Winter has finally made it’s presence known this week. To be honest, I was starting to doubt that those chilling winter winds were ever going to arrive, but they have and it’s time to change-up the dinner menu and start making the family some winter warmers. So I’m re-visiting a family favourite and sharing some of my cheaty secrets as well.
This Chicken Pot Pie is a huge favourite around here with even The Vegemite Kid cleaning his plate, veges and all! It’s makes quite a large batch, so it’s up to you whether you make 2 pies (freezing one for later) or one huge pie like us to feed a family of 8. It’s one of those meals that I like to keep in the freezer for nights when getting a meal on the table just doesn’t seem do-able. And if you do find yourself driving home without any idea what’s for dinner, just make a quick stop at the shops to pick up a BBQ Chicken, and you will have your meal on the table in no time.
Country Chicken Pot Pie
1 Cup Celery, diced
1 Cup Onion, diced
1/3 Cup Butter, melted (or I use a little Olive Oil)
1/2 Cup Plain Flour
2 Cups Reduced Sodium Chicken Stock
1 Cup Light & Creamy Evaporated Milk
4 Cups Cooked Chicken, diced or shredded (You could cheat and use a bought BBQ Chicken)
1 Cup Frozen Peas, thawed
Salt and Pepper to taste
4 Sheets Frozen Puff Pastry or 2 Pie Bases and 2 Sheets Pastry (or make your own)
In a large pan, sautee the carrot, celery and onion in melted butter or oil until onion is soft and translucent.
Now, here’s the cheaty bit! If I haven’t pre-cooked my chicken, which more often than not is the case, this is where I toss in my diced chicken and let it cook through before adding the flour in the next step. And it has made absolutely no difference to the tenderness of the chicken, so this is my new way of doing it.
Add flour, stirring constantly for 1 minute.
Continue stirring as you add the chicken stock and evaporated milk. The sauce will bubble and thicken, becoming nice and creamy. And, if you have kept stirring you won’t have lumpy sauce. If you absolutely hate evaporated milk, you can use 1/2 Cup Milk and 1/2 Cup Cream. We just went with the healthier option.
Add your chicken (if you haven’t already), peas, and salt and pepper to taste.
While your filling is cooling, prepare your pie cases by placing your base in the oven until it turns a nice light golden colour. This prevents the pastry from going soggy once you have added the filling. If you are using puff pastry, lightly grease your pie plates and line with your sheet of pastry, trimming the edges as needed, then place in the oven to cook a little. Sometimes I don’t use a base at all and just have a top on my pie.
Once your bases are ready, add your filling and cover with your remaining sheets of pastry, trim as needed, and if you feel the need, as I did, use your left-over pastry scraps to decorate your pie. Tuesday I decorated it with the traditional leaves, but I have made love hearts and even little messages on the tops of my pies. Give it a try!