Chicken Pot Pie, Version I

 Chicken pot pie is a great recipe for leftovers.  It does take a weekend afternoon-to-night to assemble everything and bake it, but once it’s done you can freeze it and reheat it on an especially busy weeknight.  If you have some of the ingredients (chicken stock, cooked chicken) lying around the house, it might take an hour to assemble. 

This recipe comes from America’s Test Kitchen. 

credit: America’s Test Kitchen

 When Mr. Bread Maiden and I were watching the episode, I thought the way they used a crumble topping instead of a biscuit topping was sacrilege.  That could not POSSIBLY be the best chicken pot pie.  You know why? Because *I* make the best chicken pot pie, and it uses the biscuit recipe I outline here.

But, you know what?  ATK’s crumble may not be the *best* topping.  But I thought about what it would take to make my biscuit topping, and how I had already made chicken stock from scratch, and roasted a chicken from scratch, and cooked vegetables and mushrooms and made a sauce, and it was 8:30pm and there were tons of dishes in the sink … and I went with the crumble.

If you want to be a domestic goddess and make all the elements yourself, I suggest you make one element per day so you don’t go crazy and exhaust yourself, like I did.

By the way, even though this recipe comes from America’s Test Kitchen, they put their recipes behind a paywall.  So I found the recipe here, at Food, Folks and Fun.

YOU WILL NEED:

1 1/2 pounds cooked chicken or one whole raw chicken
3 cup chicken broth (or some carrots, some celery, an onion and a head of garlic)
2 tbls vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
2 small celery ribs, chopped fine
salt and ground black pepper to taste
10 ounces cremini mushrooms, stems trimmed, caps wiped clean and sliced thin
1 t soy sauce
1 t tomato paste
4 Tbls (1/2 stick or 56g) unsalted butter
1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk or cream
2 tsp juice from 1 lemon
3 Tbls minced fresh parsley leaves
3/4 cup frozen baby peas
2 cups or 10oz all-purpose flour
6 Tbls or 86g butter, cut into chunks and chilled
3/4 cups plus 2 Tbls cream
1/2 cup or 1 oz parmesan cheese
2 tsp baking powder 
1/8 tsp cayenne powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
 

If you already have chicken stock and leftover cooked chicken, please feel free to skip the next two steps.

ROAST CHICKEN

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Set a roasting or baking rack into a deep roasting pan.
3. Rub a chicken with melted butter, salt and pepper and place on the baking rack.  Put the pan in the oven for about 10 minutes.

4.  Turn the temperature down to 375 and bake another 30 minutes or so, until the internal temperature is about 145-150.  It doesn’t matter if the skin isn’t crispy; you’re just going to discard the skin anyway.  Take it out and let it cool before you take the meat off the carcass and shred it up.  Place the chicken meat in a bowl and set aside.
 
 
5. You aren’t finished with the oven yet!  Turn it back up to 450!  If you don’t have chicken stock available, make this easy stock recipe and let it simmer while you cook the vegetables and mushrooms and bake the topping.
CHICKEN STOCK
 
1. Take the chicken carcass and place in a large stock pot.  Cover with cold water, turn your stove up to high heat and let the water come to a boil.
2. While it’s coming up to a boil, cut up a carrot (or just use the stems and leaves from the carrots you plan to use in the filling), some celery (or the leaves from the celery in the filling), cut up an onion into quarters and a head of garlic in half, and add to the water.
 
 3. Once it comes to a boil, turn the heat down and simmer for about an hour.  Turn off the heat, let the stock cool a little bit, and then pour the stock through a sieve into a very large bowl or a large measuring cup.
 
 
4. Measure out three cups of stock, then pack up the rest into plastic containers and then refrigerate or freeze.
VEGETABLES
1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, carrots, and celery.  Cover and cook, stirring occasionally until just tender, 5 to 7 minutes.  Set aside in the bowl with the chicken pieces.
 
 
2. Add a little more oil if you need it, and put the cremini mushrooms in the Dutch oven.  Stir until the mushrooms are covered with oil, then throw the lid on and let them cook until mushrooms have released their juices, about 5 minutes. 
 

3. Remove cover and stir in soy sauce and tomato paste. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently, until liquid has evaporated, mushrooms are well browned, and dark fond begins to form on surface of pan, about 5 minutes. 
4. Transfer mushrooms to bowl with chicken and vegetables. Set aside.
 
 
 TOPPING  
 
1. Combine 10 oz flour, baking powder, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper in large bowl. Sprinkle 85g of chilled butter pieces over top of flour. 
 
 
2. Using fingers, rub butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Stir in Parmesan. Add 3/4 cup plus 2 tbls cream and stir until just combined. 
3. Crumble mixture into irregularly shaped pieces ranging from 1/2 to ¾ inch each onto parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. 
 
 
4. Bake at 450 degrees F until fragrant and starting to brown, 10 to 13 minutes. Set aside to cool, then break up into chunks.
 
 
FILLING
 
1. Heat 1/2 cup of butter in empty Dutch oven over medium heat. When foaming subsides, stir in 1/2 cup of flour and cook 1 minute. 
 
 
2. Slowly whisk in reserved chicken broth and milk. Bring to simmer, scraping pan bottom with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits, then continue to simmer until sauce fully thickens, about 1 minute.
3. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and 2 tablespoons parsley.  Stir chicken-vegetable mixture and peas into sauce. 
 
4. Pour mixture into 13 by 9-inch baking dish or casserole dish of similar size. 
 
 
5. Scatter crumble topping evenly over filling. Bake on rimmed baking sheet until filling is bubbling and topping is well browned, 12 to 15 minutes. 
6. Sprinkle with remaining tablespoon parsley and serve, or let cool, cover with foil, and stick in the freezer. 
 
 
The filling is nice and creamy, and the crumbles stay nice and crunchy on top.  All in all, a fabulous meal that I will definitely make again!

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