Daring Bakers – Pot Pie

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Hannah of Rise and Shine was our October 2013 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she challenged us to bake our own double crusted savory pot pies. Using any from-scratch crust and filling we choose, we were allowed to get completely creative with our recipe, showing off the savory flavors and fillings from our own home or region.

Mmmmmmmm, pot pie. When I hear the words “pot pie” they bring to mind thoughts of winter time, warm fireplaces, cozy blankets, and candles burning. Perfect for dinner as these Fall nights get cooler and darkness descends earlier. One of the things I don’t necessarily think of is pot pie being an icebreaker but that’s exactly the role it played in our family this week. Let me introduce you to our challenge and then I’ll briefly tell you how it played this role.

The Daring Bakers have had a lot of sweet challenges lately so I was pretty excited to see a savory challenge for this month. I looked at the recipes that were offered from our hostess and I thought long and hard about making the Mediterranean Pizza Pot Pie but when I asked my husband what kind of pot pie he wanted he resoundingly said, “Chicken. Chicken. Chicken.”

I decided to look at my collection of recipe books and found a recipe for Chicken Pot Pie in my Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook. I haven’t found too many recipes of hers that aren’t delicious so I chose to go with her Perfect Pie Crust and her Chicken Pot Pie Filling hoping for a delectable outcome.

I didn’t want to have to cook up the chicken so I bought a rotisserie chicken and this turned out to be one of the best decisions of the day. The pie crust went together quickly and the filling was easy to make. I decided to not make a double crust after much deliberation because a double crust meant double the calories in an already higher calorie dish. Instead, what I decided to do was to take the extra crust from around the edges of the bottom crust and form some dough into stars that I could put on the top so that there was a bite of crust with each bite of filling.

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I’m sure you are just dying to know how this dish is an icebreaker, right? Well, I don’t usually air our dirty laundry, and I still won’t be airing much but I thought it was fitting for this challenge to share just how good this pot pie is.

The evening that I was supposed to bake this up we ended up having a long day and we still had to go get a few ingredients to be able to make dinner. My thoughts were that we should probably just stop and pick up some fast food but this was soon after I had kind of ripped into my husband for not being supportive of my efforts to watch what I eat so I can lose a few pounds; needless to say we didn’t stop for fast food.

One person’s stubbornness eggs on the other person’s stubbornness and you get the idea. Pretty soon we were really not saying much to each other and as the evening went on there were even less words spoken. We put our boy to bed and the pot pie went into the oven. When the timer went off to let me know it was done I was working on school stuff and hubby was down in the basement. The pot pie sat cooling (and it looked really good by the way) but I wasn’t about to cut into it because I was still being stubborn. Remember, the whole no fast food but have to come home and make pot pie stubborn. Yeah, I’m not proud of it but I’ll own up to it.

When he finally did come back up I managed to tell him that it was done but I didn’t know if he wanted to eat any so late at night (you’ll probably have to picture that conversation in short, clipped tones). He dished me up a slice and he dished himself up a slice. When I took my first bite I emitted an “Mmmmm” as I was walking away. He heard it. When he took his first bite he started laughing because he heard my muffled “Mmmmmm” and was wanting to say out loud how good it was but was still stuck in stubborn mode. We both started laughing and realized how silly we acted for most of the evening. It really was THAT good. I will definitely make this again (but hopefully no stubbornness will be involved). Enjoy!

Perfect Pie Crust
Source: Pioneer Woman

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups vegetable shortening
1 egg
5 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon white vinegar

In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt. Using a pastry cutter, gradually work the shortening into the flour for about 3 or 4 minutes until it resembles a coarse meal. In a small bowl, beat an egg with a fork and then pour it into the flour/shortening mixture. Add 5 tablespoons of cold water and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. Stir together gently until all of the ingredients are incorporated.

Separate the dough into halves or thirds. (Halves make a generous double crust; thirds are a bit thinner.) Can be frozen at this point.

Chicken Pot Pie Filling
Source: slightly adapted from Food Network

2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled
1 large yellow onion
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 chicken bouillon cube
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 cup half-n-half
thyme
1 teaspoon salt
black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare the baking dish. (If using a double crust, prepare crust in bottom of pan. If using a single crust on the bottom, prepare the crust in bottom of pan. If using a single crust on top prepare the baking dish.)
Finely dice the vegetables. Melt the butter in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery. Saute until the vegetables start to turn translucent, a couple of minutes.
Add the 2 cups of shredded chicken and stir to combine. Sprinkle the flour evenly over the vegetables and chicken, and stir to combine. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring gently.
Pour in the chicken broth, stirring constantly. Stir in the bouillon cube. Next, add the peas. Pour in the cream and stir. Allow the mixture to cook over low heat, thickening gradually, about 4 minutes.
Season with the thyme, salt and pepper, and remove from the heat. Pour the chicken mixture into a deep pie pan or small casserole dish.If using a top crust, place it on top of the chicken mixture and cut small slits in the top. Press the crust gently into the sides of the dish to seal.

Bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly, about 30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Makes 6 to 8 servings (servings depend on size of slice)
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