The last time I made pot pies was in early 2006. The reason I remember it so distinctly is because I had just moved back to Des Moines from Colorado, and I didn’t have a job yet. So I was making all kinds of comfort foods. I picked Ina Garten’s recipe for veggie pot pies even though it was far more labor intensive than the recipes I normally made. It took me something like 2 1/2 hours to make, and the next day I came down with bronchitis and laryngitis and was sick for two weeks.
Soooo, fast forward to now. I wanted to make a nice comforting pot pie using chicken left over from a baked chicken.
But this time I wanted it to be a little easier, so I decided to use frozen puff pastry instead of making my own pastry topper. I did find another recipe from Ina, which was a great place to start. I added a bunch of veggies I had around the house and took out the little onions, because I don’t love their flavor.
I’d say this recipe was a total home run. It’s warm and bubbly and comforting, and the puff pastry comes out so flaky and delicious with basically no work at all. You could easily split this up into four bowls with their own crusts on top. Or you can change the veggies based on what you have in the kitchen. One thing I also took from the original veggie recipe was to add saffron to the mix. It’s just a little bit of something different to make this even more special.
Chicken pot pie
adapted from Barefoot Contessa
Meat from half a baked chicken, cubed (recipe here)
-you could also use 2 large chicken breasts, baked with salt and pepper
5 cups chicken stock
1 chicken bouillon cube
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 a fall squash, chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
4 small golden potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
1 yam, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
1 10-ounce package/2 cups frozen peas
pinch of saffron
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 sheets frozen puff pastry
Before you do anything else, take out the puff pastry sheets to thaw. By the time you get finished prepping everything else, they should be soft enough to work with.
Then start chopping all your veggies. Heat up a big stock pot over medium and start melting the butter. Then you can throw in your onions and celery and cook them until they are translucent. This is a good time to start preheating the oven to 375 degrees.
While those are cooking, heat up the chicken stock (either in the microwave or on the stovetop) and dissolve the bouillon cube in it. Add the flour to the onions and celery and stir it up so you get a nice paste.
Now you can add the hot chicken stock, salt, pepper, and saffron. Then add the rest of the veggies and stir in the cream.
Cover the pot and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. This helps the potatoes and squash get cooked all the way through. Then add the cubed chicken and peas and dump it all into a 9×13 baking dish.
Now you can gently place the puff pastry sheets on top of the casserole. I needed 1 1/3 sheets to cover the whole thing. You can also get creative here and do some kind of lattice top or leaf decorations or something.
Ugly presentation. But it tasted good.
Then just bake the whole thing for 1 hour. Let it cool a bit before you dig in.