Prep time: 20-30 minutes (total)
Cook time: 35 minutes
Chicken pot pie is one of the most delicious things that winter can bring. It is warm, flavorful, and flaky. One of my favorite Barefoot Contessa episodes is when Ina Garten makes these adorable personal mini pot pies. My recipe is meant for a 8-12 inch dish, but you are welcome to make it in smaller ramekins. That’s what I love about this dish. You can make a big batch for family dinner or fill smaller dishes for a sophisticated take on it.
Deliciousness and versatility aside, pie crusts typically call for enormous amounts of butter. Rest assured, friends! This is a healthier (but still delicious!) recipe for two reasons: first, it only calls for a top layer of crust – in my experience the bottom layer ends up being a mushy mess anyhow. Secondly, my recipe uses HALF the butter. How do I still get that delicious, flaky crust? Vodka. I’m not kidding. This recipe replaces half the water with vodka. As the alcohol bakes off it leaves behind a delicious, flaky crust.
One last note about this recipe is that it’s not soupy like some pot pies. Soupy pot pie is delicious, but would be completely impractical since there is no bottom crust here. The ingredients are covered in a thick, delicious gravy that won’t spill all over your plate.
1. Pie Crust
1 C all-purpose flour
1/4 C whole wheat flour
1/2 T sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 T butter
1/4 + 1 T mixture of cold water and vodka
1 T olive oil
1 tsp butter
2 C carrots, chopped
2 C celery, chopped
1/2 medium-sized onion, chopped
1 C frozen peas
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of thyme
1/2 tsp Herbs de Provence
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 T flour
1 C chicken stock
1 1/3 C whole milk
1 1/4 lb pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed (about 2 1/2 C)
4 cups water (you can use chicken stock for a more intense flavor)
1 egg white
1. Combine dry pie crust ingredients. Cut cold butter into small pieces and sprinkle over dry ingredients. Using a pastry fork or two forks, incorporate the butter into the mixture until it resembles clumpy sand. Add water/vodka mixture in small batches, mixing for 10 seconds each time. This is how you prevent an overly moist crust! Once the entire crust sticks together, form a patty and cover in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.
2. Heat oil and butter on medium setting on stove. You can either use an oven safe pan or transfer all of the ingredients to a casserole dish before baking. Add onions, carrots, celery, peas, and seasonings. Cook for 6-8 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
3. In the meantime, fill a small pot with water or chicken stock. Add cubed chicken once the water starts boiling. Boil for 6 minutes, remove chicken, and cut into small pieces.
4. Add 2 T flour to coat vegetables. Mix in chicken, chicken stock, and milk. This is the time to taste the gravy and make sure you like the seasoning.
5. Bring to boil for about 1 minute, then reduce to a simmer while you roll out the dough.
6. Roll dough into the shape and size necessary to cover dish. You will have to work a little bit, since there isn’t as much butter as in a normal pie crust. But it is enough to cover a 12″ dish and then some. Just keep rolling!
*If you are transferring to an oven pan, now is the time to do this!
7. Cover the dish with the dough. If the filling doesn’t quite reach the top, I recommend draping it on top of the dish and then pushing down right on top of the filling. Fold any remaining dough over to form a crust (if there is way too much, cut some of the excess dough). To form a wavy edge, use your left thumb and forefinger to hold the crust down and pinch around the forefinger of your right hand, which should be under the edge of the crust.
8. Using a sharp knife, cut slits in the crust so steam can escape. Brush egg white over the entire crust. Bake for 35 minutes or until the crust is browned and the filling is bubbling up through the slits.
This dish can be refrigerated and cooked later. Simply follow steps 1-7, cover the dish, and refrigerate. When you are ready to cook, cut the slits in the pie, brush with egg white, and bake! This is my go-to make ahead meal when I have busy evenings.
Hungry for more great recipes? Explore more Lawyer in the Kitchen!