Wintery Chicken Pot Pie

When I was in college I actually used to buy those frozen pot pies to cook in my dorm-room microwave. Then one day I looked at the label — 64 grams of fat! Yikes! It’s amazing how many extra calories and grams of fat are in processed foods. Yuck. I actually try to eat as little processed foods as possible these days so no more frozen pot pies for this girl. Thank goodness for this great recipe, right?

The first time I had this recipe it was at my friend Shelby’s house for a girls night. She served up perfect cupcake-sized potpies that were just delicious. I knew I had to make them myself as soon as possible. This recipe isn’t difficult, but it does take a little more time than my usual 30 minute dinner mostly because you have to cook up your chicken and potatoes before making your pie and then you have to cook it all together for another 30-55 minutes. But this is SO worth it! I made this when we had some friends coming over for dinner, and we served it up as 4 individual pot pies, but you could also just make one big pie in your normal pie pan. Also — be SURE that you defrost your pie crust well before you need to use it. Mine took over an hour to thaw.

This recipe is perfect for a cold, wintery night… which doesn’t happen too often for us here in San Diego but who’s complaining? Not me.

Ingredients:

  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 4-6 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 3 large carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups butternut squash, cubed (you can buy it already cut up and ready to go at Trader Joes)
  • 3 large potatoes, cubed
  • 1 cup diced mushrooms
  • 1 frozen pie crust thawed
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 3 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), sliced
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream

To Make:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat a deep saute pan to medium high heat and add about a tablespoon of your butter, enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Add your chicken and allow to lightly brown on each side, just a few minutes. Then add enough chicken broth to your pan to cover your chicken. Cover and allow to simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until the chicken is full cooked. Using tongs, transfer your chicken to a plate.

2. Add your potatoes, butternut squash, carrots and mushrooms to your pan (still with broth) and simmer until veggies are just tender, 10-15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer veggies to a bowl. Reserve the remaining broth in a bowl for later.

3. Cut up your chicken into bite size cubed and add to your veggie bowl.

4. Back in your pot, melt your butter over medium heat, then add in your shallots, leeks and thyme. Saute around 6-7 minutes. Stir in the flour and keep stirring for 2 minutes. Slowly stir in your 4 cups of broth (if you have a little less than that left after cooking, no worries) and white wine. Increase your heat so that the sauce begins to boil, stirring constantly. Add in your cream and whisk your mixture to keep it smooth. Cook while stirring for about 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Combine your sauce, chicken and veggies in a bowl, stirring gently until well mixed.

6. Now you are ready to make your pies! You can make 6 individual pies in large ramakins or 1 big one in a normal pie pan. Either way this step is kind of the same. Pour your mixture into your pan (or pans if doing individual ones). On your floured countertop, roll out your defrosted pie crust. If doing one large pie, just place the pie dough over your filled pie pan and press down on the edges, using scissors to trim any extra dough. If doing individual pies, I found it easy just to cut 6 equal sized squares out of the dough and lay those over each filled ramakin, pressing down on the edges. Cut a X slit in the top of each pie and place in the oven for 50 minutes for one large pie or 35 minutes for individual pies. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

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