Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Individual Chicken Pot Pies for the Carrot and Pea Hater

Every once in a while, I totally crave simple American flavors, like a nice bowl of chicken noodle soup or a flaky chicken pot pie. Unfortunately, my husband hates cooked carrots and any form of peas, which are arguably the best part of a chicken pot pie.

I managed to come up with some tasty substitutions that ultimately required more work but appeased both of our tastes. I've made them twice, once with pumpkin for the orange-colored veggie, and once with butternut squash. I think I prefer the pumpkin, but both are good.

You'll notice that most of my measurements and times listed in this recipe are approximate. You can vary it to your taste - it's definitely more of an eyeballing recipe.

Chicken Pot Pies (6 individual pies)
2 refrigerated pie crusts (like Pillsbury)
1/3 cup butter or margarine
1/3 cup chopped onions
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 cup all purpose flour
3-4 cups chicken stock (I use chicken base and dissolve it in water)
~5 refrigerated chicken tenderloins (about half a pack)
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2-1 cup chopped string beans
1/2-1 cup sliced pumpkin or butternut squash (I like to bake for 15 mins before slicing)
1-1.5 cups potatoes, chopped into bite-sized pieces
Salt and pepper to taste

The ingredients, other than the onions
Heat butter/margarine in a stock pot or dutch oven. Add the onions. As soon as they start getting slightly brown, slowly add the flour. Stir well. Slowly add the chicken stock, whisking as you go. You don't want any chunks of flour!

Meanwhile, boil the potatoes for just a few minutes to soften. Move them to an ice bath to wait. Then, partially cook the chicken (it's ok to be a little pink in the middle). Season with salt, pepper, and thyme. Let cool until it is easy to handle. Cut into bite-size pieces. Add to the big pot.

Cut up the squash and string beans. Add them to the big pot. Stir everything together. Cook until the chicken is cooked through and safe to eat. Taste and adjust the flavor with additional salt and pepper. Let a bit of the liquid boil off. It should be a little more watery than you like your pie filling because some more liquid will evaporate in the oven.

Roll out the pie crust. Roll it much thinner than it is to start. Fill the bottom of six stoneware pans (or just make one big pot pie using a regular pie pan). I used our French Onion soup bowls by Le Creuset. Spoon in some filling. Cover the top with criss-crossing pieces of pie crust. Bake at 400-425 degrees for about 15-20 minutes (until pie crust begins to turn golden brown).


Cutting the pie crusts
The filling
The final product

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