Pi/Pie Week: Now & Later Chicken Pot Pie

By |2016-10-13T17:08:28+00:00March 11th, 2015|In the Diner|1 Comment

When my parents lived in Massachusetts–before I even knew Lloyd existed–Mom and I used to get together every six weeks or so and do major cooking sessions. Together we developed the perfect chicken pot pie recipe. Our “Now & Later Chicken Pot Pie” is the best kind of cooking in bulk. You can prepare it all for a big dinner party, or make it to eat and freeze. Your guests and friends will be begging you for the recipe, and you’ll be sure to always have some on hand for a comfort-food emergency.

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See the full recipe below for the complete list of ingredients. We’ll start by preparing the six pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

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Preheat your oven to 350° F. Drizzle two cookie sheets with olive oil. Put down some foil first if you like an easier clean-up, like I do. I encourage you to make designs with your drizzle.

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Place half of your chicken breasts on each cookie sheet, then drizzle the tops of the chicken breasts with more olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. I’m fairly generous with the salt and pepper.

Bake your chicken breasts for 30-40 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°.

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Set those beauties aside to cool while you prepare the rest of the pot pie filling.

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On your stovetop, pour the chicken stock into a saucepan to heat and dissolve bouillon cubes in the broth.

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While heating your broth, begin your filling mixture in a large stock pot (I recommend at least a 10-qt. stock pot. You’ll see why later). Start by melting three sticks of butter. Mmmm…butter!

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Now, I want to take a moment and point out that hopefully this is the last time you will see this oven range. I’m currently using the only two working burners. We’re supposed to have a new oven arriving on March 17th, and I could not be more excited! So, take a good long look at this oven, because you won’t be seeing it again!

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Yay! While we had that little tangent, our butter melted. Now, over low heat, add 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour. Be sure to stir constantly, or you’re going to have a lumpy, burnt mess.

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The flour and butter make a gorgeous, thick base for the filling.

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Slowly add the heated broth (be sure those bouillon cubes are dissolved!) to the stock pot, stirring constantly, until all of the broth is mixed and quite thick.

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Stir in four teaspoons of salt.

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Add a 1/2 teaspoon pepper (I wing this measurement, because I like to use freshly-ground pepper).

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Stir in 1/2 cup heavy cream. Are you starting to understand what ingredients make this so absolutely delectable?

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Next you add your frozen vegetables: one pound of each corn, green beans, pearl onions, carrots, and peas. If you’re cool like me, you’ll lose control of your peas and spill them all over the stovetop.

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Lastly, add one pound of frozen diced hash browns. At this point, I remembered why I  recommend at least a 10-qt stock pot, and I’ve added that to my wish list.

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Mix your veggies well with the sauce, and let it simmer on a low heat to warm the vegetables.

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Dice your chicken into 1/2″ pieces. Now, this was always Mom’s job. She cut the tiniest, most perfect little chicken pieces. I am not that patient, so my chicken is a bit cut, a bit torn, and I’m ok with that.

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You’ll have about 8 cups of diced chicken. And there is no way I’m going to be able to mix the chicken in with the rest of the filling in my 8-qt. stockpot, so I’m going to have to improvise. But, if you listened to me at the beginning and used a 10-qt. stockpot, you may have better luck at mixing it all together.

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Let’s talk for a minute about cooking and storing containers. I use a variety of containers, based on my plans for the chicken pot pie. If I’m going to be sharing it, I’ll make sure to have some 8×8″ foil containers. I typically make an initial batch for eating–either in my 9×9″ Le Crueset baker, or my 9×13″ baker. The remainder I freeze in 1-qt containers to bake later. One of those containers fits perfectly into the 9×9″ baker, or into four of the oval au gratin dishes, which makes darling individual pot pies (and is how we’ll be eating the chicken pot pie for Pi Day on Saturday).

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For each quart of filling, I start with a smidge more than a cup of chicken, then fill the remainder with the rest of the filling. If you used a larger stockpot, you will be able to completely skip that bit of finagling. You’ll have enough filling for between six and seven containers, each of which contains four servings.

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Defrost your Puff Pastry, and cut to fit your containers. If you’re freezing in 1-qt. plastic containers, you’ll need to defrost your filling to place in your baking dish, then add the crust right before baking.

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Bake at 350° F for 35-45 minutes, until crust is a golden brown and filling is bubbly. If baking directly from freezer, it will take about an hour.

Let cool briefly, though it will smell so delicious that you’ll want to dig right in. But give it a few minutes so you don’t burn your tongue, and enjoy!


Now & Later Chicken Pot Pie – Click to Print PDF

A Meek Manor Original Recipe

Description:

Make a batch for a large dinner party, to freeze, or to share. Everyone will be begging for your recipe! Makes about 24 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 6 pounds Boneless Chicken Breasts
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 12 cups Chicken Broth
  • 4 Chicken Bouillon Cubes
  • 3 sticks Butter (3/4 pound)
  • 1 ½ cups All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 pound package of each Frozen Vegetable:
    • Corn
    • Green beans
    • Peas
    • Pearl Onions
    • Carrots
  • 1 pound Frozen Diced Hash Brown Potatoes
  • 3 packages Pepperidge Farm Puffed Pastry

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Drizzle olive oil over cookie sheet, then spread chicken breasts over the oil. Drizzle tops of chicken breasts with more olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165°. Set aside to cool. Once cool, cut into ½” cubes.
  3. In a sauce pan, heat chicken broth and dissolve chicken bouillon cubes in broth.
  4. In a large stock pot (10-qt. or larger), melt butter. Add flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly. Add hot chicken broth, and simmer over low heat, stirring until thick. Stir in 4 teaspoons salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, and heavy cream. Add vegetables and cubed chicken. Divide filling among baking/freezing dishes.
  5. Defrost Puffed Pastry Sheets and cut to size of baking dishes. Place over filling.
  6. Bake “For Now” dish at 350° for about 35-40 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly.

Freeze “For Later” dishes for future use. When ready, bake frozen pot pie at 350° for about an hour or until puff pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. If defrosted, bake for 35-40 minutes.

 

One Comment

  1. Vanessa 11 March, 2015 at 2:24 pm - Reply

    Love love love this recipe!!! I got this recipe from you, Val, years ago and I think it is currently my very favorite dinner! YUMMY!

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