When I was young, my mother always made sure that we ate a dinner comprised of a protein, a starch (most often rice, natch, because, hey, we’re Chinese), and—most importantly, a vegetable. These days, even still, my mother complains if there’s no leafy green veggie on the table.
So when we’d have dinner at friends’ houses or even our cousins’ houses where one-pot meals like beef stew, baked ziti, or chicken pot pie showed up on the dinner table (which were deliciously comforting and, notably, not Chinese), it felt less like a wholesome time-saving dinner measure and more like Sarah and I had been presented with the chance to stuff our faces full of brownies for dinner.
(As you can probably tell, my mom ran a tight ship. Since I know she’ll be reading this…Hiii, ma!)
It’s funny how things from childhood stick. Sarah is still positively bewitched by the prospect of a big pot of beef stew, and for me, Chicken Pot Pie has always seemed more like a fairy tale meal than anything that would conceivably show up on our dinner table more than the time my aunt graced us with the magic of a Costco chicken pot pie.
A Decadent Yet Veggie-Filled Pot Pie
So when it came to this Chicken Pot Pie recipe, I wanted all the decadent pot pie features—the rich cream sauce, the flaky, buttery crust, and the delicious, juicy bites of chicken. But I also wanted to make sure it was balanced out with a healthy volume and mix of vegetables.
The addition of plenty of carrots, onions, peas, bell peppers, and herbs adds the “green” element my mother was always preoccupied with, and only 3 full bone in, skin-on chicken breasts are used to make 1 large casserole and 3 smaller ones (the ones not pictured were frozen for a rainy day). In the end, it makes for a pretty balanced meal.
So go on. Make your pot pie and eat it too!
(Note: I used Ina Garten’s pastry recipe from her delicious Chicken Pot Pie.)
Chicken Pot Pie Recipe Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. On a sheet pan, drizzle the chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and black pepper.
Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes.
When the chicken breasts are done cooking, take them out of the oven to cool, and remove the meat from the bone, cutting the chicken into large chunks. You can save these bones for a small batch of stock or plan to cook the chicken further in advance so you can use the stock for the pot pie filling. If you decide to do the latter, simmer the bones in about 5 cups of water for a few hours.
While the chicken is cooking, prepare the pastry. Mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of your food processor. Add the shortening and butter and pulse about 10 times, until the butter and shortening are the size of small peas.
With the food processor on, add the ice water–just enough for the dough to just come together. You may have to pause and give it a stir with your hands, as some portions of the dough will be wetter or dryer. Dump the dough onto a clean, floured surface and knead gently into a ball. No need to overwork the dough! Wrap it in plastic and transfer to the refrigerator to rest for 30 minutes.
Now, back to the filling. In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and onions, and cook until translucent. Next, add the carrots and cook for another 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Next, add the bell pepper and cook for about 3 minutes.
Add the butter, stirring to help it melt, and allowing the vegetables to cook further. After melting the butter, turn down the heat to low, and add in ¾ cup of flour. Stir the flour and vegetable mixture constantly for 2 minutes.
Add the chicken stock, stirring thoroughly and breaking up lumps. Turn the heat back up to medium-high, so the sauce thickens and bubbles. When the sauce has a gravy-like consistency, add the frozen peas and diced chicken breast, followed by the heavy cream, parsley, and thyme. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes, and remove from the heat.
Now, to assemble your pot pies! Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Choose your oven-safe vessels and fill with the chicken pot pie filling, leaving about an inch of clearance between the top line of the filling and the baking dish. I made one large casserole, and 3 smaller ones, so I cut my dough into 4 proportional pieces. No need for this to become an exact science! Roll the dough out on a clean, floured surface.
Lay the dough over the casserole dishes, and tuck any excess in at the rim to flute the edges.
Brush the crust with egg wash, cut vents into the top, and place on a baking sheet.
Bake the pot pie(s) for 1 hour, until bubbly.