Thursday, September 1, 2011

My Sweet Life Has a Savory Side

        There's a time and a place for everything. No matter how much I love sugar and its sweetness, the two of us go our separate ways come dinner time. When I'm hungry, my tummy cries for nourishment in the form of a hearty meal and it's a need that no slice of cake (no matter how good) can satisfy. So, at around 6:30 P.M.--standard dinner time in my house--I yank out the sweet tooth, set it aside for later, have a seat at the table with my family, and consume the delicious savory dish that is my meal on that particular day.
        I often like to prepare dinner, not because I have to but because I want to. It isn't unusual for there to also be some sort of dessert made that same day we sit down to eat (I like to go all out), waiting somewhere very nearby for mealtime to end and transition into dessert time. That's when I pop the sweet tooth back in. Until then, though, I focus on what's in front of me. 
        During my last meal, I was faced with a pie. It wasn't a sweet pie (though I am certainly very familiar with those), but a savory pie. The ultimate savory pie... Chicken Pot Pie.
The Ultimate Chicken Pot Pie

        I'm a big chicken pot pie fan, and a big fan of pie in general. Whether sweet or savory, I adore making pies from scratch. Once upon a time my family used to buy those Tenderflake pre-made pie crusts from the store. Not anymore. The day I made my first pie crust and tasted the difference was the day I promised myself I'd never buy another again. Now, pie crust--though it can be tricky to get the hang of at first--has become one of my favorite things to make. In terms of taste there really is no comparison. I do understand that not everyone has the time and patience required to prepare their own, that a pre-made version from the store is a more practical choice for busy people. Nonetheless, convenience comes with sacrifice. If you've never made your own pie crust before... take the plunge. I took on that same challenge and never went back.
        This chicken pot pie is one of the first dishes to come to mind when I think of the word "savory". Wonderfully creamy, rich, and flavorful, I was glancing around me convinced it was some sort of trick--it tasted too good to be true. Though one piece will be enough to satisfy your hunger, you'll find it very hard to resist going back for seconds… and then scouring the empty pan after it's been eaten for any last bits of yumminess. Dieters beware!
        If you want the full experience, go all out and make the crust as well. I've included the recipe for my favorite pie crust which I used to make this pot pie-- it's a delicious all-butter pie crust with the perfect amount of flakiness. This crust is totally worth getting covered in flour for. It makes the meal all the better.
        I think I'd be content to have pie every day for the rest of my life. For breakfast, lunch, and dinner… pie. For dessert... more pie.
        I think I've got my point across.
        I love pie.

The Ultimate Chicken Pot Pie
(Yield: 1 9-inch double-crust pie | 8 servings)


Pie Crust:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, chilled and diced
1/4 cup ice water, or just enough to form a ball

Filling: (adapted from Allrecipes)
1 lb. (about 2) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cubed
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup frozen green peas (optional)
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 3/4 cups chicken broth (or 1 3/4 cups water + 1 cube chicken bouillon)
2/3 cup milk


To Make Crust:
  1. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in chilled butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs; the butter pieces should be about the size of peas. Stir in just enough water, one tablespoon at a time, until mixture forms a ball. Split into two balls; wrap each in plastic and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

To Make Filling:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a saucepan, combine chicken, carrots, peas, and celery. Add water to cover and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside.
  3. In a saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and celery seed. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Remove balls of dough from the refrigerator. If necessary, let sit a few minutes until easier to roll out. Gently roll out each ball to fit a 9-inch pie plate. Place one of the crusts in the pie plate and press evenly into the plate's bottom and sides.
  5. Place the chicken mixture in bottom pie crust. Pour hot liquid mixture over. Cover with the second crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape. Optional: brush with egg wash, milk, or heavy cream.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.
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  1. I LOVE chicken pie but havnt made a savoury pie in far too long, considering pastry is my all time favourite indulgence its just crazy! This is so going to be made soon, it looks amazzzinngg :)

  2. I'm a huge fan of the chicken pot pie too! I'm sometimes really lazy and use the pre-formed pie crusts from the store. Your pictures make the pie look so good!

  3. Looks delicioussssss! I agree this is going to be made soon once weather gets cooler!

  4. I never tried that, it's just not popular dish in my country.. But I love everything with chicken, I would love to try that too :)

  5. I just have to tell you - this recipe is solid GOLD! I swapped the pastry recipe for my trusty one (it's incredibly similar) - but this filling is completely amazing. My boyfriend literally requested his own pie for next time - since he practically ate the whole thing himself anyway. That said, well done and thanks!

  6. Hi, Jess! I think you just made my day with your comment. I'm so happy the two of you enjoyed it! Thanks for letting me know!

  7. So I made this pie tonight for my family for dinner - I swapped out a pre-made crust and added some baby portabella mushrooms (they were kicking around the freezer) OH MY GOD BEST CHICKEN POT PIE EVER! seriously. SO GOOD.  Thanks for sharing and I can't wait to try some of your other recipes!

  8. Hi, Hannah! Thanks so much for telling me how well it worked out. That's great to hear - I'm so glad you liked it!

  9. Alyssa @ Shiksa EatsApril 17, 2012 at 7:07 PM

    This pot pie definitely tastes as good as it looks! My roommates live off of frozen food, but when they decide to live a little, they request this recipe. Girl, you rocked this pot pie.

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