Using up the Contents of the Freezer: Chicken Pot Pie

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In Wednesday’s paper, I have a story that details food safety precautions — especially important for people who may have lost power during the nor’easter. In it, I promised a recipe that would use up everything but the kitchen sink.

I happen to have such a recipe because about a month ago, my freezer quit. Luckily, I have an extra in the basement, so I got busy making these chicken pot pies and froze them again for later. Because I had so much stuff to use up, I doubled the recipe — which is adapted from the Silver Palate Cookbook. If you have a smaller amount, you may certainly half the recipe.

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Chicken Pot Pie

You may either make your own crust, or buy (or use up) frozen puff pastry.

First, make the crust
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 1â?„2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoons sugar
3 to 6 tablespoons ice water

Cut up the butter into very small pieces and place in the refrigerator or freezer while you work with the other ingredients.
Place the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter pieces and pulse until mixture forms coarse small crumbs, about 10 to 15 seconds. Add 3 tablespoons ice water to the mixture and pulse. See if until dough comes together a bit and holds together when you pinch the dough between your fingers. If not, add up to 6 tablespoons. (It took me 5 this time.)
Dump the dough onto the counter and shape into a ball without over working the dough. Divide into 2 pieces and shape each into a flat round disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
Yield: 2 pie crusts.

For the Pot Pie:
2 chicken breasts, bone on
1 to 2 pounds leftover shredded chicken
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 pound asparagus, woody ends removed
3 pounds baby Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered
8 carrots, peeled and sliced on the bias
2 onions, diced
4 ribs celery, cleaned and sliced on the bias
2 leeks, cleaned and diced
1 pound mushrooms, quartered
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more if necessary
5 tablespoons flour, divided
Salt
Pepper
2 cups chicken broth, divided
1/4 cup brandy or dry white wine
3/4 cup frozen peas
3/4 cup frozen corn
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 egg
1 teaspoon water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the chicken in a baking dish in a single layer. Pour the cream over the chicken and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts.

Remove the chicken from the cream, reserving the cream for the sauce. Once the chicken has cooled, cut it into 1-inch pieces.
If you have a whole chicken, or a package of thighs or breasts — just roast what you’ve got. The point is to use up your chicken.

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil and prepare a bowl of ice water. Cook the asparagus for 2 to 3 minutes until it is bright green. Using tongs, carefully remove the asparagus and place in the ice water. When it is cool, chop into bite-sized pieces.

Bring the asparagus water back to a boil and add a little more salt. Add the potatoes and cook for 5 to 10 minutes. Then add a carrots and cook 5 to 10 minutes more, until both are fork tender. Drain and place in a bowl. You may discard the water.

Be sure all the rest of the ingredients are prepped: onions, celery, leeks, mushrooms and herbs are chopped.

Prepare two large saute pans. In one of them, melt the butter, then add the onions and the celery, salt them, and cook until translucent. Add the leeks and mushrooms, salt them, and cook until the mushrooms are darker in color.

Divide the onion mixture between the two pans. Add more butter to the second pan if necessary. Add half the flour to each pan (2 1/2 tablespoons each), stir and cook 5 minutes, but do not brown. Slowly add 1 cup of broth to each pan, whisking until the sauce smoothes out and thickens. Between the two pans, divide the cream, cognac, tarragon, thyme, salt and pepper and cook 5 more minutes.

Between the two pans, divide the chicken breast meat, the shredded chicken, potatoes, carrots, asparagus, peas and corn and mix gently into the sauce. Pour mixture into a two 2 quart casseroles, a large soufflé dish, or large ramekins for individual pot pies.

Only bake one pie at a time.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Roll out the pastry to fit and place over the dish or cut the pastry to fit the ramekins. Press down the pastry edges, folding them as necessary. Beat together the egg and water and brush over the top of the pastry to give a nice glossy finish to the crust. Cut a few steam vents in the pastry and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown.

Yield: 2 large pies or 12 individual pot pies.

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About Author

Liz Johnson is content strategist for The Journal News and lohud.com, and the founding editor of lohudfood, formerly know as Small Bites. As food editor, she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.

1 Comment

  1. chemises, des impers et même des chaussures ! Plein de grandes marques et de designers pour pas (trop!) cher.?On me prend pour une gamine

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