Chicken Pot Pie

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I love chicken pot pie. If it weren't so fattening I'd eat it all the time, and I mean all the time. I hadn't yet ventured to make it here in Spain, but today I finally did. It took a couple of hours, and the kids didn't like it and said it was disgusting because it contained vegetables (sigh) but Nate and I thought the recipe turned out really well.

Like many of the other recipes I post, this one is modified from Cook's Illustrated. (I'll have to post another blog entry soon to share why I love them so much!)

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CHICKEN POT PIE

Note: This entire recipe can be halved, which worked out perfectly for our family tonight. If you halve it, use a 9-inch pie plate instead of the 13 x 9 pan that's recommended in the original recipe.

Ingredients:

PIE DOUGH
– 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
– 1/2 teaspoon table salt
– 8  tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 pound), chilled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
– 4  tablespoons vegetable shortening, chilled (or use 4 tablespoons more of butter, if shortening is not
        available)

CHICKEN POT PIE FILLING
– 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or boneless, skinless chicken thighs
– 1 can low-sodium chicken broth , with water added to equal 2 cups (or use 2 cups homemade
        chicken broth)
– 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
– 1 large onion, chopped fine
– 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut crosswise 1/4-inch thick
– 2 small ribs celery, cut crosswise 1/4-inch thick
– 2 large or 6 small potatoes, peeled and diced
– Table salt and ground black pepper
– 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
– 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
– 1 1/2 cups milk
– 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
– 3 tablespoons dry sherry
– 3/4 cup frozen peas , thawed
– 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves


Instructions:

1. For Pie Dough: Mix flour and salt in workbowl of food processor fitted with the steel blade. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture, tossing to coat butter with a little of the flour. Cut butter into flour with five one-second pulses. Add shortening; continue cutting in until flour is pale yellow and resembles coarse cornmeal, keeping some butter bits the size of small peas, about four more one-second pulses. Turn mixture into medium bowl. You can also use a blender to mix the dough if you don't have a food processor – just be sure to scrape down the blender jar frequently.

2. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons ice-cold water over the mixture. Using rubber spatula, fold water into flour mixture. Then press down on dough mixture with broad side of spatula until dough sticks together, adding up to 1 tablespoon more cold water if dough will not come together. Shape dough into ball, then flatten into 4-inch-wide disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate 30 minutes while preparing pie filling.

3. For Pie Filling: Adjust oven rack to low-center position; heat oven to 400 degrees. Put chicken and broth in small Dutch oven or soup kettle over medium heat. Cover, bring to simmer; simmer until chicken is just done, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer meat to large bowl, reserving broth in measuring cup.

4. Increase heat to medium-high; heat oil in now-empty pan. Add onions, carrots, and celery; sauté for 2 minutes. Add the potatoes and 1/4 cup of broth and simmer until the vegetables are just tender. Season with salt and pepper. While the vegetables are simmering, shred chicken into bite-sized pieces (use your hands to shred the meat, or use two forks). Transfer cooked vegetables to bowl with chicken; set aside.

5. Heat butter over medium heat in again-empty skillet. When foaming subsides, add flour; cook about 1 minute. Whisk in chicken broth, milk, any accumulated chicken juices, and thyme. Bring to simmer, then continue to simmer until sauce fully thickens, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper; stir in sherry.

6. Pour sauce over chicken mixture; stir to combine. Stir in peas and parsley. Adjust seasonings. (Can be covered and refrigerated overnight; reheat before topping with pastry.)

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7. To Assemble: Roll dough on floured surface to approximate 15-by-11-inch rectangle, about 1/8-inch thick.

8. Pour chicken mixture into 13-by-9-inch pan or any shallow baking dish of similar size. Lay dough over pot pie filling, trimming dough to 1/2 inch of pan lip. Tuck overhanging dough back under itself so folded edge is flush with lip. Flute edges all around. Or don't trim dough and simply tuck overhanging dough into pan side. Cut at least four 1-inch vent holes in pastry. Or, poke all over with a fork like I did.

9. Bake until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly, 30 minutes. Let stand for about 10 minutes so the filling and crust can set together. Serve hot. Enjoy!!!

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