By Chelsea Nemec
As a college student, I am always looking for dinners that are easy and efficient to make. So, when going through the Comfort Food cookbook, those were the qualities I was looking for in a recipe. But I won’t lie: I chose this recipe entirely because its picture had my mouth watering. I love chicken potpies, but I had only experienced the taste of ones typically found in the frozen foods section of my local grocery store. I decided that it was time to see if this homemade recipe would trump the frozen ones in my freezer—I think we both know the answer to that one!
Delicious. Absolutely one of my favorite recipes, and I found ways to shorten up the process in order to cater to my limited amount of time available (and lack of patience when hungry). For this recipe, the main ingredient is obviously chicken, but instead of cooking chicken by itself prior to making the filling, instead I purchased a precooked rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. That way, all that I had to do was pull it apart and add it to the mixture! There is also a fantastic recipe for Food Processor Tart Dough in the Comfort Food cookbook (page 225), if you want to make the crust from scratch—which I highly recommend. Or you could use my hack and buy two crescent roll doughs, which also can give you a good, flaky crust. Overall, it turned out amazing and was surprisingly so quick and easy to make!
Here are the ingredients that you will need for the filling (Comfort Food, page 202):
• 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 2 stalks celery, chopped
• ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
• 1¼ cups chicken or turkey stock
• 1¼ cups milk or half-and-half
• ½ teaspoon crumbled or powdered sage
• ½ teaspoon dried thyme
• 2½ cups diced, cooked chicken
• 2½ cups cooked vegetables (corn, green beans, peas, or other), alone or in combination
• ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
• salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk, for glaze
To start, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and celery, stir, cover, and cook for 6 to 7 minutes, or until soft, stirring occasionally. Add the flour, increase the heat to medium, and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Add the stock and whisk to blend. As the sauce starts to thicken, add the milk, sage, and thyme and whisk to blend. Add the chicken and vegetables and continue to cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until heated through, stirring. Add ⅓ cup of the Parmesan cheese and remove from the heat. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
Butter a shallow 2- to 2½-quart baking dish. Transfer the filling to the dish and smooth the top. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese. Set aside for 15 minutes.
Now, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
On a sheet of wax paper, roll the pastry to be slightly larger than the dish. Invert the pastry over the filling and peel off the paper. Tuck the pastry edges into the dish. With a parting knife, make several cuts, or steam vents, in the pastry. Brush the pastry with the egg glaze. (If the baking dish is quite full, place it on an aluminum foil–lined baking sheet to catch spillovers.)
Bake on the center oven rack for 40 minutes, or until golden and bubbling.
Makes 6 servings.
The preparation is quite efficient, but the waiting game is a challenge. It makes your house smell fantastic; you will be ready to devour it as soon it is taken out of the oven!