Growing up, chicken potpie meant a Swanson’s frozen dinner, pulled hot from the oven before my parents escaped for a night of freedom. Those nights meant freedom to my sister and me, too: babysitters!
The Love Boat! Fantasy Island! Oh my, how we looked forward to watching Charo charm Captain Stubing and his merry crew, sharing a bowl of hot buttery popcorn balanced between our nubby, bandaged knees.
I wanted to recreate the sheer joy, if not the actual taste, of that childhood meal, with a crust that could be drenched in gravy and still retain a crunch, vegetables that stood on their own but melded well together, and chicken that added a savory layer of its own. I also wanted it to be easy.
The filling is so thick, you can stand a spoon in it
Easy and homemade chicken potpie aren’t usually used in the same sentence, this much I know. And because I didn’t want to use too many premade ingredients, I had to pick my battles. Prepared puff pastry? Done (easy choice, since I’m a mess at baking). Rotisserie chicken, now that’s another sodium-laden story altogether; no. Pre-sliced mushrooms, frozen peas, organic low-sodium chicken broth? Yea, sure and okay, fine.
Traditional chicken potpie, frozen or otherwise, usually includes this vegetable trifecta: peas, pearl onions and carrots. I prefer my carrots raw, thank you very much, so those went out the window. I did test this recipe with pearl onions, and while my dad liked them (I suspect they reminded him of my grandmother’s first edition Joy-Of-Cooking-era cooking), I did not. So I opted to act like the child of my youth and pick my own vegetables. Cook’s prerogative, right?
Wrap extra dough around the mouth of the ramekin; nice, but not necessary
Mushrooms, potatoes and peas made the cut; diced onions are the base of the gravy. I roasted the chicken with a simple salt and pepper rub. Obviously, something this nostalgic warranted the full-fat treatment: heavy cream made it into my shopping cart for the first time in ages.
Cut three slits in the dough before placing into the oven
You’ll notice I do cook the vegetables and the chicken separately before combining them with the gravy; don’t let this lure you into thinking the recipe is time-consuming or challenging, because it’s neither. In fact, I managed to prep the filling (once I’d roasted the chicken) in under an hour.
The result? A remarkably easy, make-ahead dish that also freezes well. Oh, and did I mention how delicious it is, how positively can-I-have-another-one fabulous? Just be sure to set a few extra places at the table, this one’s too scrumptious to keep to yourself.
Gluten-free update: Whole Foods sells a great gluten-free pie crust that works well in place of the puff pastry. Substitute a gluten-free flour mix for the flour in the gravy.
Love-at-First-Bite Chicken Potpies
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
1 10-ounce package frozen peas
2 cups red potatoes, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 package pre-sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 cups low-sodium chicken stock
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups red onions, chopped (about 2 medium onions)
¾ cup flour
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
¼ cup heavy cream
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, defrosted overnight in the refrigerator
Prepare the Chicken (this step can be done the day before)
1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
2. Place the chicken breasts on a rimmed baking sheet, brush the oil over each side, then season with salt and pepper, to taste.
3. Set in oven and roast for 30-35 minutes, cooked through until the internal temperature reaches 165°.
4. Let cool, then chop into bite-sized pieces.
Prepare the Vegetables
1. Steam the peas in the microwave per package instructions. Drain and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, heat a pot of water until boiling, add potatoes and a pinch of salt and boil for 10 minutes; potatoes should begin to soften but still have some crunch. Drain and set aside.
3. In a medium skillet, warm a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until soft, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and set aside.
Prepare the Gravy & Filling
1. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Warm ¼ cup olive oil, then sauté the onions until soft, about 12-15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a separate small pot, heat the chicken stock over medium heat.
3. Once the onions are translucent, stir in the flour and reduce the heat to low, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes, until the mixture has begun to thicken.
4. Add the hot chicken stock to the flour mixture and bring to a simmer. Stir in 2 teaspoons salt, ½ teaspoon pepper and the heavy cream.
5. Add the chicken, peas, mushrooms, potatoes and parsley and mix well. Taste and season as needed.
Prepare the Pies
1. Preheat the oven to 375°.
2. Lightly flour your work surface and roll out the puff pastry sheets, one at a time, until you reach a 12”x12” square. Cut each sheet into four squares; you’ll have 8 total.
3. Divide the filling between 8 ovenproof bowls (I used 10-ounce ramekins).
4. Whisk the egg with 1 tablespoon water; brush the rim of each bowl with the egg wash.
5. Cover each ramekin with a square of dough, crimp the edges, then wash each lightly with the egg wash.
6. Place on a baking sheet and bake for an hour, or until the crust has turned golden brown.
Adapted from various recipes by Ina Garten.
Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) says
This looks incredible. Perfect for a dinner party/family dinner. I WILL be making this!
You made this for us one night. It was great. We both loved it.
Simply Life says
I love making pot pies- this looks incredible!
I am sooo hungry! This looks delicious!
These look sublime – I just found your blog via Twitter and so happy I did. Will be back for more very soon 🙂
JDaniel4's Mom says
This looks wonderful. I have only ever had the frozen salt filled kind before.
The Gonzo Gourmet says
Thanks for stopping by! This one is actually very easy to pull together when you go through it in steps. I sometimes double the recipe to have some to freeze.
Mommy's Paradise says
This looks so good, I already had dinner, but I want some more, of the chicken potpie of course.
This recipe looks absolutely scrumptious. Silly question, if I were to freeze them it would be before baking them? And then thaw and bake at 350 for however long when I wanted one.
The Gonzo Gourmet says
Yes, I have frozen them before baking them. I placed the crust on top and popped each into a freezer zipper bag. Then defrost overnight in the fridge and bake at 350. Thanks for stopping by!
Lindsey @ Why Just Eat says
I love chicken pot pies, but they are always eight billion calories with too much butter. Your recipe is so much healthier, and I could reduce the calories even a little more to fit it into my eating plan. Thank you so much for sharing this – I am really looking forward to trying it!
Awesome recipe, I will definitely be trying this one out. Checked the comments for the part about the freezer info. Do you think it must be baked in a ceramic pan? I have some 5″ pie/tart pans that I would love to use for these… Do you think the metal would compromise the taste of the ingredients?
The Gonzo Gourmet says
Hi Laura, I’ve baked these in metal pans and they’ve been fine, but I haven’t frozen them then reheated in metal, so I’m not sure. Good question!
I am using disposable aluminum pans to freeze and bake them later. I am holding two of them back from the chill chest for Sunday dinner though. I will let you know how it turns out. The filling is scrumptious! I used corn, peas, carrots, and green beans for my veggies, and tossed some poultry seasoning on the chicken too. Yummy yum yum.
I baked one of my frozen pies, left to thaw in the fridge for at least a day of course, and it turned out wonderfully. I couldn’t discern a metallic taste in the filling, just scrumptious-ness. The puff pastry didn’t get as puffy as a fresh pie, but it was still tender and good.
Lesley Baker says
Oh my, I’m a sucker for potpie! I love the blog! I found you on stumbleupon.
I just started a new blog, check it out if you have a chance, I’m renovating my first house!
Timorous Beast says
This looks like an amazing recipe, may I suggest two tweaks?
I would tempted to use the chicken juices and oil to make the gravy with, less heathy I know but it’s all about flavour! I would put the peas in still frozen at the end of the pie filling stage, to give them as little cooking as possible. Definitely making this soon.
these look so delicious! growing up my mom would always make me eat those microwavable potpies that are absolutely terrible (for you). Not your mother’s potpie, indeed!
My husband is a huge chicken pot pie fan. I’ll add this to the rotation! (Found you on StumbleUpon!)
Your chicken potpie looks sooooo good. Great photos and great recipes. Thanks for posting.
oh my gosh – this is DEFINITELY not my swanson’s chicken pot pie! i’d MUCH rather have this!!!
Yumm!! I will definitely try that very soon! It looks wonderful!
I’ve been looking everywhere for a good recipe for chicken pot pie. Those look fantastic. And you used my favorite veggies, as I, too, prefer my carrots raw.
this looks amaazing! pot pie is always a weak spot for me 🙂
These are absolutely adorable! And look absolutely delicious!! Thanks so much for the recipe. Cant wait to give them a try
Kim Bee says
New follower. Found you on stumble, glad I did. This looks like a killer pot pie recipe. Love it.
Food Lover says
It looks really delicious and comfy 🙂
Liz @ YUM at first bite says
These look soooo delicious. My husband is huge pot pie fan and I’ve never made them before. With the rain headed our way I see some pot pies in our near future. I can’t wait to make them!
A beautifully written and designed post, plus a “keeper” of a recipe. Will hold for fall weather.