Chicken Pot Pie | Cooks Illustrated
Why this recipe works: Our goal was to formulate a pot pie recipe for a delicious but quick pie. For the chicken, we found that poaching boneless, skinless chicken breasts streamlined the process. It also made for tender chicken that could be shredded into irregularly shaped pieces to which the sauce clung well. As for the sauce for our chicken pot pie recipe, we preferred a milk-enriched sauce thickened with flour, which made a sauce creamy in both color and flavor.
Serves 6 to 8
You can make the filling ahead of time, but remember to heat it on top of the stove before topping it. Mushrooms can be sautéed along with the celery and carrots, and blanched pearl onions can stand in for the onion. If you don’t want to make a pastry topping, make the related biscuit recipe, stamp out 8 rounds of dough, arrange dough rounds, over warm filling and bake as directed.
- Pie Dough
- 1 1/2cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2teaspoon table salt
- 8 tablespoons butter (1/4 pound), chilled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 4 tablespoons vegetable shortening , chilled
- Chicken Pot Pie
- 1 1/2pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1can low-sodium chicken broth , with water added to equal 2 cups (or use 2 cups homemade chicken broth)
- 1 1/2tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large onion , chopped fine
- 3 medium carrots , peeled and cut crosswise 1/4-inch thick
- 2small ribs celery , cut crosswise 1/4-inch thick
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 4tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2cups milk
- 1/2teaspoon dried thyme
- 3tablespoons dry sherry
- 3/4cup frozen peas , thawed
- 3tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
- 1. For Pie Dough: Mix flour and salt in workbowl of food processor fitted with the steel blade. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture, tossing to coat butter with a little of the flour. Cut butter into flour with five one-second pulses. Add shortening; continue cutting in until flour is pale yellow and resembles coarse cornmeal, keeping some butter bits the size of small peas, about four more one-second pulses. Turn mixture into medium bowl.
- 2. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons ice-cold water over the mixture. Using rubber spatula, fold water into flour mixture. Then press down on dough mixture with broad side of spatula until dough sticks together, adding up to 1 tablespoon more cold water if dough will not come together. Shape dough into ball, then flatten into 4-inch-wide disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate 30 minutes while preparing pie filling.
- 3. For Pie Filling: Adjust oven rack to low-center position; heat oven to 400 degrees. Put chicken and broth in small Dutch oven or soup kettle over medium heat. Cover, bring to simmer; simmer until chicken is just done, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer meat to large bowl, reserving broth in measuring cup.
- 4. Increase heat to medium-high; heat oil in now-empty pan. Add onions, carrots, and celery; sauté until just tender, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. While vegetables are sautéing, shred meat into bite-sized pieces. Transfer cooked vegetables to bowl with chicken; set aside.
- 5. Heat butter over medium heat in again-empty skillet. When foaming subsides, add flour; cook about 1 minute. Whisk in chicken broth, milk, any accumulated chicken juices, and thyme. Bring to simmer, then continue to simmer until sauce fully thickens, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper; stir in sherry.
- 6. Pour sauce over chicken mixture; stir to combine. Stir in peas and parsley. Adjust seasonings. (Can be covered and refrigerated overnight; reheat before topping with pastry.)
- 7. To Assemble: Roll dough on floured surface to approximate 15-by-11-inch rectangle, about 1/8-inch thick. If making individual pies, roll dough 1/8-inch thick and cut 6 dough rounds about 1 inch larger than pan circumference.
- 8. Pour chicken mixture into 13-by-9-inch pan or any shallow baking dish of similar size. Lay dough over pot pie filling, trimming dough to 1/2 inch of pan lip. Tuck overhanging dough back under itself so folded edge is flush with lip. Flute edges all around. Or don’t trim dough and simply tuck overhanging dough into pan side. Cut at least four 1-inch vent holes in large pot pie or one 1-inch vent hole in smaller pies.
- 9. Bake until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly, 30 minutes for large pies and 20 to 25 minutes for smaller pies. Serve hot.