Happy New Year!
I hope you all had holidays filled with lots of love, laughter and great food! We here at “Oui, Chef” are just starting to get back into the swing of things after our holiday travel. We’re warming up the stove, cleaning the cobwebs from the pantry, and re-stocking the fridge so that we can share more fun, family friendly recipes with you as we launch into 2010. Today we’re sharing a chicken pot pie recipe that I came up with earlier in the Fall, and I have to say that I’m really proud of this creation….it ROCKS!
The recipe calls for doing EVERYTHING from scratch, and as such, it is not a recipe that you will be whipping up for a weeknight dinner, it is more of a Saturday or Sunday cooking project. That said, there are a number of shortcuts (I list them at the end of the post) that you could take when making this that would make it much less time intensive, and if you wanted to serve the filling “chicken ala king” style over some rice or pasta, you could easily pull this together during the week.
I have always been a big fan of pot pies, and I dare say, this was one of the best I’ve ever had, I do hope you give it a try.
Boris got his hands dirty helping me whip up this dish by first chopping vegetables for the stock and pie filling, and then by crafting the pastry crust largely on his own. Although making this from scratch WILL take considerably more time than if you adopt the short-cuts I list below, I encourage you to grab one of your kids, drag them into the kitchen with you, and give it a whirl. Not only will the end result be far superior, but it will provide you a couple of hours, perhaps on a rainy or snowy weekend day, to hang with one of your kids and craft this classic comfort food.
The recipe has at it’s core, an adaptation of Jacques Pepin’s recipe for Poached Chicken from Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home , but whereas Jacques serves his chicken and veggies over a bed of rice, I have used his dish as a launching point for this chicken pot pie . In addition to the customary peas and carrots, our version includes fennel, fingerling potatoes, haricot verts (French green beans), oven roasted tomatoes, sauteed mushrooms with mustard seeds, and a mustard velouté enhanced with fresh tarragon and thyme.
To cut a significant amount of time from the recipe, you could buy a pre-roasted chicken instead of poaching your own, cook the veggies in a store bought, low sodium chicken stock that you could then use to make the veloute‘, and finally, buy a pre-made pastry crust for the top.
….as Julia was so fond of saying…..Bon Appetit!
- 1-4 pound roasting chicken
- 6 medium carrots, ends trimmed and peeled
- 5 celery stalks, ends trimmed
- 1 leek
- 10 ounces of pearl onions (buy these frozen)
- fronds of 1 large fennel bulb
- 12 black peppercorns
- 2 sprigs tarragon
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 1 cup dry white wine
- Kosher salt
Chicken Pot Pie "Provencal"
- 3 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 sticks plus 5 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1” pieces.
- 2/3 cup ice water
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Pot Pie Filling:
- reserved chicken
- reserved carrots
- reserved pearl onions
- reserved celery
- 10 fingerling potatoes
- 1 large fennel bulb, quartered and roasted
- 10 ounces button mushrooms, thickly sliced and sauteed
- 1/2 pound haricot verts, topped and tailed, blanched, refreshed, and chopped
- 1 1/2 cups frozen green peas, thawed
- 1/4 cup diced oven roasted tomatoes (store bought)
- 1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
- 1/4 cup vermouth
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 8 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup creme fraiche
- 4 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped thyme
- 1 egg, whisked for egg wash
- Salt and pepper
Jacques’s Poached Chicken
- Place chicken in a large stockpot.
- Tie whole carrots, leek, celery, and fennel fronds into a bundle and add to the pot with the chicken. Tie tarragon and thyme together and add to the pot. Toss in the peppercorns and the pearl onions, white wine, and 1 tablespoon of salt. Fill with water to just cover the chicken, put over a high heat and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, lower the heat to maintain a gentle boil for 20 minutes. Raise the heat back to high, to again achieve a rapid boil, turn off the heat, cover and let sit for 1 hour.
- Remove chicken from the pot and set aside to cool. Remove the bundle of vegetables, discard the fennel fronds and leek, and cut the carrots and celery on the bias into bite-sized pieces, reserve.
- Skin the chicken and pull all the meat from the bones, tearing into bite-sized pieces, reserve.
- Strain the cooking liquid through a fine meshed strainer into a clean saucepan, skim any fat from the top and set over medium high heat to reduce to 4 cups of concentrated stock, reserve.
Chicken Pot Pie "Provencal"
- Place the flour into a bowl of a food processor, toss the butter on top, and pulse in short bursts until the butter is reduced to pea sized pieces. Add the salt to the water and stir to dissolve. Pour the water through the feed tube of the processor and pulse until the dough just starts to come together in a ball, you should still see some small butter chunks in the mix.
- Dump the dough out onto a well floured work surface, and divide it into two equal sized balls. Press each ball into a disc about an inch thick, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours, or overnight.
Pot Pie Filling:
- Pre-heat the oven to 400℉. Quarter the fennel bulb, and cut out the wedge shaped core. Toss with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and place on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, until nicely caramelized. Remove from the oven, roughly chop and reserve.
- Place the fingerlings in a pan of cold water to cover. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a gentle boil and cook until just cooked through, about 10-12 minutes. Drain, place on a cutting board, and cut into coins. Toss in a bowl with a touch EVOO and reserve.
- Sauté mushrooms in a little olive oil with salt and pepper, until caramelized. Add mustard seeds and vermouth, and cook until all the liquid has evaporated, reserve.
- Make a roux by melting the butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan, add the flour, and whisk constantly for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the 4 cups of reduced stock, whisk until smooth. Put back on the heat, add the cream and creme fraiche, and cook, whisking, until the sauce thickens to coat the back of a spoon. Whisk in the mustard and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the minced tarragon and thyme, remove from heat to cool slightly.
- Put all filling ingredients (potatoes, tomatoes, onions, carrots, fennel, celery, haricot verts, mushrooms, and chicken) into a large mixing bowl, add the mustard velouté and mix well. Check for seasoning, reserve.
- Assembly and Cooking:
- If making only one pot pie, freeze 1 pastry disc and half of the filling for later use.
- Whisk the egg in a small bowl.
- Pour the filling to within 1/2” of the top of a 3” deep, 8-9” round soufflé dish (or other such ramekin or earthenware vessel)
- Roll the pastry dough on a well floured surface to about 1/8” thickness.
- Brush egg wash onto the rim of the ramekin and about halfway down the outside of the dish to hold the crust in place while baking.
- Place the rolled pastry on top of the pie, allowing about 2” to drape over the edges. Press into place to adhere to the dish, cut away any excess.
- Brush the entire crust with egg wash, and cut 8 small vent slits in the top. Put the pie on a sheet tray and place in the 400℉ oven for 30-35 minutes, until the crust is nicely browned, and the contents are seen bubbling through the vent holes.
- Serve with a simple green salad.