Thursday, October 20, 2011

Scratch-Made Chicken Pot Pie

Growing up, these were a favorite amongst my family.  Pot pies that is.  And, frankly, we only had the banquet ones to go off of.  And that is so very sad.  Regardless though, we loved them and had them all the time for lunch on cold winter days.  My Mom would bake them off in the oven while us kids were out playing in the snow and I would always, always eat my crust first.  No one in my family actually ever made them by scratch, probably because they are a process alright.  But, oh they are so very much worth that process.  You cannot even imagine how delicious they are from scratch until you have had one.  Believe you me, because I, like the rest of my family, can now never go back to having them prepared any other way.

2 large boneless/ skinless chicken breasts (butterflied open)
2 T. of extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
1- 19oz. bag of frozen mixed vegetables (mine had corn, carrots, peas and green beans)(steamed)
10 T. of real un-salted butter
1 large red onion (chopped)
3 1/2 cups of chicken stock
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1/3 cup of heavy cream
3/4 cup of all-purpose flour
1 cup of water
1 T. of lemon juice
1 pie shell from my recipe of Tonya's Special Pie Crust:   (shaped as a hockey puck, wrapped in saran wrap and chilling in the fridge for at least 20-30 minutes-the longer the better)

-Preheat your oven to 375*.  Heat up the e.v.o. over a medium-high flame in a large deep saucepan.  Salt and pepper both sides of your chicken breasts and nicely brown each side in the saucepan for about 10 minutes or so (you want a dark golden/brown crusting to develop).  Once the chicken is done, plate it and set it aside to cool down (do not cut it up yet, or else all the juices will run out of it-let it cool first).  Lower your flame down to medium and toss your butter into the same pan that the chicken was in (doing it all in the same pan carries all the flavor left behind through the dish) and melt it down (do not burn your butter-that taste never goes away).  Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan, bring the chicken stock to a boil and toss in the bouillon cubes (stir this occasionally).  Once the butter is melted, throw your onions in with a little more salt and pepper (to sweat them out).  Remember to stir them often.  When the onions are nice and softened and kind of bubbling up, stir in the flour to create the rue for the sauce.  Let this slightly cook onto the onions and become a ting brown, then pour in the enhanced chicken stock and stir it in well.  Bring this to a boil and then stir in the heavy cream.  Bring this to another boil and then stir in the water.  Then again, bring this again to a boil and stir in the lemon juice. Now go ahead and chop up your cooled chicken into nice bite-sized pieces and add it into your sauce along with the steamed veggies.  Stir well to combine.  Pour the entire contents into 2 separate 9" glass pie pans (if you use a dark pie pan decrease your baking time by 5-10 minutes-they cook things a little bit faster, but I do prefer my glass Pyrex ones over anything); set them aside.  Now it's time to take your pie dough out of the fridge.  Cover your counter top with about a 1/4 cup of flour spread out evenly in a circular shape about twice the size as the crust will be (what, like 18" then I guess).  Remove the saran wrap from the hockey puck shaped pie dough, cut it in 1/2 with a knife,  place 1 hunk in the center of your floured surface (set the other to the side to use next), take that same saran wrap that was around it and place it wet side down over the top of the dough (spread out, so that as you roll out your dough, it will be under the saran wrap-just a little trick to help it from sticking to your rolling pin that I like to do).  Using a wooden rolling pin, roll out your pie dough to a 1/4" thickness or so, lift it right up with the saran wrap (it will stick to it since it is so thin) and place it over the top of the first chicken filled pie pan.  Then repeat it all for the second pie crust (making sure to start back at a heavily floured surface).  They should both fit exactly over the tops without a crust edge-if you want a crust edge then you will need to use 2 pie shells from my recipe-I was trying to conserve).  Using your index finger, poke a hole in the center of each pie crust and using a sharp knife, create some slits for venting around the hole (you can even get fancy and use festive cookie cutters for the vent holes, just make sure to do it while it is still on the counter top).  Place each pot pie on a foil-lined baking sheet (because they will bubble up and over-my did and my smoke alarms were going off for about 15 minutes....all 8 of them!) and place them side by side on the center rack of your oven.  Bake for about 1 hour or until the crust is a nice golden color.  Remove from the oven and let them stand at least 10-15 minutes before cutting and eating.  Makes 2 pot pies and serves 6-8.  Enjoy!

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