A great chicken pie is simple, yet seductive. Flaky, buttery crust, chunks of roasted white meat chicken and savory cream sauce are bound together to make this classic comfort food meal. To vary things a bit, you can add all manner of vegetables to the pie. Potatoes, carrots, celery and peas are popular additions to chicken pot pie.
This time around, Taylor and I wanted a pie that had a little kick in the crust. The all butter pastry dough has cayenne pepper for some heat and a touch of brown sugar for a hint of sweet. This double crust chicken pie uses chunks of our Salt and Pepper Chicken. The sauce is flavored with shallots, baby Vidalia onions, leeks, celery and carrots. Sweet potatoes and sweet corn contribute earthy sweetness and pair well with the rich chicken stock and cream-based sauce.
Deep Dish Chicken Pie will feed a crowd. Add a green salad and some fresh berries and you have a deeply satisfying family meal. Feel free to make this pie your own. Vary the spices and the vegetables to make a pot pie specific to your tastes. In other words, cook who you are!
Deep Dish Chicken Pie
Makes one 3 quart casserole
For the Pastry Dough:
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 sticks cold unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
10 to 12 Tablespoons ice water
1 large egg yolk and 1 Tablespoon cream (for egg wash)
For the Chicken Pie:
8 Tablespoons unsalted butter
8 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup chopped leeks, white part only
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup chopped shallots
1/3 cup chopped sweet onions (we used early Spring Vidalia)
4 1/4 cups chicken stock
3 cups sweet potatoes cut into bite sized pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
1 cup heavy cream
6 cups chopped cooked Salt and Pepper Chicken
1 1/2 cups frozen sweet corn
- To make the pastry, put the flour into the work bowl of a food processor. Add the brown sugar, salt, and cayenne pepper. Pulse the processor to blend the ingredients. Cut the cold butter into teaspoon size pieces and add to the flour mixture. Pulse the flour and butter in bursts of on/off until the butter is mixed with the flour and the mixture had the texture of coarse sand. Sprinkle the dough with 10 Tablespoons of the ice water. Pulse the mixture on/off until the dough begins to clear the sides of the work bowl and form a ball. If the dough seems too dry, additional water, a teaspoon at a time, may be added. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 45 minutes. Dough may be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
- To make the pot pie filling, put chicken stock in a medium pot. Add the chopped sweet potatoes. Cook over medium heat until the stock begins to simmer. Keep stock at a simmer. Put the butter into the bottom of a large heavy sided pot. Turn the heat to medium and add the flour. Stir until the butter is melted and the flour and butter form a paste. Add the leeks, carrots, celery, shallots and onions. Cook the mixture, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the hot stock and sweet potatoes to the flour and vegetable mixture. Stir until a sauce forms. Add the salt, white pepper, cayenne and nutmeg. Stir. Add the cream and cook the sauce until it just begins to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the sauce for 10 minutes.
- Add the chicken and the corn. Turn off the heat and remove the chicken filling from the heat. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings to taste. Let the sauce cool to room temperature. Sauce may be refrigerated for up to days before assembling and baking the pie.
- To make the pie, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly flour a work surface. Roll out one of the pastry disks to a size large enough to cover the bottom and sides of a rectangular 3 quart casserole dish. Line the dish with the pastry, letting the excess pie dough hang over the sides. Fill the dough lined casserole dish with an even layer of chicken filling. Roll out the second dish of dough in a shape large enough to cover the top and sides of the casserole. Cover the chicken filling with the second piece of dough. Trim the excess pastry dough away from the edges of the casserole dish. Crimp the edges of the pie or press the edges of the pie with a fork. Using a sharp knife, cut 4 deep slits into the top of the casserole. Mix the egg yolk and cream together and wash the top of the pie with the egg mixture. Put the casserole on a baking sheet. Bake Deep Dish Chicken Pie for 55 to 70 minutes or until the pie is brown and bubbly. Remove the pie from the oven. Cool for 20 minutes. Serve the pie warm.
Recipe © Sally James Mathis
Photography ©Taylor Mathis