Friday, February 24, 2012

The Best Chicken Pot Pie Ever!

If your family is like mine, comfort food just makes the whole house calm and brings order back to the chaos.  There is just something soooo soothing about comfort food.  Chicken Pot Pie always makes it to the top of our list for comfort food.  I have tried several different recipes to find the perfect chicken pot pie and I think I have found it.  The first time we ate this, I knew my searching was over.  

What you need:
6 tablespoons of butter
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
6 tablespoons of flour
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup 1/2 and 1/2
2 cups diced potatoes, blanched
1 to 2 cup diced carrots, blanched
1 bag frozen sweet peas
2 cups rough chopped chicken
pastry dough
salt and pepper


In a large pot, melt butter.  Can you tell this pot has been loved on?
Add onions and celery.
Be sure to salt those onions!  Just look at that buttery goodness, my mouth is already watering!
Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent and celery is tender.
While onions are cooking, blanch carrots and potatoes.  (Just in case, blanching is when you cook vegetable very quick.  Add the vegetables to boiling water, cook for a very short time and then immediately put vegetables in an ice bath or under cold water to stop the cooking process).

So, first you want to get your water ready.  Always add salt!!!  Put a lid on and try to to peek until you see the steam sneaking out the lid.
Chop your carrots and potatoes.  It is important to get them pretty small and to get the carrots and potatoes about the same size so that they will cook uniformly.
When the water is boiling, add carrots and potatoes.  Cook for 4 minutes.
Drain hot water and immediately submerge in ice bath (or take the lazy way out and put under running cold water).
When onions and celery are done (this should happen about the same time as carrots and potatoes are done), add flour to the onion/butter mixture.
Cook flour about 4 minutes (still on medium heat) until you have a blonde roux.  When the mixture turns a very light caramel color, you will know you have a blonde roux.
Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Be sure to stir to get the lumps out.  Reduce heat and simmer about 5 or 6 minutes...
until sauce starts to thicken.
Add 1/2 and 1/2 and cook 4 or 5 minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Be sure to taste because this is the best time to get the flavor right!
Chop cooked chicken.  (I have said it before, but my favorite way to cook chicken that is going to be used in a dish is to cook it in the broiler.  It takes about 15 to 20 minutes on the second rack in my oven. I heat my iron skillet in the oven with a little bit of olive oil and then add the chicken that has been salt and peppered.  The flavor beats the heck out of the boiled chicken that we all grew up with!)
Add chicken, carrots, potatoes and peas to sauce (I usually am not exact with the amount of vegetables that I add, but I have found that if you add too many potatoes, they don't quite get cooked all the way.)
My family is a pastry dough kind of family.  I have tried pre-made pie crust, homemade pie crust and pastry dough.  We always like it best with pastry dough.  I use the store bought kind, maybe one day I will make my own, but for now, the store bought is good enough!

Make sure to grease the dish you are going to cook the pot pie in!  If not, all that delicious dough will stay in the dish and not make it to your plate!  Line your dish with pastry dough (or pie crust).  I take my pastry dough out of the freezer when I start cooking and let it thaw out.  Then I usually have to stretch it out a little bit so that it will cover the entire dish.
Pour in the delicious filling (that you have tasted and made sure there is enough salt and pepper because at this point there is no going back).
Top the filling with the second pastry dough sheet and then dot with butter.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for one hour and then let sit for about 5 minutes before eating.

Now I am not going to tell you that this is a quick, 30 minute meal.  It will take about 45 minutes of constant work in the kitchen.  I usually have to turn on the t.v. for the kids when I am making this.  But, if you can chop vegetables and stir vegetables while they are cooking, then you can make this!  You can even make it ahead and then cook later that night (just be sure to take out of refrigerator about 20 minutes before you cook it.)

And I will tell you, the results are worth it!
Just ask the Lee Kids...
And trust me,
these are some tough critics!

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