Comforting Chicken Pot Pie
When I first moved to the UK, I had no friends, no boyfriend, no family, and was, on average, going to Blockbuster every other day (my internet didn’t work yet, takes a month here to get it set up- horrors). I had travelled here with a lot of hope, but at the beginning I experienced 85mph winds, 13 inches of rain, and haggis (which I thought I “had” to try). Worse, after the haggis encounter, I had decided to become a GASP shhhhhhhhhhhhh vegetarian….. I ate tofu cacciatore for dinner 3 nights in a row. How low can you go? Lower. I had decided to try my hand at becoming an artiste (well, really a scribbler). I figured I might as well be a starving one (aka vegetarian) because they make more money and look a lot better in red lipstick. But, inevitably (5 days to be precise) I got hungry. I also finally figured out how to turn on the oven in my apartment (you have to turn on a switch that is under the freezer, duh). What was the first thing I made? My momma’s chicken pot pie. It is warm, it is creamy, it has a crispy pastry, and it is decidedly not vegetarian (although I guess you could make it that way). I ate the entire thing myself while crying out the window about how homesick I was, but then had to close the window because it was FREEZING. It did make me feel better though until I realized that I ate the whole thing and needed to go find a gym to join. But let me tell you, if you are ever sick, tired, sad, or really just want a cozy delicious meal at home, my momma’s chicken pot pie is the WHOLE shebang. A mixture of glorious vegetables and shredded chicken in a thick cream sauce with a nice crispy pastry on top is the cure for everything that ails you. It also only takes about 20 minutes to prepare and 20 minutes to cook (if you use pre-prepared pastry like I did!).
I don’t want you to think living in Scotland is all bad, like anything, there was a silver lining: if American guys start off on the scale at 0, them Scottish guys start off at 3 or 4 just with the accents. Scottish girls* are not exactly well known for their ethereal beauty , so I go up on the scale a bit. The playing field leveled off quite nicely folks.
P.S. Blockbuster had a limit of renting 7 movies at one time. Don’t know how I know that…
Ingredients: Serves 4 or 1 very hungry, homesick individual
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 250g sliced mushrooms (3 cups)
- 2 yellow onions, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 150g frozen peas (1 cup)
- 50 g butter +2 Tbs (1/3c + 2 Tbs)
- 50g flour (1/3 c)
- 240mL heavy cream ( 1 cup)
- 360mL chicken stock (1 1/2 cups)
- 120mL white wine (1/2 cup)
- 2 Tbs fresh thyme, minced
- salt, white pepper
- 2 squares pre-prepared shortcrust pastry (or be fancy for a recipe here)
- 1 egg
- 30cm by 30cm oven proof casserole dish (12 by 12 in)
- Preheat oven to 200 C (400 F). Roll out one piece of pastry and place in a casserole dish. Brush with whisked egg and bake for 15 minutes. Set aside.
- In a saute pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and sauté the chicken breasts until thoroughly cooked through (about 10 minutes). Don’t worry too much about overcooking since it will be shredded into the sauce. Set aside.
- In the same sauté pan, add the 2 Tbs of butter and sauté onions, about 6 minutes. They should still be a bit crunch. Add in half the thyme. Do the same with the carrots (about 4 minutes) and mushrooms (about 8 minutes) until just tender.
- In a large sauce pan over low heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk well until a paste type texture is formed, also called a roux. Slowly add the chicken stock, whisking constantly, followed by the wine. Let simmer about 3 minutes. Meanwhile shred the chicken.
- Lastly add the cream to the sauce and then add all ingredients (shredded chicken and vegetables.) Pour this mixture into the casserole that has the baked pastry inside. Then lay the second piece of pastry on top and brush with the whisked egg. Make 3 slits in the top of the pastry. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.
* No disrespect meant to Scottish girls, I’m sure there are American stereotypes that would be horrible. I’ll list them (promiscuous, ignorant, fat, stupid, arrogant, materialistic, I could go on forever).