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Chicken Pot Pies

When I make chicken pot pies I expect there to be a gravy type liquid inside, not thick and almost dry. What am I doing incorrectly?

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  1. Could you send the recipe you are using? Off the top of my head, it sounds like not enough liquid in the pie.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sueatmo

      Thank you for the quick reply.
      This is basically what I do. I saute the celery and onions in some margarine or butter, depending. Then I stirred in some flour; to about 1/2 cup onions and 1/2 cup celery, I would add about 2 tablespoons of flour stirring for a few minutes to cook the roux a little. Then I would add about 2 cups of chicken broth with seasonings. . I usually cook the carrots separately. The peas I would put in frozen. I don't use potatoes and I generally make 5" individual pies.

      To put it together I add maybe 6 to 8 pieces of approx a good 1/2" cooked chicken breast in each, along with an 1/8th of a cup of peas, carrots and then ladle in the cooled "gravy". No, this isn't a "recipe" per say but something I myself came up with. Perhaps I should bake them at a higher oven temp. to brown faster? I usually bake them at 375.

      I'm kinda perplexed about this. I do prefer when one cuts into the pie there is a "gravy".

    2. I wouldn't say you're doing anything wrong. It's just the recipe you're using. The potatoes and chicken tend to absorb liquid.

      I would try doubling the gravy portion of your recipe the next time around.

      1. One of my father's FAVORITE meals was pork pot pie... made from left-overs. Not enough meat for meal for 4. Usually decent amount of left-over roasted/browned carrots, celery, onions and potatoes. And left-over gravy. If veggies were sparse, would cook up a few more carrots or potatoes. Heat up gravy, add all the meat and veggies to warm up. Pour in casserole dish and top with a crust... pie dough (NOT my forte), can of pop-open biscuits, or when REALLY special... a sheet of puff pastry. Since filling was already HOT, only needed to go into oven long enough to cook/brown whatever crust you chose to use.

        Also a great way to get rid of Thanksgiving left-over when you're just TIRED of eating them.

        1. I make chicken pot pie a lot, though not in the summer.

          my take: Your sauce is too thick. And you probably aren't using enough of it.

          First off, make it thinner. And make more of it.

          Second try cooking your ongredients whatever they are to whatever state you want them. Or not if frozen or precooked. Then mix up the ingredients in a big bowl and add your sauce, which I assume is velouté. Make sure to use a lot of sauce. Then spoon into your baking dishes.

          The thinner/more rule also works for Mac and cheese.

          1 Reply
          1. re: C. Hamster

            Your advice is certainly appreciated and well taken. Could I use say 1/3 filling to 2/3's sauce? Actually, my sauce is similar to half as thick as a gravy would be. I'm anxious to make a "perfect" pot pie :-) as I'm going to prepare them for 15 guests. I dislike being embarrassed (though it has happened). Again, thank you; and especially for the mac and cheese idea.

          2. Either too much filling or too much flour in your gravy or you are cooking too long. I make a great chicken pot pie, but most of my ingredients are precooked before adding to the casserole dish. I got my recipe years ago from cooking light magazine. If you are interested in the recipe, I will post it.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Ruthie789

              I seem to think I may be baking it too long. I had an idea that perhaps if I par-baked the bottom crust a bit; cooled it and then filled it; topped it and baked it at a higher temp. for a shorter period. But please, I would appreciate any and all recipes and ideas.

              1. re: Sarika

                I will dig out my recipe for you. I think it had about 3 cups of chicken broth and at the end you add some milk that has been mixed with flour. Do you really need a bottom crust? I only have a top crust and sometimes I use puff pastry instead of a traditional crust.

                1. re: Ruthie789

                  The more in my recipe repetroire the better :-). It also would be sincerely appreciated.

                  Regarding the bottom crust issue. I myself rather it plain; but the group for which I'm preparing it for prefers the bottom crust. And yes, I've seen the puff pastry and it really does add a certain je ne se quois. If it's not too much trouble, please do send it on. Thank you.

                  1. re: Sarika

                    As requested:
                    9 cups of water
                    1 tablespoon of black peppercorns
                    3 stalks of celery each cut into 4 pieces
                    1 small onion quartered
                    1 bay leaf
                    2 1/2 cups of chicken pieces skinned ( I keep the skin on mine and degrease broth afterwards)
                    Add the first six ingredients to an 8 quart stock pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered for 1 hour and remove from heat. Remove chicken from broth and place in bowl and chill for 15 minutes. Strain broth through a cheesecloth and reserve 4 1/2 cups of broth and reserve rest for another use. Remove chicken from bones and cut into bite size pieces.
                    1 1/2 cup diced unpeeled red round potatoes
                    1/2 cup of celery
                    1/2 cup chopped red pepper
                    1 clove of garlic minced
                    3/4 cup of thinly sliced carrots
                    1/2 cup of chopped leek
                    1 cup sliced mushrooms
                    1/2 cup of frozen peas
                    Bring broth to a boil and reduce to medium heat. Add potato and next 3 ingredients, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add carrot and leek cover and cook 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and peas cover and cook 5 minutes or until all vegetables are tender. Add a milk mixture as follows:
                    Milk mix blended together and then added to vegetables and broth.
                    1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour
                    1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning
                    1/2 teaspoon of salt
                    1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
                    1 cup 1% low fat milk
                    Whisk the milk and flour and seasonings and add to the broth and vegetables. Heat 3 minutes stirring constantly. Remove from heat an add chicken.
                    Coat a 13 x 9 x2 inch baking dish with cooking spray and add mixture.
                    Top with your favorite crust
                    Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until your topping is golden. This recipe calls for a biscuit topping as follows:
                    2 cups of all purpose flour
                    2 teaspoons of baking powder
                    1/2 teaspoon of salt
                    1/4 teaspoon of sugar
                    1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder
                    1 cup of 1% low fat milk
                    1 1/2 tablespoons of margarine melted
                    Combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl stir well. Add milk and margarine stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened and yields 16 biscuits.

                    So that ends this lengthy but really good chicken pot pie recipe which has come from Cooking Light Jan/Feb 1994 and was called The Right Chicken Pot Pie by Mary S. Creel

            2. Take a look at Marion Cunningham's recipe for proportions. I (sort of) use the one from Lost Recipes, except (oh, here we go!) I saute the onions/carrots/celery and add mushrooms to the pan. I use thawed frozen peas. She calls for cream (I think) in the sauce/gravy in addition to stock-- I probably use 2% milk most often because that's what I have on hand. This dish always gets smiles all around. If you'd like more specifics, pipe up and I'll go grab the book.

              4 Replies
              1. re: monfrancisco

                Please go "grab the booK' I'll be waiting. Thanks.

                1. re: Sarika

                  Done! Here's what she asks for:

                  Sauce-- 6T ea flour & butter, 2 c chix broth & 1 c heavy cream

                  4 c cooked chix

                  Veg-- 12 small white onions (I dice a regular one), 3/4 c peas, 3/4 c carrots, 3/4 c celery. As I said, I include mushrooms and some thyme here and saute.


                  I mix it all up and top with pastry. Slash the pastry a couple of times. Bake at 425 for 25 - 30 mins

                  Hope this helps.

                    1. re: Sarika

                      My pleasure! Glad to pass it along, and hope you get a pie you like.

              2. I have a recipe that everyone seems to love, and it seems to have a good veggie-meat-sauce ratio. I'd be glad to post it so you could compare proportions if you like. But to give you an idea, I use 3 c. stock, 1/3 c wine, and 1/3 cream to end up with 8-9 c filling.

                3 Replies
                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                  I'd love to have that recipe if you'd would be so kind as to post it. Yes.

                  1. re: Sarika

                    Here it is. I hope it helps.

                    POT PIES

                    6-7 T. butter
                    2 lg. carrots, cut into chunks, ¾ -1 inch thick
                    10-12 oz. fresh pearl onions, peeled (or ½ # frozen, added at end)
                    2 c mushrooms, wild, domestic, or a mix, cleaned and halved or quartered
                    1 lg. leek, white and pale green part only, cleaned and sliced
                    1 lg. or 2 sm. shallot (s), minced
                    2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
                    2 cloves garlic, minced
                    1/3 c. all purpose flour
                    3. c chicken or turkey stock
                    1/3 c. dry white wine
                    1/3 c. heavy cream
                    Salt and pepper to taste
                    2 ½ -3 c. cooked chicken or turkey, in chunks and pieces
                    2 T. chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
                    ½ c. frozen or fresh green peas

                    Yields 8-9 c. filling

                    Pie or puff pastry—enough for 6 individual pies or 2 9- or 10-inch pies

                    Melt 1 T. Butter in lg. skillet over med. heat. Saute carrots 7-8 minutes until barely tender.
                    Set aside in separate bowl. [If using fresh pearl onions, add another T. of butter and sauté
                    6-8 minutes until they begin to soften. Add to bowl.] Add another 2 T. butter, raise heat to
                    med. high, and sauté mushrooms until they begin to brown. Add to bowl.

                    Melt remaining butter in same pot over medium heat. Add leeks; sauté about 5 minutes, and
                    add shallots, thyme, and garlic to leeks. Sauté another 3-4 minutes. Add flour and stir 2 minutes. Stir
                    in broth and white wine. Increase heat to high and bring to boil, stirring constantly.
                    Add cream and boil until sauce thickens enough to coat spoon, whisking frequently, 5-6
                    minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

                    Preheat oven to 375. To bowl of sautéed ingredients, add chicken or turkey. Pour gravy over
                    mixture in dish. Stir to blend. Cool 45 minutes.

                    Add parsley & peas [and frozen pearl onions if not using fresh] to mixture in bowl.

                    Butter casserole dish (or individual-portion dishes). Pour in filling. Top with pastry, pressing
                    edges to seal. Cut hole or slits to vent. Bake on top rack of oven, about 30 minutes, until pastry
                    is brown and filling is bubbling.

                    Vegetarian: omit meat; increase amounts of carrots, leeks, and mushrooms (and more butter for
                    sautéing ); substitute vegetable stock for poultry stock.

                    Beef variation: omit poultry stock, white wine, poultry; substitute equal amounts of beef stock,
                    dry red wine, and small cubes of chuck, browned well, or pieces of leftover steak.

                    This makes a nice bubbing medium thick sauce. If I wanted an even thinner sauce, I'd reduce the flour in my recipe from 1/3 to 1/4 c. Or reduce the cream--or you could omit it altogether (but I wouldn't, not in this recipe anyway.)
                    As you can see, I don't use a bottom crust, but I can't see how your having one would affect the consistency of your sauce.

                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                      You've went through so much "typing" :-))). But know how much I appreciate this gesture. Thank you. I'm happy you included the beef variation. My DH will love THAT.

                2. Your sauce sounds a little too thick. Try making the gravy thinner than what you would if it were gravy to pour over a roast. I'd also make extra sauce, if you don't use it all you can always freeze it for a future meal.

                  1 Reply
                  1. I made one last night and had the exact same problem! When I put it into the crust it looked PERFECT but evidently you lose quite a bit of the liquid to evaporation or to the crust as it bakes. So mine was a little dry too.

                    I think it needs to look "too liquid-y" in order to come out right after baking.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Bliss149

                      Your sauce should have the consistency of evaporated milk or just a little thicker. As well you have to have some space in the casserole dish, if you add to much meat, it will absorb the liquid and be a very heavy and dry dish.

                    2. ina's chicken pot pie is perfect. except that it makes enough filling for about 3 times as many pies as she says it does.