Now that the frigid cold has arrived, I felt the need to cook a dish that would rid me of the windy city chill. So, for me, it has to be my chicken pot pie with a bacon pie crust. This dish encompasses everything that I would run to in moments when I need something that warms me to the bone.
For the pie crust:
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ sticks cubed, cold butter
5 strips bacon, chopped (renderings reserved)
7-8 tablespoons ice cold water
Place the butter and chopped bacon in the freezer for about 15 minutes to make it really cold. Once complete, place the bacon and butter in the bowl of a food processor, along with the dry ingredients. Put the lid on and pulse 10 times to bring everything together. Next, stream in 7-8 tablespoons of ice cold water—this will bind everything together and make the mixture start to form a ball. Finally, take the lid off and dump the dough out onto a piece of saran wrap. Wrap the dough up with the wrap and pat the dough into a disc shape—this will make rolling out the dough much easier. Now, place the dough into the freezer for 20-30 minutes, or until firm.
For the pot pie filling:
4 skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts
3 carrots, peeled and sliced on the bias.
3 stalks of celery, chopped.
1 Spanish onion, roughly chopped.
10 cremini mushrooms, quartered
1 large Yukon gold potato, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 ears of sweet corn
1 head of garlic
1 sprig of rosemary
4 cups whole milk
½ cup sherry (cooking wine)
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
¾ cup parmesan cheese
1 cup of vegetable stock
1 egg and a splash of water
To start—place the chicken breasts in an oiled cast-iron pan and season with salt and pepper. Cut one head of garlic in half, place it flesh side down in the pan and put it into a 400 degree oven for about 35-40 minutes. While the chicken is cooking, coat a heavy-bottomed pan with olive oil and turn the flame on high. First, add the onions and season with salt and pepper—cook for 5-6 minutes to soften the onions. Next, add the potatoes, carrots and celery, reduce the heat to medium and cook for an additional 5-6 minutes. Finally, add the red bell pepper and the mushrooms and cook for another 4 minutes. Continue to stir the vegetable mixture to pick up the browned bits at the bottom of the pan. At the last few minutes of cooking, add the sherry and scrape the bottom of the pan vigorously to completely deglaze what’s been left behind. After about 2 minutes or so, add the vegetable stock and the minced rosemary (removed from the stem) and reduce the heat to low. At this time, the chicken should be cooked—remove from the oven and allow to rest for 15-20 minutes.
For the base:
Melt the butter with the flour in the bottom of a sauce pan on medium heat. Once the roux comes together, continue to cook for an additional minute and then whisk in the whole milk. Continue to whisk the mixture until it starts to thicken; however, realize that nothing comes to its fullest thickening potential until it comes to a boil. Once thickened, season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
Now, remove the skins from the chicken breasts, cube up into bite-size pieces and add to the vegetable mixture. Also, take some of the residual roasted garlic (3-4 cloves) and smash into the vegetable mixture, as well. Finally, cut the ear off the corn and add both the corn and the parmesan to the base of the pot pie. Now it’s time for the pie dough! Sift some flour on a cold surface (such as granite) and put the disc of dough on the flour. Next, roll out into a long, rectangular shape until it reaches about ¼ of an inch thick. Spoon your pot pie mixture into the bottom of a baking dish and then top with the pie crust. Cut the excess dough off and crimp the edges. Then beat the egg and water together, brush over the edges and the top of the crust and cut slits for venting. Place into a 400 degree oven cook and for 30 minutes. Serve this in a massive bowl so that you can get as much as possible in there and not feel as guilty, because you’ve only eaten one bowl…mu-ha-ha-ha.
Let me just say, this dish is the epitome of what I would want any time of year, but especially in the winter. I hope you make this dish and enjoy it just as much as I do. Moreover, add vegetables that you like most and make this a personal pot pie.