Chicken Pot Chicken Pot Chicken Pot Pie!

Saturday morning I woke up at 8:45am, drove down to the YMCA and took part in my very first spin class. It was tough, sometimes annoying and definitely challenging but overall it was a good experience. Chances are I'll go again next Saturday. The only problem I found with going to spin class (I can, and will, refer to this way as though its something I've been doing for years) is that it gives me a false sense of accomplishment. So I spend the rest of the day going *stretch* "I need to go to the grocery store, but boy am I sore from spin class. I'll just finish watching this show and then I'll go."

Well "this show" turned into the Michigan game, a small nap and then about 3 hours of Food Network. After all of that I helped Lauren get some laundry done and made plans for dinner. We've gotten in to the idea of making at least one new dinner or lunch each week or so and slowly increasing the degree of difficulty. The last new one we did was chicken salad, which was followed by a really good egg salad. This time around we settled on homemade chicken pot pie. We used Paula Dean's "Lady & Sons Chicken Pot Pie" recipe as the base and then improvised from there (changes in bold):

Did I mention we started about 9:45pm? Thanks alot spin class.

Chicken Pot Pie (Degree of Difficulty: 6)

4 sheets frozen puff pastry
2-3 cups diced chicken (cooked)
1 egg, beaten
Seasoned salt and pepper
1/3 cup butter
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups milk

1/4 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 small yellow onion, minced
1 cup frozen green peas, cooked
1 cup chopped cooked carrots
1 can (15 oz) corn
1 cup sliced mushrooms

The first step for this recipe is to take the puff pastry out of the freezer and let it sit at room temperature. For the chicken we used four thighs and one breast skinned, boned and cubed. I did a quick Italian dressing marinade before sauteing the chicken and onions in a skillet.

While I was doing that Lauren started the pie filling by melting the butter and then slowly adding flour until the mixture reached the consistency of peanut butter. When she dropped off to chop mushrooms and carrots I added the cream and milk to the butter/flour mixture. We've basically watched way too much Iron Chef America. I think secretly we both think that is what this is all building to even though we don't really have the necessary training. You'll notice later (the crust) that our timing kind of sucks.

The original recipe called for four cups of heavy cream, but we had some reservations about that amount making things too creamy. So we used half the amount and made up the difference with milk.

At this point Lauren steamed the carrots and then sauteed them in chicken stock with the mushroom and garlic for about five minutes, adding the peas and corn for the final two.

When that was finished we added the chicken and vegetables to the sauce, brought it to a high simmer and then moved on to crust. For the crust what you need to do is roll out the puff pastry, brush it with egg and butter and set it inside a pie plate or casserole dish. Place the bottom crust in your baking dish and bake it at 350 for at least 10-12 minutes (or until golden brown or flaky). The bottom crust will NOT cook substantially once you've added the filling. Add the top layer of puff pastry to cover your pie and cook for 15-20 minutes (or until golden brown).

This recipe makes enough filling for two 9 inch pies. We used an 8x8 baking dish. Any unused pie filling freezes easily, so you can store it for a future meal.

We finally finished around 10:45pm, but it was worth the wait. Overall this recipe cost us almost $40, but that includes a number of questionable and "bad luck" purchases of things we should have had but happened to be out of. Flour, $2.50 organic peas, $5 organic butter, $9 of puff pastry when we could have used two $1.50 frozen pie shells or made our own dough with the flour we just bought.

In case you were wondering, this was the highlight of my weekend. Doubly so since it started snowing last night, because that means I'm going to make the backup pie tonight or tomorrow while I lament the arrival of winter.