Chicken Pot Pie

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Must admit, the last time I enjoyed these were years ago at Dome restaurant. Then while playing Restaurant Story, (yes I play games, er, don't you?) memories were jogged and I wanted to be able to make them at home. It's basically a chicken soup with a puff pastry hat. Many other recipes will have their own pastry recipe and maybe some day I'd be giving it a shot, but not anytime soon, I'm afraid. I'm a 'shortcut' kind of cook. 

I almost always have puff pastry in my freezer, and so should you. It makes fabulous appetizers, breakfasts and desserts. For something that takes so little precious space in my freezer, it rewards me with so much satisfaction. But this time, for this recipe, unfortunately I had none. So while I sent my better half, escorted by one of my daughters who actually knows what puff pastry looks like and more importantly, where to look for it in Publix, I started preparing the 'soup' and by the time it came and defrosted, it was ready to go.

Must admit that I kind of 'hacked' this recipe. A typical pot pie will have you prepare the soup, top the pastry and bake it whole. But as I was preparing this, I realized the filling was already cooked and since I wanted a nice puffy pastry on top that wasn't partially puffy and partially soggy, I baked the puff pastry separately while the filling was simmering. Then it was just 'topping it off'. Brilliant!

You get to shave the time it takes to make the pastry. Oh... you wanted to buy it anyway? Okay then, you still cut down 20 minutes of cooking time waiting for the filling to steam up and puff the pastry. And the best part? Is actually the perfect crispy pastry sitting on top, waiting for you to crack it and sink it into the thick and creamy soup. Of course I made extra 'squares', wouldn't you?

4 chicken breasts, cut into strips or cutlets
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper
6 cups chicken stock
2 chicken bouillon cubes (optional)
2 sticks (227 gr) unsalted butter
2 large yellow onions, chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 cups frozen peas, carrots & corn
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
2 sheets store bought puff pastry

Cook chicken:
1. Rub chicken pieces with olive oil, then season with thyme, salt and pepper.
2. Heat 3 tbsp oil on a skillet and when hot, cook the chicken pieces until seared a bit and done.
3. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then chop into small cubes.

Make the 'soup'
4. In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock (and if using, dissolve the bouillon cubes in the stock for added flavour)
5. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and sweat the onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until browned.
6. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes.
7. Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce.
8. Simmer, stirring, until the liquid becomes thick.
9. Season with salt, pepper, then add the cream.
10. Add the cubed chicken and froen vegetable mix.
11. When it comes to a boil, stir in the chopped parsley.

Prepare the pastry:
12. Preheat the oven to 375F.
13. Roll out the puff pastry into a rectangle and cut into 6 squares, first measuring to see that it completely covers the top of the bowl, trimming if needed.
14. Brush with egg wash and make slits in the top.
15. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

Assemble the chicken pot pie:
16. Divide the filling into 6 soup bowls and place that beautifully puffed up pastry square on top of the bowl.

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