26 October 2006

Better than Marie Callender's

A few Sundays ago I got a hankering for Chicken Pot Pie. I'd made the dish before, but it had been a while. And I think I used Veg-All. I wondered if I could make a pie better than Marie Callender's.

I think I did it. The secret to good homemade pot pie is to make a homemade sauce. Anything canned simply tastes too salty. It overpowers the veggies. Making a white sauce isn't difficult, and once it's tackled it opens the door to lots of hearty dishes.

The best part about the pot pie was it was way easier than I thought it was. The trick to cutting down on the prep time is to have the chicken already cooked and use the ready-made pie dough. Although I didn't try it, I'm thinking that you could prep the whole thing and pop in the fridge if you wanted to wait a bit to cook it. The leftovers kept us happy for days.


Two cooked chicken breasts, cubed
Two medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
One small onion, diced
One large potato
1 cup peas (thawed, if frozen)
2 cups warm milk
3/4 cup flour
3 to 4 tablespoons butter
One package of Pillsbury's ready-made pie crust (in the dairy section of the grocery store)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a deep pie pan with crust. Set aside top crust.

Combine the chicken and vegies in large bowl. Set aside.

Warm the milk just enough to take the chill off (in the microwave is fine). Have the milk, flour and a whisk handy next to the stovetop. Melt the butter over low heat, watching until the white flecks and foaminess is nearly gone. Then, slowly add the flour while continuously whisking. The mixture will begin to thicken. Whisk, cooking the flour and butter together on a low-medium heat for about a minute. Be sure not to burn the mixture, pulling it away from the heat or lowering heat as needed. Then slowly add the milk in small batches. Whisk to encorporate. Repeat until all the milk is used. Let the sauce cook over the stove top until thick. It should take only a couple of minutes until it can coat a spoon. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Remove the sauce and pour into the bowl of veggies and chicken. Mix to coat. Pour the veggie and chicken mixture into the pie shell. Top with second crust and crimp edges. Cut a few vent holes in the top crust with a sharp knife. Brush with melted butter for a more golden crust if desired. Cover with foil.

Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and cook another 10 minutes or until crust is golden and sauce is bubbling through vents.

No comments: