Before giving up wheat for lent (yeah, I know - crazy), I had to have one more major dose of comfort food. I had leftover pie crust scraps and a decent assortment of vegetables on hand, so I picked up a rotisserie chicken and made chicken pot pies. The recipe is from The Pastry Queen (Rebecca Rather). We went to her bakery in Fredericksburg, Texas a few years ago (I would go back for the sole purpose of going to the bakery) and her cookbook has been a favorite of mine ever since. I have made these pot pies a few times, but have never taken time to post the recipe until now. Although I didn't use her crust recipe this time, I included it below because it is super easy. Whatever you do about the crust, I think it is fun to use cookie cutters to cut out shapes from the scraps. As you can (kind of) tell, I used a palm tree because my crumbly crust looked like sand . . . and because it's nice to think of sand and palm trees in the winter . . .
Chicken Pot Pie
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 8-oz. pkg sliced mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 purchased cooked rotisserie chicken
8 ounces fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces (optional)
1 (8-ounce) package frozen peas (optional)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Dash of hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco (optional)
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
Pastry Queen Crust:
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
10 ounces chilled cream cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1 large egg
Filling: Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and potato; sauté for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, bell pepper, and mushrooms and sauté about 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Stir in the crushed red pepper and add salt and pepper to taste.
While the vegetables are sautéing, skin the chicken, pull the meat off the bones, and shred or cut meat into bite-size pieces. Place the green beans in a microwave steaming bag and steam according to directions on bag. Stir the beans, peas, and chicken into the vegetable mixture. Set the filling aside.
Sauce: Melt butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add flour and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the chicken stock and cook the sauce over medium heat until it thickens to the consistency of a cream soup. Add the cream, hot sauce, salt and white pepper to taste. Pour the cream sauce over the chicken filling and stir to combine. Fill individual 1 1/4-cup capacity oven-safe bowls (or disposable pot pie pans) three-quarters of the way to the top with the creamed chicken filling.
Crust, Assembly & Baking: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the butter into 16 pieces. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse the butter and flour until crumbly. Add the cream cheese, salt, and white pepper. Continue pulsing just until the dough forms a ball. Set the dough on a flat surface dusted with flour. Use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thickness. Measure the diameter of the pot pie bowls and cut out dough rounds that are 1 1/2 inches larger in diameter. Whisk the egg in a small bowl. Lay the dough rounds on top of the pot pies, making sure the dough hangs evenly over each bowl. Brush the dough lightly with the beaten egg. Bake the pies for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Serve immediately.