Creamy, rich chicken potpie is as satisfying as it is humble.
By Annemarie Ahearn
Making a chicken potpie is not a quick or effortless endeavor. First, the dough must be formed, chilled, and gently rolled into a pie dish. Next, seasonal vegetables and chicken must be coaxed into a savory filling, loosened with richly flavored stock and cream, then thickened with flour. And finally, the decadent mixture is set into the pie dough, covered with a second batch of buttery crust, and placed in the oven for about an hour, at which point it must cool slightly to set. Now you can invite your guests to the table to break through the glistening crust with a fork and dig deep into a day’s work.
For the pastry:
2½ cups all-purpose flour, plus 1 tablespoon for dusting
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks cold butter, cut in ½-inch cubes (keep cold)
2–3 tablespoons ice water
For the filling:
3 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
1 cup cremini mushrooms, diced
2 Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
1½ cups chicken stock
meat pulled from 1 roasted or boiled chicken
half bunch parsley, cleaned and stemmed and roughly chopped
½ cup green shelling peas, frozen or fresh
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
½ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons flour
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Work cold butter cubes into the flour with your hands or a pastry cutter until it resembles coarse meal. Then add droplets of ice water, working the dough into a ball. Split it in two, wrap in plastic wrap, and place in fridge for 20 minutes.
Now roll out one ball between two pieces of parchment paper until it’s large enough to fill the pie dish and come up over its edges. Peel off one piece of parchment, and place dough face down over pie dish. Peel off second parchment, set dough into dish, and put in fridge to chill.
In a sauté pan, warm a tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, and a sprinkling of salt, and sauté until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add mushrooms, potatoes, and 1 cup of stock. Cook for 5 minutes. Add chicken and ½ cup stock. Cook for 5 minutes. Add parsley, peas, and salt, and pepper. Stir in cream, remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and 2 tablespoons flour, distributing among vegetables. Let cook for a couple minutes to thicken. You want the filling to be a little loose, as it will thicken in the oven. You can adjust with more chicken stock.
Pour mixture into the chilled pie shell. Roll out the other dough ball between two pieces of parchment paper. Peel back one piece of parchment and lay the dough face down over the pie filling. Peel off the other parchment. Press the outer edges of the crust together, forming a ridge around the perimeter of the pie dish. Use the tines of a fork to circle the crust, making a decorative pattern, or pinch the outer edge every inch or so. Brush the crust with melted butter and bake the potpie for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.