Can you feel it in the air? Fall is right around the corner. I used to think my mom was crazy when she would say that while we were waiting for the school bus. But as I’ve gotten older, I CAN feel it and I’m so excited for it this year. It was a dreadfully hot summer.
One of those perfect fall foods that just warms your soul is Chicken Pot Pie. And let’s face it, the frozen stuff is just crap. And if you think that it’s good, it is probably because you’ve never had REAL pot pie. And if you’ve made real pot pie from scratch before, you remember how much work it was and how long it takes! Luckily, the test kitchen at Cooks Illustrated has your back! This recipe cooks in just about 90 minutes and it’s phenomenal. In fact, my husband instructed me that I am to make this one from now on, forget any other recipe he said!
As the friendly folks over at CI have noted, though it does call for two ingredients that are unusual to pot pie, do not get tempted to leave out the soy sauce and tomato paste. You use just a little of it and the flavor is just incredible. Trust me. And them. Amazing.
Chicken Pot Pie with Savory Crumble Topping
Recipe from Cooks Illustrated, September & October 2010 issue
1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into slices
2 small celery ribs, chopped fine
1 pkg mushrooms, washed and sliced
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp tomato paste
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 tbsp minced fresh parsley leaves
3/4 cup frozen baby peas
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
6 tbsp butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, chilled
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp heavy cream (not regular milk)
Preheat oven to 450.
For the chicken: Bring the chicken and broth to a simmer in a covered Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook until chicken is done, then transfer chicken to a bowl. Pour the broth through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl and save.
For the topping: Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper in a large bowl. Sprinkle the butter pieces in and incorporate with your fingers until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Stir in the parmesan, then add the cream and stir until just combined. Place on a lined, rimmed baking sheet and bake 10-13 minutes until becoming fragrant and browning. Set aside.
For the filling: Heat 1 tbsp oil in the empty Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and stir well. Cook until vegetables are tender, and while they are cooking, shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Transfer cooked vegetables to the bowl with the chicken and set aside.
Heat the remaining oil in the pot and then add mushrooms, cover and cook until mushrooms have released their juices, about 5 minutes. Remove cover and stir in the soy sauce and tomato paste. Cook, stirring until the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are browned. Transfer the mushrooms to the bowl with the chicken and veggies.
Heat butter in the pot and when the foaming subsides, add the flour and cook for one minute, stirring. Slowly whisk in the reserved chicken broth and milk. Bring to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan to get those browned bits up. Simmer about a minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and parsley. Stir in chicken and vegetable mixture and pease into the sauce. Pour into a greased 13×9 baking dish and sprinkle crumble topping evenly over the top. Bake until filling is bubbling and topping is well browned, about 12-15 minutes.