2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 3/4 cup milk
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup peeled, diced Klondike Goldust potatoes
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup peeled, cubed rutabaga
1/8 cup dried porcini mushrooms
2 carrots, cut into coins
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 parsnips, cut into coins
1 onion, diced
1 shallot, minced
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons minced Italian parsley
1 tablespoon minced dill (or sage)
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1 bay leaf
1 egg, beaten
freshly ground black pepper
puff pastry (if using defrosted frozen, you will only need one sheet)
Preheat oven to 350. Rehydrate the mushrooms in hot water. Drain, dice and set aside. Melt the butter in a large skillet with high sides, a large saucepan or a stove top and oven safe 2 quart casserole. Add the onion, garlic, shallot, celery, carrots, potatoes and rutabaga. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent. Stir in the flour and cook for one to two minutes. Add the milk, bay leaf, and stock. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid reduces and thickens a bit, about 10-15 minutes. Fish out the bay leaf. Add the chicken, mushrooms, peas, herbs and spices. Stir to evenly distribute all ingredients. Cook for 2 minutes. If you reduced the liquid too much and it now looks dry, add a bit of white wine or the water leftover from re-hydrating the mushrooms or broth to the mixture. Divide into 6 10 oz ramekins or pour into a 2 quart casserole dish. Leave only about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of room at the top.
Top with a layer of puff pastry. Pierce with a knife. Brush with egg. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly.
I never gave pot pies much thought until I had a really good one with puff pastry and a hint of truffle at a restuarant this winter. I liked the lack of a bottom crust and while there were not quite enough vegetables for my taste, it was saucy but not soupy or too rich.
After that meal, I kept the idea of making a puff pastry topped pot pie in the back of my mind. Roasters went on sale this week so I roasted one for dinner with an eye on having lots of leftovers so I could make a pot pie later in the week.
The leftover meat was really flavorful and juicy so I knew it would make a great pot pie. With such a simple dish, you really need to use flavorful ingredients to avoid blandness. I added a lot of fresh winter friendly vegetables to make it an even more encompassing one dish meal.
Using puff pastry makes the dish much quicker to make than using a traditional homemade pastry crust and I like the texture contrast between the flaky crust and the creamy filling. Matt chopped up the rutabaga, parsnip, onion, shallot, garlic, carrot and celery the night before and we refrigerated them overnight in an air tight container which really speed up the process when I went to actually make the dish. Of course I had already roasted, cubed and measured the chicken earlier in the week. I am glad I took the time to assemble the ingredients because I ended up with a totally delicious meal that required little effort. It really was the ultimate chicken pot pie.
Bonus recipe: my secret for easy, juicy roasted chicken. Preheat oven to 325. Rub a 5-8 lb roasting chicken with olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with Montreal Steak Seasoning (also available generically as “Canadian” Seasoning but I like McCormick’s because you can buy it in very large shaker containers). Roast until the chicken is fully cooked. Allow the chicken to cool until it can be handled. Dust off most of the spices and discard the skin. Remove the meat. I like to cube it and store white and dark meat separately.