Bear with methis is going to be another one of those posts where I talk about the weather.
But, well. Irene.
When all’s said and done a few days later, I fared incredibly well, with just a few downed branches on the street around my apartment building. But, I got off easy, and when the news reports started picking up on Thursday evening, things seemed a lot more ominous.
Mind you, I still had big weekend plans, including a trip up to Connecticut, foolishly thinking that I could simply beat the storm back.
Then there was an announcement that all public transportation would be suspended starting out noon on Saturday. A friend got evacuated from Battery Park City, and ended up in my apartment. Running errands with a friend on Friday, we discovered that there wasn’t a single flashlight to be had on the entire Upper East Side.
More signs to take note.
Then my friends from abroad were emailing to make sure that things were okay.
This was starting to get serious.
If you know me at all, you know that, on a good day, I’m a worrier.
So, I did what I always do in situations like this: I cooked and, in this case chicken pot pie seemed perfect.
First, because of I had all of the ingredients on hand and in my, admittedly flawed, logic I thought that in the event of a power outage the food would all be cooked so might last longer. And, secondly because it’s the perfect mix of baking, which requires just the right amount precision to ensure that I couldn’t give my full attention to the news and cookingwhen it came to the filling, I could still adapt as I went along, allowing me to sort of listen to the news. By the end of the day, I must have watched about fourteen hours. A somewhat embarrassing admission until I read this. Turns out I’m not alone.
There’s also this: to me, chicken pot pie is one of those classic comfort foods, perhaps because so after so many family holiday meals, I’ve found myself in my mother’s kitchen making chicken stock and using the left over chicken from the night before to make pot pies.
It’s hearty, sustaining.
Just the thing for an unexpected dark, stormy day. Or, for the cold fall nights that coming far sooner that I care to admit.
Chicken Pot Pie
Fair warning: this recipe makes far more filling than you’ll need to fill your pot pie. You can halve it, but it freezes well, and if you’re going to go through all of the effort, then it’s nice to have the extra for a rainy day. And, in the spirit of planning ahead, if you have left over chicken or turkey, this would be a fine way to use it up.
For the Filling:
4 chicken breasts, bone in and skin on
6 cups Chicken Stock
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup olive oil, divided in half
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
1 onion, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
4 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1″ pieces
1 TBS herbes de provence
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 TBS corn starch (Optional, you may need this to thicken your filling)
For the Crust:
1 1/2 cups flour
10 TBS butter
1/4 cup ice water
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, beaten and divided
To Make the Filling:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet and rub them with 3 TBS olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Roast the chicken for 35-45 minutes, until it is full cooked. Set aside, allowing to cool. Once it is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and discard the bones from the chicken. Cut the breast meat into a large dice. You should have approximately 4 cups of cubed chicken. Set it aside.
While the chicken is cooking, warm the stock, and in a separate pot, boil the potatoes in well salted water, approximately 10 minutes, until they are slightly under cooked. Drain the potatoes and set aside.
In a large dutch oven, add the rest of the olive oil, and saute the onions over medium low heat, until they are translucent, about ten minutes. Add the herbes de provence, carrots, celery, a pinch of salt, and pepper and saute another five minutes. Add the flour and cook at low heat, stirring constantly for at 2 minutes. You don’t want the mixture to brown, but you do want to get the raw flour taste out of our mixture. Simmer over low heat for another 3 to 5 minutes, stirring until thick. Add the milk, mixing well. If the soup isn’t thick enough for your linking, make a slurry, mixing 1 TBS cornstarch with 1 TBS water, until the cornstarch is dissolved and add it to the stock mixture. Stir to combine.
Add the potatoes, peas and diced chicken to the pot and mix well. Take the mixture off the heat and allow to cool slightly.
To Make the Crust:
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, salt, pepper. Add butter and pulse until the mixture resembles wet sand.
With the food processor running, add the ice water in a slow stream, pulsing until the dough holds together without being wet.
Divide the dough into two equal balls, flatting each one and wrapping it plastic wrap. Chill for at least an hour in the refrigerator.
To Assemble Your Pot Pie:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Roll out the first of the discs of dough and place it in a well greased 8″ pie dish. Puncture with a fork and brush with half of the egg mixture. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until well cooked but not browned.
Allow to cool for approximately ten minutes, then fill the pie shell with the filling, using approximately 6 cups.
Roll out the second of the discs of dough, placing it on top of the filled pie shell. Crimp the edges together and cut vents into the top of the pie. Brush the pie dough with the rest of the beaten egg.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the top crust is golden brown. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Serves Six, with plenty of filling left over