When it comes to comfort food, I think it’s safe to say that chicken pot pie is the most popular. My credo to cooking has always been to take old favorites and give them somewhat of a face-lift and this blog entry is all about doing just that. First of all, forgive me while I preach, the most crucial ingredient is the chicken. I buy all of my meats from Whole Foods; however, I especially like their poultry and the cut that I get is the “split chicken breast”. Essentially, that just means bone-in and skin-on chicken breasts. To me, these are virtually fail-proof. For this recipe, I use 3 chicken breasts to give the dish that hearty feel that I love. Next, lube up-for lack of a better term-your chicken breasts with olive oil, salt and pepper, and place into a 375 degree oven and cook for 30-35 minutes. From there, leave them to rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes–this will ensure the most juicy, most flavorful chicken you’ve ever had.
Simultaneously, while the chicken is cooking, I normally get started on my pastry dough. For the pastry dough:
-1 1/2 cups flour
-2 pinches of salt
-1 1/2 sticks of cold butter
-5 tablespoons of ice cold water
Pour all of the ingredients, except for the water, into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the mixture about 8 to 10 times until the butter turns into the size of peas. After you have reached the desired consitency, slowly stream in the cold water while pulsing the mixture. Next, layout a sheet of cling wrap and dump the pastry dough out onto the cling wrap and form a disk with your hands. Lastly, wrap up the disk and refrigerate for the remainder of the chicken cook-time and resting.
Finally, the aromatics–the vegetables. I always start with bacon to use the residual fat as flavored cooking oil. Then, I add my flavor boosters–my mirepoix. For those of you that don’t know what a mirepoix is, it’s essentially a classic french aromatic bunch of carrots, celery and onion. Any additions of vegetables from there are things that I deem either flavorful or seasonal. After the vegetables have picked up the brown bits from the pan and softened a bit, I then sift in about 2 tablespoons of flour. Be sure to stir around a bit and let the flour cook off some of its chalky taste. Next, add a cup of vegetable stock and a cup of whole milk and bring the entire mixture to a rolling boil. Remember, nothing comes to its fullest thickening potential until it has come to a boil. Take this time to season with salt and pepper–it’s all about slowly building flavor. Next, remove the skin from the rested chicken and cube up into bite-size chunks–add to the mixture.
Last, but not least, scatter flour on a board and roll out your chilled pastry dough. Add your pot pie filling into an oven-proof baking dish and top it with your pastry. Then, seal the dough with egg wash and make some slits for the steam to escape and ensure a crispy crust.
Place the pot pie into an oven and bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes, or until the crust is browned. Enjoy!