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Chicken Pot Pie help

We have half of a leftover chicken from Wegmans, so I wanted to attempt chicken pot pie tonight. And yes, I've got a few basic recipes...

I know I can use frozen puffed pastry and all that, but can someone help with a few questions?

1. Do I have to thaw out the pastry? Do I need an egg wash for it?

2. If I want to add a few potatoes (red bliss), do I have to parboil them, or can i just dice them an add them?

3. Some recipes say add frozen veggies, some recipes say fresh and raw, some say fresh and blanch...which should i use? It seems weird to me to "cook" something like frozen peas before I put them in when they cook in no time.

4. Any other tips appreciated! This includes if you have a special recipe :)

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  1. When I make CPP, I sautee celery and carrots first, but use the frozen peas straight out of the bag. If I shelled fresh English peas (actually I sure as hell would eat the plain after all that work) I would par cook. Potatoes I would par cook. I only bake my completed dish long enough to heat everything evenly and brown the crust. I use pie crust, so no help on the puff pastry

    1. hope this helps.

      1 - absolutely thaw the pastry, impossible to use frozen takes about 45 minutes. be careful unfolding. i use and egg white wash
      2 - depending on the size, but i would dice into 1/4-3/8" size, par boil them, nothing worse than a little crunchy tater in the pie. seems to be an easy risk/return analysis
      3 - I cook the onions, add flour and then simmering stock and make a blonde roux color mixture then i i throw the seasoningd, frozen carrots/peas into the mixture along with the cooked chicken. the mixture has just reached a sufficient temp so. the peas and carrots cook almost immediately and then 45 minutes in the oven get them all the way.

      1. 1. Yes. Thaw the pastry so you can roll it out/cut it and do use an egg wash.
        2. You do need to parboil the potatoes unless you dice them very finely.
        3. It depends on how long you're cooking and how much sauce there is. Also remember that it will take a while to get the liquid up to temperature.
        4. While I really like a puffy and buttery chicken pot pie from a diner, I also love "chicken pastel" which uses shredded dark meat flavored with soy and lemon in a cheesy cream sauce further bolstered by the addition of chorizo, mushrooms, carrots, onions and peas. It's serious eats!

        1. thanks for all the answers and help!

          I'll use some celery - thanks Danna. Do you do this just to soften, or should they have color on them?

          I'll parboil the potatoes for a few minutes.

          What is the general opinion on buying a frozen pie crust (which i have to thaw, right?) vs, frozen puffed pastry? I was planning on just using a casserole dish and then topping it with puffed pastry.

          PS: I'm going to base the pot pie on Ina's http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recip... so any tips on adjusting it would be appreciated. I will use the leftover chicken from Wegmans. Does it matter if I have boullion or is it necessary for good pot pie?

          4 Replies
          1. re: Jeserf

            OMG! a stick and half of butter. I don't want to sound mean, but frankly, I was expecting something like that. There's a reason Ina is the size she is. There is ZERO butter in my chicken pot pie and I don't see a need for it. You can make the chicken gravy with the slurry method, but even if you choose to make a roux, you don't need freaking 12 TBS. I also don't add any cream either, but I don't find 1/4 cup to be egregious.

            Anyhow, I mainly saute to soften, but I'm not averse to getting a little color on the veggies. (OK, looking back, I lied about zero butter...I use 1/2 T to saute) I see your recipe calls for blanching the carrots, I think that would work fine.

            I have never used boullion cubes, but I can see why she calls for it. Some people still remember the taste of the frozen pot pies they had as a child. Boullion gives you that strong, chicken-y flavor and salt and some color . My shameful secret is I dose my homemade gravey with a drop of yellow food color. I figured this out years ago, and now my husband thinks I "learned" to make CPP just like he likes it. The brain works in wierd ways.

            1. re: danna

              I wouldn't have added 1 1/2 sticks of butter, and I was going to use low fat half and half instead of heavy cream....I know how to make recipes lighter ;) I would likely saute the veggies in butter/oil mix and probably add 1/2-3/4 stick of butter for the whole pot pie. Is there a different way to approach it? I've never had pot pie made with corn starch and i like the flavor that the butter imparts.

              If they have boullion, I will add it.

              I was also thinking of just simmering the broth to concentrate it and add a bay leaf/some pepper to give it the flavor a boullion cube might without as much sodium.

              1. re: Jeserf

                if you are using reduced fat 1/2 and /12, read the label. Most contain some kind of sweetner (don't ask me why...)

            2. re: Jeserf

              There are at least 2 BC chicken pot pie recipes. Over the years i have doctored one up and here it is:

              Chicken Pot Pie Modifed by Jfood

              Left over chicken or three single breasts
              1 onion diced
              6 T butter
              1/ 3 C flour
              2 ½ C chicken broth
              1 pkg peas and carrots (last time I used a 160z bag of peas, carrots, corn and beans)
              Pepperidge Farm puff pastry (One sheet)
              1 egg white (optional)
              Salt
              Pepper
              Herb de Provence

              · Begin to defrost the puff pastry. This will take about 40 minutes
              · Heat stock in a pot until simmering
              · Melt butter in sided 10-12” pan and cooked onions over medium heat for 15-20 minutes stirring every minute or so.
              · Add flour and continue to cook over medium-low heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. The color should be like blonde hair.
              · Add simmering stock to mixture, whisk until smooth and continue to cook until smooth, at least 1-2 minutes. Season with ~1teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper and 1 teaspoon Herb de Provence
              · Add chicken, and vegetables. Mix completely.
              · Place in Corningware round or oblong baking dish
              · Place Puff pastry on top of baking dish and press around. Cut of square corners.
              · Paint with egg white
              · Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes until golden brown

              Sorry about no amount for the chicken but its whatever is leftover.

            3. For my CPP: I saute onions, celery, and garlic in a wide pan, add diced potatoes, turnips, seasonings (thyme, s&p, bay leaf, rosemary), and stir, add some stock (which can be fresh, canned, or boullion), boil until potatoes have softened. I thicken with a bit of cornstarch or a flour slurry, then dump the whole mess, along with frozen peas and cooked chicken, into a prepared crust. Top, and bake until done.

              It's pretty foolproof, flexible enough to add whatever veggies you have on hand (I esp. like to add turnips or winter squash), and avoids scary tactics like cream soup or 12 sticks of butter. Pretty much fat free (except for the crust), and works with pastry, puff, or biscuit topping. It also has the advantage of minimizing the dirty dishes, and flavoring the gravy with the veggies- plus the starch in the potatoes will thicken the sauce a bit as well.

              5 Replies
              1. re: happybellynh

                I like this idea...nothing is parboiled?

                Would I have to make a slurry with the flour or could I just add the flour to the sauteed veggies then add the stock?

                I really like thick chicken pot pie, and I'm not too worried about adding a little butter (just not 15 sticks!).

                Thanks for everyone's help - I've never made it before so sorry about all the ?s!

                1. re: Jeserf

                  That's a good question. I have on occasion gotten lazy with my slurry and wound up with a few lumps. I await happy belly's answer.

                  It's amazing the variations in how much fat can be in a recipe. My husband is always asking me in restaurants...how much fat will be in "x" if I order it? Who knows? If it's chicken pot pie I make, could be practically fat free , as happybelly notes. Or, it could have more fat than you ever imagined. I just never know what to tell him. I just found out some people put melted butter in their Thanksgiving stuffing/dressing...that would never have occurred to me.

                  1. re: danna

                    As to the thickening... what I normally end up doing is what Jeserf suggests, and add flour to the veggies, and make a quasi-roux before I add stock- BUT I've found that I never seem to be able to add enough to make it very thick- just so-so thick (which is generally fine with me). If I want it thicker, and I'm too lazy for a slurry, a add a little cornstarch to some of the hot stock in a small dish, stir until smooth, then add to the boiling stock/veg mixture.

                    1. re: happybellynh

                      You could always add a knob or two of beurre manie if it isn't thick enough and avoid the slurry.

                    2. re: danna

                      the flour to the veggies is the way jfood goes and he cooks it til it's a nice golden roux. the added nutiness of the golden adds a nice flavor to the end dish.

                2. I have a great recipe for chicken pot pie that calls for the frozen puff pastry. What you do is thaw the puff pastry, then roll it out on a large floured cutting board. You roll it out so that it is about 3" larger on all sides than the casserole dish that you are using for the pot pie. After rolling it out to the proper size, you stick it back in the freezer on the cutting board. When you are ready to put your casserole in the oven, you remove the frozen pastry and cutting board, brush both sides of the pastry with egg wash, place on top of the casserole dish (being sure that the bottom of the pastry does not dip into the casserole contents), and bake. Turns out perfect every time.

                  1. This may be even a better idea to make your own given this article.

                    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21209566/

                    1. Mmmm...All sound great! My only additions would be a splash of dry sherry and thyme...Also, puff pastry on CPP is a bit rich for me...I use a frozen Pillsbury pie crust on top...Lazy, but comforting!

                      1. I really like this recipe...

                        http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Turkey-P...

                        I like it because you can pre-cook and thicken the sauce to your liking (it has a great, flavorful, herbed, not too rich sauce) and I like the proportions of the sauce, veggie, and meat. The only changes I make is that I increase the oregano from 1 tsp to 1 tbsp and I use 2 cups of good chicken stock (kind that comes in the carton) instead of bullion. I like using red potatoes and baby carrots because I am lazy (no peeling). I also use Smart Balance instead of butter, but that's just because that's what I tend to keep in the house. Good luck!

                        1. thank you all for all your help/suggestions.

                          Update on how it went....I made a version of my moms recipe...
                          roughly:
                          6 tbsp butter (i eyeballed it, hard to measure Plugra!)
                          1 onion, diced
                          1/2-3/4 bag of trader joes frozen organic mix of corn, green beans, carrots, and peas (this was a good find)
                          1/2 cup flour
                          2 1/2 cup stock
                          1 1/2 cup milk (I used 2%)
                          1 tbsp thyme
                          Chicken: whatever amount I picked off the leftover roast chicken - roughly 2 cups.
                          salt/pepper

                          She did say she uses sherry, but I didn't have any on hand. I should have at least added some white wine/lemon juice to perk it up.

                          That said - for my first time making CPP - it was really, really good and BF loved it. I used puffed pastry from trader joes as well, and it worked well. Plus, it's 1/2 the price of the stuff they sell at whole foods.

                          It was also very, very easy to make, once i got over my fear of ruining it and wasting all that food. Boyfriend loved it - but agrees that it needed a tad bit more salt during the cooking, and I think a splash of sherry would give it the right finish.

                          Thanks again everyone - i'm looking forward to making this again!

                          1. My CPP consists of 2 C roto. chicken in lg. dice. Fork tender lg. dice potatoes, cooked sliced carrots, frozen corn. The sauce (which is great) is 1 sm.- med. onion, 2-3 stalks celery, chopped and softened in 6 Tbl. butter. Then add 6 Tbl. flour and cook for 2-4 minutes. Add one 14.5oz. can (or fresh HM stock) low sodium chicken broth, heat, stirring, until it boils. Then add 1 cup half & half, stir in and cook until boiling, then add 1-2 Tbl. parsley. Thin if needed with more broth. Pour over Chicke and veggies and fold together. I spoon this into deep remekins that I line with Wegmans pie crust, cover with crust and bake at 400 for 1/2 hour or until G/B/D.

                            1. Alton Brown has a slightly deconstructed CPP which I like to make because I don't like mucking around with pie dishes. Actually is a CCPP - *curried* chicken pot pie.
                              http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recip...
                              I've also made it topped with circles of biscuit dough instead of puff pastry.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: drgreg

                                Julia did a rabbit pot pie using a delicious herbed (thyme and marjoram, I think) biscuit crust. It's lovely.