In my life, I have eaten hundreds of pot pies. From the bargain bin microwavable frozen ones to high-dollar A-list restaurant versions.
This one was the best.
Almost all locally-sourced ingredients too! Great chicken from a local butcher, fresh vegetables locally grown, and herbs from the little garden out back.
I had thawed out chicken the night before without a real plan, so I followed standard operating procedure and stared in the refrigerator for a while seeking inspiration. Some beautiful carrots and peas — fresh, not frozen! — from the local farmers market.
Gotta use those.
Mushrooms, heavy cream, white wine… glance at the onions on the counter? Check.
And then I thought: pot pie.
And then I thought: Samin Nosrat.
Samin Nosrat is a chef who studied under Alice Waters and has this tremendous cookbook, SALT FAT ACID HEAT. I have been happily cooking my way through it and I am in love. The art is great and Samin’s writing makes you feel like you’ve been friends with her for a good while even though you’ve never met.
Fair warning though, this recipe is not for a quick weeknight dinner. More I have a few hours or oh boy, company’s coming tonight food. Worth the effort in every way, no question.
I started with a batch of Samin’s All-Butter Pie Dough because it needs a couple of hours to chill before you use it. And I’ve been looking for a reason to try it anyway.
She starts by putting all of the ingredients in the freezer for 20 minutes including the mixer bowl and paddle! Her recipe uses a whopping 16 tablespoons of butter. My normal pie crust, which uses a lot less, isn’t nearly so luxurious and while it works fine, and your favorite go-to recipe would too, hers really added a buttery warmth to the dish and notched it up. It came together perfectly in no time. Indeed, making room in the freezer turned out to be the hardest part. It’s crazy good — you should try it if you get a chance.
(If you don’t have pie crust or puff pastry handy, you can use buttermilk biscuit dough too!)
I used a cast-iron chicken fryer like this one (except mine’s really old, an antique by now) or you can use a dutch oven instead. I also used this 9×13 glass baking dish and, in the unlikely case you have any leftovers, the lid lets you go easily straight from the table to the refrigerator. Even better, you can get a heat bag like this one and take it to a gathering at a friends table.
I browned the chicken pieces in a little olive oil then set them aside.
Then, I cooked the onion, carrot, celery, and mushrooms in some butter along with a bit of salt, pepper, thyme, and bay leaves until they just started to get tender.
Deglaze the pan with the wine. Add the chicken pieces, cream, and stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and let the chicken cook through.
Once that was done, turn off the heat, remove the chicken, thyme, and bay leaves, and let everything cool down. Skim off some fat and liquid and use it to make a slurry with the flour. Add that back to the sauce. Back to a boil and then back to a simmer to cook off the flour taste.
Taste it — oh wow. Seriously?
Adjust the seasoning just a tad.
While I’m waiting, I roll out my pie dough. (It has been two hours since I tucked it in the refrigerator.) I roll it out somewhat rectangularly to fit the pan. I came pretty close — I’m better at rolling out circles but it’s all good.
Once the chicken cools enough, shred it. I use two forks, myself, but some people have special “claws” designed for just this purpose. (This was the cat’s favorite part — she’d been waiting patiently for it too.)
Gently stir in the shredded chicken, peas, and parsley. (I also say gently because, as you can see above, my pan was just big enough to hold everything.)
Filling goes into the pan, cover with dough, fold the dough in on itself, brush with a beaten egg, and into the oven it goes for about half-an-hour until the top is brown. (Mine took 35 minutes.)
Let it cool enough to set up and be edible (temperature-wise) before you cut it.
I’m replicating the ingredients below exactly how they are in the cookbook. With that said, if you can, make it exactly as Samin says. But remember, you’re cooking for you and your people. If you need to make changes, no worries.
For example, if all you have is chicken breast, or maybe you’re grabbing a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store on the way home, it’s fine. Cook it if needed, shred it, add after the thickener. If you don’t want cream or wine, for whatever reason, leave them out and use more stock. If you don’t have homemade stock, use a box of organic. And if you don’t have fresh thyme, use about 1/2 teaspoon dried.
Chicken Pot Pie
This chicken pot pie, from Samin Nosrat's SALT FAT ACID HEAT cookbook, is amazing good. I sourced most of the ingredients locally too. Visit suppertimeblues.com to learn more.
For the filling
- 4-pound chicken or 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 medium yellow onions, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 large carrots, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 large celery stalks, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 pound fresh cremini, button, or chanterelle mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup dry white wine or dry sherry
- 1/2 cup cream
- 3 cups chicken stock or water
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
- 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley leaves
For the crust
- 1 recipe All-Butter Pie Dough (page 386), but chill the dough in a single piece, or 1/2 recipe Light and Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits (page 392), or 1 package store-bought puff pastry
- 1 large egg, lightly whisked
Season the chicken in advance, at least an hour, overnight if possible.
Over medium-high heat, with enough olive oil to just cover the bottom of the pan, brown the chicken pieces. Work in batches as needed. Set the chicken aside for later.
Carefully wipe out the pan, turn the heat to medium, and melt the butter.
Sauté the onion, carrot, celery, and mushrooms along with the thyme, bay leaves, and some salt and pepper until the vegetables are just starting to be tender.
Add the chicken pieces back to the pan along with the stock (or water) and the cream.
Cover the pan, turn the heat up to high, bring everything to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the chicken through. Take out the breasts at about 10 minutes, dark meat at 30 minutes.
Turn off the heat, remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaves.
Once it cools, skim off some fat and mix with the flour to make a paste. Then dilute that with some of the liquid to so it will pour. Add that back to the pot.
Return the pot to a boil and cook out the flour taste (like you would with a roux or gravy). About 5 minutes after it starts boiling again.
Taste it and add salt and/or pepper as needed.
Turn off the stove and preheat the oven to 400°F.
While the chicken's cooling and the oven's preheating, roll out your dough in a rectangle to cover a 9x13 baking pan.
Once it's cool enough, shred the chicken and add it back to the sauce and vegetables.
Stir in the peas and parsley.
Carefully pour everything into your pan.
Top with your dough. Fold the edges under as necessary to fit the pan and stick to the edges.
Brush the dough with a beaten egg.
Put the baking dish on a rimmed sheet pan and bake for 30-35 minutes. The top should be golden brown. (It shouldn't bubble over but you never know and better safe than sorry.)
Let it cool enough to set up and be edible temperature-wise.
Seriously, we were blown away by how good this turned out. Fresh and good quality ingredients make it easier.
Always buy local and organic first, then local, then organic, then be careful.