Cooking Dinner Leftovers Lunch

Individual Chicken Pot Pies

ASingleGirl
Written by ASingleGirl

One of my favorite comfort foods is chicken pot pie.  I love the combination of savory filling and flaky crust.  Especially on a crisp, cool day – is there anything better?

For me chicken pot pie isn’t chicken pot pie unless it has both a top and bottom crust.  I tried using pre-made crusts, dividing them into smaller pieces and then re-rolling.  But they just did not do well being re-rolled into something other than their original form.  So, I decided making my own crust was the way to go.

The problem is, I’ve never been very successful making traditional pie crusts, let alone trying to create my own recipe.  (And why reinvent the pie crust wheel, right?)  And then I found Ree Drummond’s recipe for a pie crust that is very forgiving, stands up well to multiple rollings, doesn’t punish you if you forget it in the fridge or accidentally let it freeze in the freezer, and is basically fool-proof.  Sounds like a match made in pie-crust heaven!  And you know what?  The recipe didn’t disappoint.  So, I’m shamelessly using it here, with full credit to Ree Drummond.  (You can find her photos and instructions here.)

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Start with the crust.  Cut the shortening into the flour with a pastry cutter.

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It should start to look like coarse crumbs.

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In a small bowl, beat the egg with a fork, add the five tablespoons of cold water, one tablespoon of white vinegar, and one teaspoon of salt.  Mix it together, then pour over the flour/shortening.  Mix gently until the ingredients are all incorporated and start to form a dough ball.

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Put the dough ball in a zip top bag and flatten it out a bit.  (This will make it easier to separate into smaller pieces later.) Put in the fridge (or even freezer) to firm up a bit while you’re making the filling.

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Start by heating the oil and three tablespoons of butter in a large-ish pan.  Sauté the onions, carrots, and potatoes for 10 minutes.  They’ll still be pretty raw at this point, and that’s OK.  They’ll cook fully when the pie is cooked.

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In a medium sauce pan, heat the chicken broth and half-and-half until it is warmed through – be careful not to scald it.

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Add the garlic and remaining tablespoon of butter to the potato/carrot mixture, then sprinkle the flour.  Stir until the butter melts, and the flour becomes incorporated with the butter and oil.

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Slowly pour the chicken broth mixture over the potatoes/carrots while stirring constantly.  Stir in the chicken granules, salt, pepper, and any other seasons that tickle your fancy.

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Stir in the chicken, green beans, and corn – and any other veggies you want to add.  This is a good time to use leftovers.  Let the mixture thicken and heat through while you finish the crust.

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Take the crust out of the fridge and cut it into 8-12 pieces.  (The number and size of dough balls you need will be determined by the size of your tin.)

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Roll the pieces into balls, then flatten each ball and roll out thin.  It should be big enough to line the bottom of an individual pie or tart pan and hang over the sides by about ½ an inch.  Be sure to flour your work surface, the dough, and your rolling pin so nothing sticks.

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Use a bench scraper to help unstick the crust and transfer it to each tin.

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Carefully lay the crust in the tin and make sure the crust lays flat against the bottom and sides.  If you poke a hole in the bottom, don’t worry.  Steal a little crust from the overhang to patch the hole.

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Ladle filling into each pie so it reaches the top of the tin but is not mounded and does not overflow.

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Beat the remaining egg with a couple tablespoons of water or half-and-half to make an eggwash.  Using a pastry brush, brush eggwash along the crust edge.  This will be the glue that seals the top crust to the bottom.

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Carefully lay the second crust on top and press down on the edges to seal the two.

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Using kitchen shears, cut any “extra” crust from the edges.  You should have about ½ inch hanging over, so you can tuck it under and crimp the edges.

This step is actually optional.  Sometimes I do it (like when I’m trying to impress houseguests, or when I’m writing and photographing for an article), and sometimes I don’t do it (like when I want to have all kinds of extra crust on my pie – ‘cuz let’s face it, the crust is the best part.)

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Fold the crust edges so the top crust is tucked under the bottom crust.

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Using your fingers, crimp the edges.  Not only does this make the pie look pretty and makes you look more awesome than you already are, it also fully seals the crusts together so the filling can’t escape and ooze all over your oven.

In this pic, marvel at the technique of my patented one-finger crimp.  Believe it or not, it’s difficult to take a photo while using both hands to crimp.

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Brush more eggwash over the top crusts.  This makes it all golden and shiny and irresistible looking.

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Put your finished pot pies uncovered on a cookie sheet and put them in the freezer.  Once they’re frozen, you can cover the top with foil.  (If you cover with foil while the eggwash is still wet, the foil will stick to the crust and you’ll have foil-pot-pies.  Which is not delicious.  Trust me on this.)

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Bake at 350 for about an hour.  Keep the foil on the top for the first 30 minutes, then remove the foil for the last 30 minutes so the top can get all golden brown.  But keep an eye on it.  If the top starts getting too brown, put the foil back over and continue cooking.

These can be put right into the oven from the freezer, but it might take a bit more time to cook.

Here’s the complete recipe.  Enjoy!

Ingredients

Filling:
2 cups shredded or chopped cooked chicken
2 cups cubed potatoes
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup corn
1/2 cut petite cut green beans
2 cloves garlic, minced very finely
3 + 1 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons high-heat canola or vegetable oil
1/3 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 ½ cup half-and-half
1 ½ teaspoon chicken granules
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Other herbs to taste

Crust:
3 cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for dusting)
1 ½ cup vegetable shortening
2 eggs (one for crust, one for eggwash)
5 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Cut the shortening into the flower with a pastry cutter.
  2. In a small bowl, beat the egg with a fork, add the five tablespoons of cold water, one tablespoon white vinegar, and one teaspoon of salt, and mix.
  3. Pour the egg/water/vinegar mixture over the flower/shortening.  Mix gently until the ingredients are all incorporated and start to form a dough ball.
  4. Put the dough ball in a zip top bag and flatten slightly.  Place in the fridge (or even freezer) to firm up a bit while making the filling.
  5. Heat the oil and 3 tablespoons of butter in a large pan.  Sauté the onions, carrots, and potatoes for 10 minutes.  They’ll still be pretty raw at this point, and that’s OK.
  6. In a medium sauce pan, heat the chicken broth and half-and-half until it is warmed through but not boiling.
  7. Add the garlic and extra tablespoon of butter to the potato/carrot mixture, then sprinkle the flour.  Stir until the butter melts, and the flour becomes incorporated with the butter and oil.
  8. Slowly pour the chicken broth mixture over the potatoes/carrots while stirring constantly.  Stir in the chicken granules, salt, pepper, and any other favorite herbs or spices.
  9. Stir in the chicken, green beans, and corn.  Let the mixture thicken and heat through.
  10. Take the crust out of the fridge and cut it into 8-12 pieces.  (The number and size of dough balls you need will be determined by the size of your tin.)
  11. Roll the pieces into balls, then flatten each ball and roll out thin.  It should be big enough to line the bottom of an individual pie or tart pan and hang over the sides by about ½ an inch.
  12. Use a bench scraper to help unstick the crust and transfer it to each tin.  Carefully lay the crust in the tin and make sure the crust lays flat against the bottom and sides.
  13. Ladle filling into each pie so it reaches the top of the pie tin but is not mounded and does not overflow.
  14. Beat the remaining egg with a couple tablespoons of water or half-and-half to make an eggwash. Using a pastry brush, brush eggwash along the crust edge.
  15. Carefully lay the second crust on top and press down on the edges to seal the two.
  16. Using kitchen shears, cut any “extra” crust from the edges.  You should have about ½ inch hanging over, so you can tuck it under and crimp the edges.
  17. Fold the crust edges so the top crust is tucked under the bottom crust.  Using your fingers, crimp the edges.
  18. Brush more eggwash over the top crusts.
  19. If freezing, put your finished pot pies uncovered on a cookie sheet and put them in the freezer.  Once they’re frozen, cover the tops with foil.
  20. Bake at 350 for about an hour, or until heated through.  Keep the foil on the top for the first 30 minutes, then remove the foil for the last 30 minutes so the top can get all golden brown.  If the top starts getting too brown, put the foil back over and continue cooking.

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