This is the BEST recipe for Chicken Pot Pie EVER. Tender chicken, classic veggies, rich gravy, and a flaky, buttery crust. Ultimate comfort food!
November is for pies. And not just sweet pies. All kinds of pies! I love pie. Have I mentioned that? Buttery, flaky crusts are my kryptonite. Pie is seriously the best.
I've had a long lasting love affair with chicken pot pie ever since I was a little girl. My mom used to stock our freezer with Marie Callender's pot pies, and I ate them every chance I got. What I loved most about those pies was that they had the perfect crust to filling ratio. And what I mean by that is they had a lot of crust: a top AND a bottom. Many chicken pot pie recipes fail to include a bottom crust, which I find imperative. I don't think it's a secret that a good crust is the best part of any pie, but especially a savory pie. I've been making chicken pot pie from scratch for years, but it's taken me up until now to really perfect the recipe. I finally managed to get the flavors, the consistency, and the proportion of crust, chicken, vegetables and gravy all just right.
One of the more challenging aspects of achieving pot pie perfection was the sauce. I struggled to find a consistency that wasn't too thick or thin, and to attain a flavor that had depth, but didn't overpower. I tried white wine. I tried cream cheese. I tried a slew of different herbs and seasonings, but nothing was doing it for me. This time around I experimented with a splash of apple cider, an idea I discovered while researching chicken and dumplings recipes some time ago. Strange in theory, but it totally works. It adds the slightest note of sweetness, and just a tinge of tang. You don't know it's there, it just gives it that "mmm... what is that?" depth of flavor. You have to trust me on this one.
As for the vegetables, I see everything from corn and potatoes to green beans and pearl onions in chicken pot pies, but I stick to the bare essentials: Mirepoix (carrots, celery, onion), plus a few frozen peas. That's it. Oh, and garlic! Something I never thought to be welcome in a chicken pot pie, but actually gives a really nice boost of flavor. For the other seasonings, I find most chicken-friendly herbs like rosemary and sage to be too much. I just use some fresh thyme (the dried stuff works too - just use a little less), and a little parsley at the end to make it taste fresh. But not too fresh. This is still comfort food, y'all.
Making this whole shebang from scratch does take a bit of effort, but the results are worth every second spent mixing, dicing, rolling and baking. There are a few ways to make things a little easier on yourself though. For starters, you can use the leftovers from a roasted chicken or a store-bought rotisserie chicken rather than cooking it fresh. In fact, I often roast whole chickens for dinner with the sole purpose of turning the leftovers into a pot pie. You can also substitute turkey with fabulous results, which is nice considering we'll all have plenty of that lying around in a few weeks.
Now, I always insist on using homemade dough for pies, and the more you do it, the easier it becomes (scout's honor!). If you're really stuck, I suppose you could substitute a good quality (read: all-butter, preservative-free) store-bought pie crust, but it's my personal philosophy that if you're going to take the time to do this at all, you should really just go all out and make a pie crust like my grandma. The beautiful thing about pie dough is that it freezes incredibly well, so I suggest making it ahead of time and then popping it in the freezer until you're ready to bake. (Pro-tip: make several batches of pie dough at once so you always have some at the ready!)
This pot pie feeds a solid 8 people easily, or if its just two of you in the house like us, you get the benefit of eating the leftovers all week long. This recipe is certainly a labor of love, but so are all the best things in life. If you spread out the steps over the course of a few days, it really won't feel like much work at all.