Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie the New-fashioned Way

When four of us were all living in the same house, I made chicken pot pie from scratch. Everything about it was homemade, including the gravy and the pie crust. The only thing that would've been more authentic would be a freshly killed chicken, but I didn't have one of those, so I bought a cheap frying chicken, dunked it in a pot of boiling water, and then spent too much time picking the meat off the bones.

Now, as the mother of grown children and the wife of a man who doesn't eat pot pies, stews, or most anything else involving veggies, I have no one to bake that old-fashioned pot pie for, except myself. I'm not about to go to all that trouble just for me; if I'm going to do that much work, it must somehow involve chocolate. (Sorry, chicken and chocolate don't mix.)

Yet I still crave it—the flaky crust, savory gravy, fresh-tasting vegetables, and chunks of genuine chicken. After trying various store-bought versions, I'm convinced there is no substitute for homemade.

The need: a pot pie for one. The problem: I can't find a recipe. The solution: Create my own recipe, and make it do-able in 20 minutes instead of two hours.

I gathered a few staples from my pantry & fridge: chicken bouillon, chicken gravy powder, Heinz chicken gravy, frozen peas, fresh carrots, one small potato, Kirkland chicken, refrigerated croissants (the kind that come in a roll), and milk. Then, guessing but not measuring, I did this:
  • Preheated the oven to 350 or so (this old oven is off by about 25 degrees)
  • Heated some milk on the stove
  • Mixed some chicken gravy powder with a little water and poured it into the heated milk, stirring a lot till it thickened
  • Dumped the rest of the leftover Heinz chicken gravy into the heated mixture; stirred
  • Chopped up some baby carrots, nuked them till tender, and dumped them in the mixture
  • Nuked the potato for a couple of minutes until slightly tender
  • Put a handful of frozen peas in the mixture
  • Peeled the cooked potato, diced it, and put it in the mixture
  • Put an entire can of Kirkland chicken breast in the mixture (I'm stirring all of this together, right?)
  • Tasted the mixture and decided it needed more chicken flavor; put some bouillon in
  • Heated the mixture thoroughly for a few minutes, then poured it in a small (Marie Callender-sized) pie tin
  • Quickly poured it into a larger pie tin before it spilled over the edges (this was shaping up to be a family-sized pie after all)
  • Unrolled the refrigerator croissants and laid most of them over the top of the mixture, cutting and shaping as necessary so they fit with edges mostly touching
  • Put the whole thing in the oven and set the timer for 11 minutes (about the time recommended to brown the croissants)
  • Guessed at the 11 minutes after my husband accidentally shut off the timer
  • Pulled out a perfectly browned, delicious pot pie
From start to finish, it took a little more than 20 minutes; it'll be faster next time, now that I have a "recipe."

After I realized how much I had made, I did my best to talk Scotty into sharing it with me, but he firmly maintained his "I don't do pot pies" stance. I texted my son who lives 10 minutes away to see if his family had already had dinner; they had. So I dug in with a fork, not even bothering to scoop a serving onto a plate.

I'll be eating it for a week, but... Yum.


Debbi said...

Girl, I'm with you all the way. Next time I'm in Phoenix...

mlstewart said...

ok, Jenny...that sounds good and all, but that is NOT from scratch! :) seriously...Swansen's would be just as much. But...glad you enjoyed it. You could always do all of your chicken-cooking ahead of time and freeze it, since that is the most time consuming part. Sorry, I am so all about whole foods and cutting out the processed stuff with my training at the gym.

MommaTria said...

I will have to try it, Jenny! Looks delicious!! :)