November 21, 2014

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie is one of those things that just takes me back to my childhood. Well, the good parts anyway. I want to officially state for the record that Chicken Pot Pie doesn't make me think of when I got Mono in the 4th grade. Though it probably will now. I should have stopped writing a couple sentences back. But we press on! I've made this recipe with entirely homemade ingredients before. I've also made it with store bought pie crusts, and a bag of frozen assorted vegetables. The homemade way tastes awesome, but the lazy way is easy. And it still tastes pretty damn good. Personally, this is one of my favorite dishes, and I want as much of it to exist in the world as possible. So I'm throwing a bone to you lazy people out there. I won't be forcing you to make pie crust, and if you want to you can replace all the vegetables with a bag of assorted frozen veggies. Preferably defrosted, unless you like cold, crunchy pot pie and frequent trips to the dentist.

1 chicken breast
2 pie crusts
2-3 cups of stock (vegetable or chicken stock work equally well. If you feel weirdly sadistic, you can try and take pleasure in cooking a chicken inside the stock you got from another chicken. I won't judge you.)
3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
2 TBSP flour
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper (alright, I've been thinking about it, and I might judge you about that chicken stock thing after all. Weirdo.)
1 small onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 rib celery, diced (For a long, rambling treatise on the origins of the term "rib of celery," see my Vegetable Stock recipe)
1/4 cup chopped green beans
1/4 cup peas
1/4 cup lima beans

This one's mine. Go make your own
The first step is to bake your chicken breast in an oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. It doesn't matter if it's not cooked all the way through, but it should be well on its way. One you take it out, you're gonna let it cool down so that you can shred it later.

While you've got your chicken cooking, heat up your oil in a frying pan over medium heat, and toss in your onion. Saute` it for about 5 minutes, and then toss in the rest of your vegetation, salt, and pepper. Also toss the idea that you're going to share the pot pie, because at this point it's gonna start smelling pretty damned good. Cook it for another 5 minutes, then add in the flour and cook it for another minute or so. At this point there shouldn't be any moisture in the pan.

Now you're gonna take your stock and start praying the the gods of sauce thickness. Pour in the stock, while stirring CONSTANTLY. Imagine that you're a POW who loves stirring, but hasn't been able to for 10 long years. And one day, you're finally rescued and reunited with your beloved spoon. Channel that emotion here. You may have noticed that there wasn't an exact measure for the stock. That's because lots of factors can affect the thickness of your sauce, including how high above sea level you are. So keep it going until it's slightly looser than you think it should be (No way am I rising to that bait), stir in the thyme, and turn off the flame. 

By now your chicken should have come out of the oven, and cooled down somewhat. So it's time to shred that sucker into chunks (using forks is acceptable if you're squeamish and delicate. Otherwise use your hands), and add it in to your mixture. 

Now the time has come to "dock" the pie crusts. Some people might tell you that this means creating small holes in the dough so that steam can escape as is cooks. But that sounds like some voodoo mumbo jumbo to me, so I say you stab your pie crust over and over with a fork to soothe your inner demons, and prevent pastry uprisings. Once your crust is sufficiently cowed, pour your pot pie mixture into it. Cover it with the second crust, and press it down around the edges to form a seal. Stick it in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until it looks golden brown and ridiculously awesome (Protip: neurotically open your oven to check on the doneness of your pot pie every 2 minutes to ensure even cooking, and prevent scabies)

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