skillet for 10-15 minutes, until cooked through, turning once. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then cut the chicken into bite size pieces. You could speed this up by using a rotisserie chicken from the store.  This recipe would also be a great way to use up any leftover chicken from a previous dinner.

In a small saucepan, heat the stock. In a large pot, melt the butter and saute the onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the hot stock to the sauce. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and heavy cream. Add the vegetables, chicken (if using), and parsley. Mix well.

For the pastry, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the shortening and butter and mix quickly with your fingers until each piece is coated with flour. Pulse 10 times, or until the fat is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water; process only enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together. Dump the dough out onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes – this really helps it roll out nicely.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Divide the filling equally among 4 ovenproof bowls. Divide the dough into quarters and roll each piece into an 8-inch circle. Brush the outside edges of each bowl with the egg wash, then place the dough on top. Trim the dough so it overlaps the edge of the bowl. Crimp the dough to fold over the side, pressing it to make it stick. Brush with egg wash and make 3 slits in the top. Sprinkle with salt and cracked pepper. I used a little bit of left over cream instead of egg wash, and left off the salt and pepper since I was making these for my grandparents.

Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.

The recipe says this is supposed to feed 4 people, but I somehow ended up with much more than that.  Each of the ramekins I made these in was a large individual serving, and then I had enough filling and crust to fill an additional 8 x 8 inch pan, which I froze.

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