I love being able to cook homemade comfort food from scratch. I love eating it even more. 😉 (Cleaning up after using every pan, bowl, and utensil in my kitchen, not so much!)
Chicken Pot Pie is one recipe that’s great when I can make all the parts of it from scratch, but I also love that I can use shortcuts on parts of it if I need to. Today, I tripled the recipe to make one for tonight’s dinner, one to give to a friend that just had twins, and one to pop in the freezer for a quick, easy, hearty meal that will take about five seconds of prep time and zero cleanup in a couple of weeks. Once I had committed to making the mess, the only “extra” effort to tripling the recipe was rolling out 3x as much pie crust dough–the rest was just as easy to do with more of the ingredients.
It’s really, really good made completely from scratch, but it’s still really good even if you take advantage of some shortcuts. You can easily sub store-bought pie crust for homemade. (My homemade crust is fairly simple with the food processor, but clean-up can be a time savings if you don’t have to wash the processor or clean up a flour-y counter from rolling out the dough!) I already take a shortcut by using frozen bagged mixed veggies. You could also use leftover gravy if you have some, store-bought gravy from a jar, or even cream of chicken soup in place of the homemade white sauce. (That being said, don’t be intimidated by the white sauce if you’ve never made it–I promise it’s not that hard!)
This recipe is a great use for leftover cooked chicken if you have it. Today I threw a couple of frozen bone-in chicken breasts into a pot of water, turned it on, and went about my day until the chicken was cooked. By doing it this way, I was able to have the chicken I needed, and also the homemade broth–I was even able to put some extra broth in the freezer for the next time I need it. Not bad for about 1 minute of active prep time!
Another time-saving tip: microwave your veggies while you make the white sauce. I like to pre-cook the veggies (especially the potatoes and carrots) about half-way so that they’re nice and tender in the pot pie. This is pretty easy with the steam-in-bag veggies, but if I’m not using those, I throw them in a microwave-safe bowl and zap them till they start to soften. Simpler than pulling out another pan and partially boiling them.
To store an extra in the freezer, I put it in a 9-inch foil pan and slid it into a freezer bag. To cook from frozen, keep the temperature the same, and add about 10 minutes to the cook time, watching those last 10 minutes for doneness, and covering with foil the last 10 minutes if the crust looks like it’s going to get too brown (you want golden brown, not dark brown!).
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- ¾ cup shortening or unsalted butter
- 5-6 tablespoons ice cold water (cold makes a difference!)
- 2½ cups cooked chicken, cut or pulled into bite-sized pieces
- ⅓ cup butter
- ⅓ cup flour
- ¼ cup chopped onion (or if you're not big on onion, a few shakes of dried onion)
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. pepper
- ¼ tsp. poultry seasoning
- 1¾ cups chicken broth
- ⅔ cup milk
- around ¾ cup diced potatoes (pre-cooked in the microwave until starting to soften)
- 1 package (10-12 oz) frozen mixed veggies (or equivalent amount of vegetables of your choice)
- Prepare the pie crust: Cut the shortening/butter into the flour and salt using a food processor, pastry blender, or two knives. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough can form a ball. Try to find the "sweet spot" with the water between too little (crumbly) and too much (sticky). If you add too much water, add a little more flour.
- Divide the dough in half. Roll out half to put in the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan. The other half will go on top of the pot pie.
- For the sauce: Melt the butter in a saucepan. Whisk in flour, onion, and seasonings. Keep whisking for 1-2 minutes until it bubbles and darkens a little.
- Whisk in broth and milk. Allow the mixture to boil for about a minute (stirring continuously) until it starts to thicken.
- Mix in the chicken and veggies, and pour the whole mixture into the prepared pie crust.
- Roll out the remaining pie crust and place on top of the pot pie. Roll the excess crust dough under the edges and pinch with your fingers to crimp and seal the pie shut.
- Use a knife to cut 3-4 small slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape as it bakes.
- Bake in a 425 degree oven for about 35 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. If using a shallow pie pan, you may want to put a cookie sheet on the rack below to catch any drips.