Monday, February 11, 2013

Chicken Pot Pie

It's been rainy and cold here, so I've been hankering for some comfort food in front of the fire. Chicken pot pie fits the bill. This recipe omits the cream sauce made with cream, butter, and flour and uses mashed potato flakes as a thickener. If you don't like potatoes, this can also be thickened with just flour, minus the butter and cream. The crush has been healthied up a bit, too. It uses a combination of whole wheat and all purpose flour, and has been reduced to just a top crust. The pictures reflect my mood for "hankering" - somehow the word reminds me of a western theme.


3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1 inch cubes
2-3 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
1 cup pearl onions (or chopped onion)
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup cubed potatoes
1 Tbs dried parsley
1 tsp dried leaf thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup instant mashed potatoes (or use 1/2 cup flour - see note below)
Up to 1 tsp salt and pepper to taste

1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup cold water
1 tsp milk

Directions: Place a large soup pot on the stove top over medium high heat. Add the chicken to the pot, then add 1 cup of the chicken broth. (NOTE: If using flour, add the flour to the chicken, mixing well. Then, pour the chicken broth in very slowly, stirring constantly, so that the flour thickens the broth. Adding the broth slowly, while stirring, will make the sauce less lumpy. Don't worry if you have a few lumps, they won't be noticeable in the final dish.) Cook the chicken for about 5 minutes, it will begin to change color. Add another cup of the chicken broth along with the carrots, celery, red pepper, onions, peas, and potatoes and cook for about 10 more minutes. Check a piece of the chicken by cutting it open, to make sure it is cooked through. Add the spices, then thicken the pie filling with the mashed potatoes, if you're using them instead of the flour. Taste the filling, and adjust the seasoning by adding salt and pepper as needed.

Preheat oven to 375F.

To make the crust, mix the flours together in a medium size bowl. Mix in the olive oil with two forks, until the flours are just moistened. Add most of the cold water, and continue to mix with the two forks. You want the flour to hold together into a ball, so add additional cold water until the flour holds together. Flatten the dough onto a floured board or a piece of wax paper. Roll it out into a circle, using a rolling pin. If you don't have a rolling pin, any round bottle will work just fine - I used to use a wine bottle before I got a rolling pin.

Pour the pie filling into a casserole, then top with the pie crust. Cut the edges of the crust off with a knife. Make vents in the crust to allow air to escape when the pie is cooking. Use you finger to spread the milk over the crust, to make it shine.

Cook in the oven for about 25 minutes. Check to make sure the crust is brown, adding another minute or two, then checking again.

Serves 4-6

Stealthy Cooking Tip: Instead of using a casserole, ladle the pie filling into individual sized oven proof bowls, then top each bowl with a small crust. This will help with portion control.

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