We’re about to embark on a culinary journey that leads to one of my absolute favourites – the humble, yet oh-so-delicious, Chicken Pot Pie. Just hearing that name makes my taste buds tingle in anticipation.
And yes, this delightful dish can be yours to create and savour right in your own kitchen. I’m here to guide you step-by-step, so grab your apron, let’s get started!
Now, let’s travel back in time a bit. The concept of the pot pie has roots that go deep into history. Its ancestry can be traced back to the Romans, who were known to serve it during banquets, but it was the Greeks who are believed to have invented the pastry shell.
So, when you’re making this dish, you’re partaking in a tradition that dates back centuries. There’s a bit of an adventurer in all of us cooks, isn’t there?
Fast forward to the American colonies in the 19th century, where the pot pie, having journeyed across the Atlantic, took on a new character. This is where our beloved Chicken Pot Pie was born, embracing the chicken, vegetables and pastry that we know and love today.
Over time, it has evolved into a quintessential comfort food, warming our hearts and stomachs on chilly days, or simply when we need a culinary hug.
Now, I can almost hear your thoughts whizzing, wondering about the level of difficulty involved in making a Chicken Pot Pie. Well, allow me to reassure you. It’s actually pretty straightforward. Yes, you heard right! This recipe has a difficulty level of medium.
Don’t be discouraged though. Like anything worthwhile, the Chicken Pot Pie demands a little bit of your time and attention, but in return, it rewards you with a symphony of flavours that makes every minute worthwhile.
Don’t worry, this is not a wild goose chase – or should I say, wild chicken chase! Every instruction in this recipe is concise, guiding you along every step. So, from chopping your onions to rolling out your puff pastry, you’ll feel like a pro navigating through each process.
In this recipe, we’ll be using a combination of fresh vegetables, boneless chicken, aromatic herbs, a dash of whole milk, and a puff pastry sheet to crown it all. The result is a pot pie that’s beautifully golden on the outside and filled with a warm, savoury, creamy filling on the inside.
But enough of the build-up. Let’s get down to the real deal – creating a Chicken Pot Pie that’s a testament to your culinary prowess, a dish that makes your kitchen the heart of your home.
A dish that is not just food, but an experience. So, get ready to embrace the historical, tasty wonder that is Chicken Pot Pie. This isn’t just cooking, it’s a voyage through time – with a delicious destination!
Chicken Pot Pie, a warm and comforting classic, is a symphony of flavours and textures that comes together beautifully to create a dish that’s satisfying on many levels.
The choice of ingredients is crucial to its preparation, and understanding why they’re used gives you a greater appreciation of this homely recipe. Below, I’ve broken down each ingredient, explained its role in the dish, and suggested alternatives where appropriate.
Chicken Breasts: As a lean protein, chicken breast adds a hearty bite to the pot pie. It also absorbs the flavours of the other ingredients well. If you prefer darker meat, chicken thighs can be a great substitute.
Olive Oil: Olive oil helps in sautéing the onions and garlic, and it also adds a hint of its own distinct flavour. Any neutral oil, like canola or vegetable oil, can serve as a replacement.
Onion: The humble onion is the backbone of many savoury dishes, providing a sweet and pungent base that balances the other flavours. Yellow or white onions are both good options.
Garlic Cloves: Garlic brings a unique aromatic flavour that complements the other ingredients. If you’re not a fan of garlic, you could try using garlic powder or completely omit it.
Carrots and Celery: These vegetables add a sweet and earthy flavour profile. They also introduce a much-needed crunch for textural contrast. Feel free to experiment with other vegetables like peas or potatoes.
Unsalted Butter: Butter is used to create a roux for the creamy sauce. Its rich flavour enhances the overall dish. If you’re on a dairy-free diet, a plant-based butter substitute can work.
Plain Flour: This ingredient helps thicken the sauce, ensuring a hearty filling for the pie. Cornstarch can be used as a gluten-free alternative, but remember it’s more potent so use less.
Chicken Broth and Whole Milk: These are the liquid components of the sauce, contributing to the creamy and savoury flavour profile of the dish. If preferred, you can use vegetable broth and any non-dairy milk respectively.
Dried Thyme, Salt, and Black Pepper: These spices are grouped together as they serve a similar function. They season the pot pie, enhancing and balancing the flavours of the other ingredients. If you want to vary the flavours, try rosemary or sage instead of thyme.
Puff Pastry: This is the crowning glory of the pot pie. Its flaky, crispy texture contrasts with the creamy filling. You could also use a shortcrust pastry for a more biscuit-like topping.
Egg: This is used for the egg wash, which gives the pastry a beautiful golden-brown colour when baked. A dairy-free alternative would be a mix of maple syrup and non-dairy milk.
Making a delicious chicken pot pie starts with selecting the right cut of chicken. I find that boneless, skinless chicken breasts are ideal because they’re lean, easy to work with, and they cook quickly. When cut into bite-sized pieces, as in this recipe, they cook evenly and soak up the flavourful sauce quite nicely.
However, there’s plenty of room for customization here. If you prefer a more tender, juicy meat, you might want to try chicken thighs. Thighs are darker meat and have a more pronounced flavour than breasts. They’re also typically cheaper, which can be a bonus if you’re cooking on a budget.
If you really want to elevate your chicken pot pie, you could also consider using a mix of both breasts and thighs. This way, you can enjoy the best of both worlds – the lean texture of the breast and the rich flavour of the thigh.
Don’t shy away from experimenting and using what you and your family prefer. A recipe is just a guideline, after all. The real magic happens when you adapt it to suit your personal tastes.
While puff pastry is a classic choice for chicken pot pie due to its light, flaky texture and rich taste, I understand that not everyone may have it on hand or prefer its taste. Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives that you can use.
For a slightly healthier alternative, you can try using phyllo dough. It’s lower in fat than puff pastry but still offers a wonderfully crisp, flaky texture.
Shortcrust pastry is another great option. It’s a little more robust than puff pastry and has a buttery, rich flavour that complements the chicken filling beautifully. It’s also very easy to work with and less prone to puffing up and distorting during baking.
For something a little different, why not try a biscuit topping? A savoury biscuit dough can be dropped onto the filling in spoonfuls and baked until golden and fluffy. It creates a wonderfully comforting, homey dish that’s a bit like a cross between a pot pie and a casserole.
Just remember, whatever alternative you choose, make sure to cut slits in your chosen pastry to allow steam to escape during baking.
I love cooking, but I also appreciate the value of leftovers, especially when they’re as delicious as chicken pot pie. Knowing how to store leftover chicken pot pie properly can ensure you get to enjoy this comforting meal again and again.
Firstly, you’ll need to let your chicken pot pie cool completely at room temperature. However, don’t leave it sitting out for more than two hours, as bacteria can start to grow.
Once cool, transfer your leftovers into airtight containers. You can either store it as one large piece or portion it into individual servings for easier reheating later.
Leftover chicken pot pie can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. When you’re ready to eat it, reheat it in the oven at a moderate temperature until it’s heated through. I find this retains the crispiness of the pastry much better than microwaving.
Remember, the key to safe and delicious leftovers is proper storage and prompt refrigeration. This way, you get to savour every last bite of your homemade chicken pot pie.
As a fan of meal prepping and enjoying home-cooked meals even on busy days, I’ve found that chicken pot pie freezes exceptionally well. It’s a perfect dish to make in bulk, enjoy on the day of cooking, and then freeze the leftovers for a quick and comforting future meal.
To freeze a cooked chicken pot pie, allow the pie to cool completely at room temperature after baking. Once cool, wrap it tightly in a layer of plastic wrap, and then a layer of aluminium foil.
This double layer ensures that the pie is well protected against freezer burn. Make sure to label it with the date so you can keep track of how long it’s been stored.
When it comes to reheating, you have two options. If you have time, I recommend thawing the pie in the refrigerator overnight, then baking it in the oven at 375°F until it’s heated through and the pastry is crisp and golden.
This could take 30-40 minutes, depending on the size of your pie. If you’re in a hurry, you can bake it straight from frozen. Just increase the baking time to ensure the middle is thoroughly heated.
Enjoying a homemade chicken pot pie doesn’t always require hours in the kitchen, especially if you have one ready to go in your freezer!
In the hustle and bustle of daily life, I understand that convenience is often a key factor when it comes to preparing meals. One shortcut that can save a lot of time and effort is using a store-bought rotisserie chicken for your chicken pot pie.
Rotisserie chicken is pre-cooked and wonderfully flavourful, meaning it just needs to be shredded and added to the mix of vegetables and sauce. This can significantly reduce your cooking time. Plus, it’s a great way to use up any leftover rotisserie chicken you might have from another meal.
Don’t be concerned about the chicken being overcooked. Once mixed with the creamy sauce and enclosed in the pastry, it will remain juicy and delicious. So if you’re pressed for time, don’t hesitate to give this time-saving trick a try. Your chicken pot pie will be just as comforting and delicious as ever!
One of the things I love about chicken pot pie is how it’s a meal in itself—rich, creamy, and fulfilling. But pairing it with the right side dish can turn an already delicious meal into a truly special dining experience.
For something light and refreshing, a simple green salad is an excellent choice. The crisp, fresh greens contrast beautifully with the creamy, rich pot pie. You could add a tangy vinaigrette to balance out the richness of the pot pie.
If you want to add more vegetables to your meal, roasted brussels sprouts or asparagus could be great additions. Their slightly bitter taste can help cut through the creaminess of the pie. Similarly, steamed green beans or a medley of roasted root vegetables can add colour, flavour, and extra nutrients.
For a more indulgent option, consider serving your chicken pot pie with a side of mashed potatoes. Yes, it’s a double carb, but the creamy potatoes pair so well with the pie filling and let’s be honest—comfort food is all about indulgence!
Remember, the best side dish is the one that you enjoy the most, so don’t be afraid to experiment!
Whether due to dietary restrictions, personal preference, or health reasons, some people might want to substitute whole milk in the chicken pot pie recipe. As someone who enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, I can assure you there are numerous dairy-free alternatives you can use.
Almond milk is a popular substitute due to its mild flavour and creamy texture. It’s also lower in calories and higher in vitamins than whole milk, making it a healthier option. However, it’s essential to use unsweetened almond milk to avoid adding a sweet flavour to your pie.
Coconut milk is another option, particularly if you’re looking for a thicker, creamier texture. It does have a distinct flavour, which some people love and others not so much, so keep this in mind when considering your options.
Soy milk and oat milk can also be used as they both have relatively neutral flavours and similar consistencies to cow’s milk.
The key when substituting is to start with a one-to-one ratio. If the sauce seems too thin, you can always whisk in a little extra flour to help it thicken up.
There are times when you might not have chicken broth handy, or you might prefer a vegetarian alternative. Luckily, I’ve found several viable options over the years.
Vegetable broth is the most straightforward substitute, as it has a similar consistency to chicken broth and adds a savoury note to the sauce. It’s widely available in most supermarkets and health food stores.
If you don’t have any type of broth on hand, water combined with a good-quality bouillon cube or powder can work. This usually offers a richer, more concentrated flavour and can be adjusted according to taste.
Remember, the key to a good substitute is balancing flavours. Don’t be afraid to taste and adjust the seasoning of your pie filling as you cook.
I’ve found that many traditional recipes can be tweaked to fit a plant-based lifestyle, and chicken pot pie is no exception. Here’s how I’ve adapted it over the years to create a vegetarian-friendly version that’s just as hearty and comforting as the original.
Firstly, replace the chicken with a mixture of hearty vegetables. Mushrooms, for instance, are a fantastic substitute as they have a meaty texture and absorb flavours well. Other veggies such as zucchini, bell peppers, peas, and green beans also work wonderfully.
Instead of chicken broth, I use vegetable broth to create the sauce. If you can find it, “no-chicken” broth gives a closer flavour to the original recipe while still being 100% vegetarian.
The roux, made from flour and butter, remains the same. For a vegan version, switch out the butter for a dairy-free alternative like margarine or olive oil.
For the puff pastry, ensure that it’s vegetarian or vegan-friendly as some brands may use lard or butter. There are plenty of options available in most supermarkets.
The result? A delicious, hearty pot pie that’s packed with vegetables and flavour. Trust me; you won’t miss the chicken at all!
When I first thought of making chicken pot pie in a slow cooker, I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. But after some experimentation, I found it to be a game-changer, especially on busy days when I don’t have time to monitor the stove.
To adapt the recipe for the slow cooker, first, you need to cook the chicken and vegetables in the slow cooker. Combine the chicken, onion, garlic, carrots, and celery with the chicken broth in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
Around 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time, make the roux on the stove as per the original instructions. Once thickened, stir it into the slow cooker to combine with the chicken and vegetables, and allow it to cook for the remaining time.
For the pastry, because it’s not possible to cook puff pastry effectively in the slow cooker, I recommend baking it separately in the oven as per the package instructions, then placing it on top of the slow-cooked filling just before serving.
The slow cooker version of the chicken pot pie is just as delicious and comforting as the original and perfect for those hectic days when you need a little extra convenience in the kitchen.
If you enjoyed my recipe for Chicken Pot Pie, I have a couple more mouth-watering dishes from British cuisine that you might want to try. Let’s start with the ever-popular Cottage Pie.
It’s a comforting dish just like our pot pie, full of rich minced beef and vegetables, all topped with a glorious layer of creamy mashed potato. A single bite will transport you to a cosy British pub on a cold winter night.
Next, we have the hearty Meat and Potato Pie. This one is an absolute treat for those who love the rich, meaty flavour of our pot pie. It combines tender chunks of meat and potatoes enveloped in a crispy, flaky pastry.
This recipe will satisfy your craving for something deeply satisfying and packed with traditional flavours.
Then, let’s not forget about the classic Fish and Chips. A golden, crispy battered fish served alongside chunky chips (what we Americans call fries) that have been twice-fried for extra crunch. This one may not be a pie, but it’s an iconic British dish you absolutely must try.
Also, try out the Shepherd’s Pie, a close cousin of the Cottage Pie, but traditionally made with lamb instead of beef. Topped with mashed potatoes, it’s another warm, comforting dish that you’ll love if you enjoyed our chicken pot pie.
Last but certainly not least, Cheese and Onion Pasties are little parcels of joy. They consist of a flaky, buttery pastry casing, filled with melted cheese and soft, caramelized onions. They’re a fantastic option if you loved the crust of our chicken pot pie but are looking for a vegetarian option.
In essence, if you savoured my Chicken Pot Pie, I am confident that you’ll fall head over heels for these other traditional British dishes. I encourage you to leave a comment letting me know which recipe you’re excited to try next.