Anne Byrn’s Chicken Pot Pie
About the recipe
Pot pie — whether containing chicken or beef — is an American classic. It has appeared in print since 1792, according to John Mariani in The Dictionary of American Food & Drink. The name comes from the pot or deep pie pan used to bake the savory pie. The formula is pretty simple: cooked chicken, a roux of butter and flour, chicken broth, and chopped carrots, peas, and other vegetables baked with pastry crust on the top and bottom. And it was a homemade staple long before Swanson’s marketed frozen pot pies to the busy homemaker in 1951.
This recipe, from contributor Anne Byrn, takes a few shortcuts, but still relies on a homemade sauce to bring it all together. Use peas, carrots, green beans, asparagus tips, mushrooms, leeks and squash. Cut the larger veggies into uniform-size pieces so they cook through evenly. Feel free to use leftover cooked chicken or storebought rotisserie chicken. Both white and dark meat work well.
Hands On Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 25 minutes
2 rounds pie crust, fresh or frozen
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh or frozen vegetables of your choice (see note)
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (see note)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chicken broth
Place a rack in the center of the oven, and heat to 450 degrees.
Place one pastry round in a 9-inch pie pan that is 2 inches deep or a small casserole dish. (If you use a casserole dish, you may need to use additional pastry to line the bottom and sides of the pan. Use enough pastry to overlap an inch over the sides.) Crimp the edge of the pastry with a fork, then prick the bottom a few times. Bake the pastry until it is well browned, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
While the crust for the pie bakes, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the vegetables and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the chicken, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and chicken, then season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the flour is incorporated, about 1 minute longer. Add the broth to the skillet, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly, 1 to 2 minutes.
Pour the chicken mixture into the baked crust. Cover the top with the remaining pastry. (If you’d like, you can cut the top pastry into strips and weave it into a lattice over the top.) Press down around the edges, crimp the two together with your fingertips, and press around the edge of the pie with a fork to seal the top and bottom crusts. Make several vents in the top pastry with a sharp knife.
Place the pie in the oven, and bake until the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbling, 20 to 30 minutes. If the pie seems done but the top is not brown, run the pie under the broiler briefly. Let rest for 10 minutes, then serve.
Photo: Danielle Atkins