Simple Chicken Pot Pie
From Cook’s Illustrated. Published Wednesday, May 01, 1996.
Make full-flavored, fresh-tasting chicken pot pie without spending all afternoon in the kitchen.
Serves 6 to 8.
You can make the filling ahead of time, but remember to heat it on top of the stove before topping it. Mushrooms can be sauteed along with the celery and carrots, and blanched pearl onions can stand in for the onion.
1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 pound), chilled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening, chilled
Chicken Pot Pie:
1-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 can chicken broth, with water added to equal 2 cups (or use 2 cups homemade chicken broth)
1-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped fine
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut crosswise 1/4-inch thick
2 small ribs celery, cut crosswise 1/4-inch thick
Table salt and ground black pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
3 tablespoons dry sherry
3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
For Pie Dough: Mix flour and salt in workbowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture, tossing to coat butter with a little flour. Cut butter into flour with five one-second pulses. Add shortening; continue cutting in until flour is pale yellow and resembles coarse cornmeal, keeping some butter bits the size of small peas, about four more one-second pulses. Turn the mixture into a medium bowl.
Sprinkle 3 tablespoons ice-cold water over the mixture. Using rubber spatula, fold water into flour mixture. Then press the down on dough mixture with broad side of spatula until dough sticks together, adding up to 1 tablespoon more cold water if dough will not come together. Shape dough into a ball, then flatten into 4-inch-wide disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate 30 minutes while preparing pie filling.
For Pie Filling: Adjust the oven rack to low-center position; heat oven to 400 degrees. Put chicken and broth in small Dutch oven or soup kettle over medium heat. Cover, bring to simmer; simmer until chicken is just done, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer meat to large bowl, reserving broth in measuring cup.
Increase heat to medium-high; heat oil in now-empty pan. Add onion, carrots, and celery; saute until just tender, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. While vegetables are sauteing, shred meat into bite-sized pieces. Transfer cooked vegetables to bowl with chicken; set aside.
Heat butter over medium heat in again-empty skillet. When foaming subsides, add flour; cook about 1 minute. Whisk in chicken broth, milk, any accumulated chicken juices, and thyme. Bring to simmer, then continue to simmer until sauce fully thickens, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper; stir in sherry.
Pour sauce over chicken mixture; stir to combine. Stir in peas and parsley. Adjust seasonings. (Can be covered and refrigerated overnight; reheat before topping with pastry.)
To Assemble: Roll dough on floured surface to approximate 15-by-11-inch rectangle, about 1/8-inch thick. If making individual pies, roll dough 1/8-inch thick and cut 6 dough rounds about 1 inch larger than pan circumference.
Pour chicken mixture into 13-by-9-inch or any shallow baking dish of similar size. Lay dough over pot pie filling, trimming dough to 1/2 inch of pan lip. Tuck overhanging dough back under itself so folded edge is flush with lip. Flute edges all around. Or don’t trim dough and simply tuck overhanging dough into pan side. Cut at least four 1-inch vent holes in large pot pie or 1-inch vent hole in smaller pies.
Bake until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly, 30 minutes for large pies and 20 to 25 minutes for smaller pies. Serve hot.