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Can you help me savage the chicken pot pie?

Next time I will do much better I'm sure. But sadly I totally missed the mark flavor wise this time, and as I have enough leftover filling to make two more large pies, I want to see if there is anything I can do to fix my mistakes so they resemble pot pie more.

I used maybe three cups of frozen trinity (diced celery, onions, and bell pepper), a cup of frozen corn, and two cups of dehydrated diced carrots. this was the problem. Two cups of dehydrated carrots is way more than two cups of regular carrots. I softened them in a stick of butter, added some minced garlic and thyme, then coated them with flour, then added about 7 cups of chicken bouillon water and half a cup of cream. Let it simmer and thicken (about twenty minutes), then added some diced chicken. Yet another stupid substitution: I had some pre seasoned fajita chicken (mostly salt, pepper, and some kind of meat tenderizer) that was defrosted already, and needed to be used. So in it went, simmered ten minutes longer.

The color was like a golden brown. It tasted okay, just not as great as I wanted. Mostly it tasted like carrots. Of course. It got to be the right consistency. Then I put it in some crust, baked it in the oven for 20 min at 425, and served it.

My husband liked it. I don't. It doesn't taste like cpp. It tastes like something else. The two fatal flaws being the carrots and the fajita chicken.

What can I do to rescue this?

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  1. I assume that by "rescue" you mean you have more of the gravy mixture available to make additional pies but aren't really keen on the idea of using it in its current form.
    When you've got a situation like you describe the rescue sequence usually involves some form of dilution. Adding more of the original (or substitute) ingredients without carrots might be a good start. Removing some of the carrot pieces before diluting the mix might also be worthwhile.
    Point is that, if carrots are the culprit, removing them and/or increasing the original recipe to accommodate them in proper proportion is probably the best solution.
    You could add a touch of lemon juice or vinegar to reduce the sweetness of the carrots but that'd be difficult to judge and might even make matters worse.

    1. I would call it a lesson learned and let it go.

      1 Reply
      1. re: sandylc

        Indeed. Aside from the dehydrated carrots, I'm not sure that the quality of the ingredients put you in the best position to create a satisfactory dish.

      2. If you want to stay with the pot pie I would add mushroom, potato and/or lima beans to balance out the mix. Perhaps a little red pepper and sage.

        I would be inclined to move in a different direction. Since you are trying to deal with the fajita seasoning and the excess sweetness of the carrots I would turn it into a casserole with a vaguely SW theme. For the bottom use a layer beans (black or pinto) perhaps mixed with Rotel. Then add your chicken mixture. Top with a savory cornbread recipe - I'd use one which had some cheese in it. Bake until the cornbread topping is done. You might want to heat the beans and chicken mixtures first so they will be guaranteed to be bubbly when the topping is done!

        1 Reply
        1. re: meatn3

          +1- is this a homemade version? Poor OP doesn't have the balls-to-the-wall sodium mandate, and the obligatory aji-no-moto.

        2. I would adjust the spicing and serve over rice. (But I'm cheap.)

          Can you be more specific than "It doesn't taste like cpp. It tastes like something else."? What about the flavor bothers you? What seems to be missing?

          1 Reply
          1. re: DuchessNukem

            It tastes like sweet chicken pot pie, like a pottage. The fajita flavoring is not hot at all; I am pretty positive it was mostly a meat tenderizer rub with salt, pepper, and a little bit of cumin. This reminds me more of sweet potatoes than tex mex. I think it is severely lacking in celery and onion flavor. I also completely forgot about peas or lima beans. I think peppers, corn, and carrots combined made for something sweeter than I predicted.

          2. Sounds like you already savaged it. Now the problem is salvaging it.

            1 Reply
            1. If it were me, I would remove some of the carrots, add some shredded rotisserie chicken, and maybe a packet of something like Swanson's Flavor Boost to up the chicken flavor of the sauce.

              1. You could puree the whole thing and call it carrot soup. Perhaps add a little cream to soften the flavor.

                1 Reply
                1. re: jmcarthur8

                  I agree with the soup idea. Once it's pureed, thin with stock if needed, add cream, and call it bisque.

                2. I thought this was going to be a much more interesting topic....

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Karl S

                    yeah, violence to a chicken pot pie. Just kidding, Kchallis.

                      1. re: Karl S

                        Lol you guys are hilarious!!! Sometimes swype has a mind of its own.

                        1. re: Kchallis

                          I was more thinking along the lines of American Pie.

                    1. I can understand not wanting to throw out all that not-really-pot-pie so one of the suggestions above might work in the short run.

                      Your biggest problem may well have been all those frozen and dehydrated products. I don't know what fresh grocery products you have access to, but if you want to do something really well, I would go for all fresh vegetables (like those regular carrots) and real chicken (leftovers are perfect). And chuck the bouillon water and replace it with either homemade or a carton or a can of chicken broth.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: chicgail

                        I know, and of course you are right about ingredients. This was my "real world" experience, and my real world involves three children under the age of three. So I guess I'm wishing you would cut me a little more slack instead of pointing out where I obviously went wrong. I already am very aware of how I "savaged" this dish, hehe.

                        1. re: Kchallis

                          Those frozen and dehydrated products are probably "fresher" than the stuff shipped in trucks to the grocery stores. No worries. :)

                          1. re: Kchallis

                            I so get it. It's not like I don't use pre-made or frozen ingredients (corn, peas - even bouillon when I'm really stuck). And it's not like I haven't cooked utter disasters. I just try not to make them too public (LOL!)

                            Sorry if I sounded harsh. It's just that that's what jumped out at me when I read your post. Good luck saving it.

                        2. I doubt it will "salvage" it, but for future reference, I almost always add a touch of freshly ground nutmeg to any creamed chicken dish I do.

                          1. Add salt, and poultry seasoning, or sage and thyme. Those flavors shouldn't clash so much with the fajita flavors, especially since you said that the flavor was mostly carrots.

                            1. Typical ratio of onion:celery:carrot is 2:1:1. You need to increase your onion and celery ratio a bit to balance out the carrots.

                              1. Thanks so much for all the helpful advice. I have a lot of good ideas now that I would not have thought of. So helpful. I'll let you know how it turns out. And...sorry to be....snippy...it is just SO depressing when what you thought was a clever short cut turns out to be a moronic long cut. I know that ideally I would have done things differently....like remember to buy carrots and onions in the store instead of being distracted by my three year old running around and the one year old hitting the 9 month old in the cart. I hate shopping with children but sometimes it is a necessary evil. When I got home I was so annoyed, and then thought maybe the trinity I had just froze for gumbo would work. Aaaaaand then the carrots and the rest is......history. In my defense, it tasted good. Just not like chicken pot pie. In the end, what's it all for anyway? The only part my kids eat is the crust...

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: Kchallis

                                  One thing I didn't see mentioned here and honestly is my "base" for chicken pot pie....is Cambell's Cream of Chicken Soup. Get the condensed and mix it into your existing fill and it should help balance out the creamy chicken flavor you are looking for. Why over complicate things any further.

                                  1. re: Kchallis

                                    I'm with ya, I get frustrated when variations don't go as expected, and I cannot STAND to lose food. And yet, I also keep a stable of frozen and dried ingredients around as stand-ins (and sometimes better than fresh, esp out of season or area).

                                    You sound like you've self-diagnosed your problems upthread, and gotten some good suggestions too.

                                    I'd suggest kennel training for the kids but a when I did offer that to a co-worker he explained that it would be illegal. He got a bit huffy. Gosh, how would I know? ;)

                                    1. re: DuchessNukem

                                      An old fashioned shopping list - on paper, stuck with a magnet to the refrigerator, is essential for anyone who's stressed or rushed when shopping. It won't vanish with an accidental keystroke. It helps minimize impulse buys, too. I see so many people in supermarkets with one hand on the cart and the other holding the phone to their ear as they ask their better halves or kids what they want for dinner, or if the pantry has run out of this or that. Take along a pen to cross things off as you get them; otherwise it's easy to overlook an item from your list.

                                      1. re: greygarious

                                        Hehe if this is what happens when I do exactly what you suggest (as I do) then imagine the disasters if I made a list on my phone? Especially since my phone likes to slip typos in, hehehe

                                        1. re: Kchallis

                                          Try Cozi - it is a free family scheduling system which also lets you make lists. You can use your computer and then access the lists on your cell phone. Very handy. I keep grocery lists, hardware store lists and even a list for all my groupons, etc. so I can check just one spot to see what I have, who it is through and when it expires.

                                  2. Is there some reason why you can't use real ingredients? Are you camping or something?

                                    Chicken pot pie is really simple if you start with quality ingredients. Simmer chicken on the bone in stock until cooked through. Cut or shred into big pieces. Add onions, carrots, and celery in large chunks. until cooked through but not mushy. Thyme is a nice addition. Thicken with a roux or cream and a bit of white whine. S&P to taste.

                                    Don't overcook everything. Cover with a pie crust and bake until the pie crust is golden brown about 30-40 minutes.

                                    I've never seen corn or bell pepper added.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: JudiAU

                                      Read the thread. She's a busy mom. It was a simple mistake.

                                      1. re: JudiAU

                                        Corn and red bell pepper are GREAT additions, though.

                                      2. Okay, from the outset: I didn't read through this, so forgive me if I repeat a suggestion. It sounds like you lost the classic cpp flavor and threw in some muddly spices, and those can't be removed. What you can do is give up the classic flavor you're after, and dilute it with strong chicken stock to soup consistency, perhaps adding some corn kernels, diced zucchini or other squash, maybe some cooked beans, a bit of tomato juice or cubed tomato, and a good strong hit of lime. Serve it as Sopa de Lima, with a topping of crushed tortilla chips, grated cheese and sour cream.