I Forgot the Peas

I haven’t made chicken pot pie in 25 years. I looked up recipes but it’s basically chicken, veg, veloute (bechamel with chicken broth instead of milk) and pastry.

These recipes were obtuse, difficult to follow and some star-winning recipes for home cooks were bizarre, to say the least.

I bought a large chicken breast, cut it into strips and opened a new box of our dog’s chicken broth (don’t worry, I’ll get her a new one for her birthday on Saturday) and poached the chicken, carrots, celery and leeks in the broth with seasoning and herbs.

Then I removed the veg, started a roux with butter, flour, salt, pepper, thyme and nutmeg. Added some of the flavored chicken stock.

All the while I was blind baking rolled out puff pastry (from the store, my hands melt butter, for all I know my eyes melt butter) for an 8″ pie tin. I incorporated the chicken and veg with the gravy, added it to the pie tin after taking out the parchment and pie weight beans, topped it, brushed it with egg wash and cut a few slits to vent steam.

It was tasty but needed a little more seasoning. The puff pastry was crispy good on top but soggy on the bottom. That’s where I disagree with Carla from Top Chef (it must have been the love, love you). She made Jimmy Fallon a perfect chicken pot pie and won that day. I did not, plus I forgot to put in the peas.

From now on as long as we’re not using my two lions’ head French onion soup bowls for morning oatmeal, I’m going to use them for chicken pot pie without a bottom crust, as I learned in cooking school. I’m cooking for two, here.

Top crusts should be cut with a knife 1″ larger than container – just turn it upside-down on the pastry and be brave and keep pastry cold, no Dee-hands. On a sheet pan, score the pastries lightly with a knife and brush with egg wash. Into the freezer while you make the filling. Brush 3X total and allow to freeze.

Season filling and remember peas at the end! Egg wash the edges of the vessels, they could be ramekins or vintage Pyrex, whatever is appropriate for serving. Cook in 375 degree oven (that’s as far as I can go else smoke alarms will go off) until bubbly and the crust is puffed, domed and gorgeous. Enjoy!

As a kid I loved pot pies. We got them when my parents had an event and we had a babysitter. They were frozen and so hot when they came out of the oven that we placed them on the steps to the garage to cool for 20 minutes in the middle of a cold winter. We thought frozen food was great! Not like Mom making a balanced meal with dessert every night. That was boring. Give me a chicken pot pie or “tv dinner” as that’s what all the other kids ate.

The frozen pastry back then was substandard, still is. A short crust is what this dish needs to elevate it, and a really good pie crust works well but puff pastry could get any kid to eat his/her peas, carrots, leeks and chicken veloute as long as they get some good crunch from the topping.

I think it’s going to be a good week. Wedding anniversary, dog’s 12th birthday (I may make beef liver/bran treats for her buddies in dog bone shapes, yes I’ve two dog bone cookie cutters) et al. Cheers! Dee



2 responses to “I Forgot the Peas

  1. I make mine with a biscuit crust, which is awesome. (Shhhh, it’s Bisquick, but you could make your own biscuit crust.) No bottom crust. It’s heavenly on the first day, and not bad as leftovers. Puff pastry would be too luxe for me!

  2. Leftovers are the best part! I ate the crust and half my bowl and had my husband heat the bowl up for next day lunch, make toast and two sandwiches with the filling. He loved it!

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