It's that time of year again - time that get my annual dose of the ultimate cold weather comfort food: chicken pot pie. Chicken and root vegetable pot pie, that is!
So why an annul dose??? Does that mean I only eat chicken pot pie once per year? Well, no - not exactly. It more or less means that I'll make a 100% from-scratch pot pie a minimum of once per year. Because some years, that's all I can muster out of my kitchen. If I get a craving more than once, I may cheat a little and use a store-bought pie crust, or a bag of frozen, pre-washed, pre-cut veggies, or a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken.
You see friends, as yummy and delicious and delightful as pot pie is, it is a marathon type of recipe when you make it 100% from scratch. Marathon as in like why are there so many steps in this recipe? and when is this pie going to be done? and why is my kitchen such a mess? and please, can someone come clean my kitchen for me???
But really, I'm being dramatic. It isn't all that bad. Certainly not if you have the foresight to make your pie dough ahead of time and have disks of homemade dough waiting in your freezer when you get a hankering for some pot pie. And most definitely not when you cut all your veggies the day before while listening to a favorite podcast. It's all about the planning and working ahead, kids. Mis en place. A.K.A - having everything pre-prepped/pre-measured and in its place before a single morsel of food sizzles in your hot pot.
That's what makes marathon recipes doable; and dare I say, enjoyable. You can tap your toes to a favorite tune, sip on a drink, keep an eye on the game, or have conversation through each step of the cooking process when you work this way. And don't worry about the dishes - they can be done while the pie bakes. You won't mind the work because the intoxicating smell that will begin to waft from your oven will be all you can think about - trust me, I know!
This particular recipe for chicken pot pie (there are just so.many.versions.) is a labor of love that I've been working on for about...oh..3 years. Since I first got married. It's one of those recipes that just gets better with practice. And developing your inner cook's intuition. It can be tricky to get just the right ratios of chicken to veggies to velvety luxurious sauce. And getting the sauce to be velvety/luxurious and not runny is another story. But it's all in working order now - just for you!
For me, root vegetables are a seasonal and welcome departure from the standard peas + carrots + potatoes + onions you find in most pot pies. A bit of bacon adds depth of flavor. A splash of sweet + sour with maple syrup and apple cider vinegar gives a balance of flavor that you'll recognize when you taste it. Oh, and if you're going to go to the trouble of making a from-scratch pot pie, why not make two while you're at it? One for now and one for the freezer. Because after you taste this pie, you can be sure the craving for it will hit again. And it will be such a gift to have it already ready and waiting for you. Step aside, Marie Callender. We've got this covered!
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Chicken and Root Vegetable Pot Pie
- 4 slices bacon I buy center-cut, uncured, diced
- 3 cups ½’’ cubed butternut squash about a 2-3 pound squash
- 2 cups ½’’ cubed turnip from 2 medium-sized turnips
- 1 cup ¼’’ diced carrot from 1 large or 2 medium carrots
- 2.25 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs trimmed of excess fat (about 7 thighs) and cut into bit-sized pieces, about ½’’ cube.
- 1 large shallot minced (about ½ cup)
- 4 cloves garlic minced (about 2 teaspoons)
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme minced (or 2 teaspoons dried)
- 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary minced (or ¾ teaspoon dried)
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 2 ½ cups Kitchen Basics unsalted chicken stock mixed with 1 tablespoon cornstarch plus an extra ½ cup to use as needed
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons dark maple syrup
- Extra virgin olive oil for sauteeing
- 2 rounds of pre-made pie dough for two 10-inch pies (I used dough I had frozen from this recipe
- 1 large egg + 1 teaspoon water lightly beaten (for pie crust wash)
- Place a large Dutch oven or cast iron braiser over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until almost crisp, about 4 minutes.
- Add the squash, turnips, and carrots to the pot. Depending on how much fat was released from the bacon, you may need to add a little olive oil. You need about 1 tablespoon of fat/oil in the pot when you add the veggies. Cook the veggies, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
- Add the chicken and shallots. Stirring often, cook an additional 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and herbs, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the flour and stir to coat everything in the pot. Cook for a minute.
- Slowly add in the chicken stock while stirring to incorporate. Scrape up an brown bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon as you stir. Stir in the apple cider vinegar and maple syrup. Add the ½ cup of extra stock if the mixture seems too thick - you want it to be the consistency of a thick stew.
- Bring the everything in the pot to a low boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes to thicken. Remove pot from heat and allow to the mixture to cool for 10 minutes.
- Place a rack in the lower ? of your oven. While the pot pie filling is cooling, preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.
- Grease two 10’’ pie pans with cooking spray. Evenly divide the pot pie mixture into each. At this point, you can either bake the pies once you add the crust on top OR you can freeze the filling for later use.
- While the oven is heating and after you have filled your pie pans, roll out your pie crust on a floured surface. Add it to the top of the pie pan and crimp as desired. Brush the entire top of the pie lightly with the egg + water mixture. Cut two small slits in the top of the pie and place it on a large baking sheet.
- Place the baking sheet in the lower third of your oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 425 degrees F and continue baking for an additional 20 minutes until the top of the crust is golden brown.
- Remove the pie from the oven and let it sit for 10 minutes before serving. Leftover pie will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- If you want to make this for the freezer, freeze the pot pie filling in the pie dish and the crust separately. When ready to bake, thaw the pot pie filling in the fridge overnight. Top with the pie crust when you are ready to bake and proceed with baking instructions from above. Frozen pot pie filling will keep up to 6 months in the freezer.