I love a great homemade pot pie, always have, always will. Pot pies were something I grew up eating. But at my age, they are now considered an indulgent treat. My whole family loves these savory pot pies and who can blame them, they are a rich comfort food that’s perfect on a cold winter night.
My mom made pot pies when I was a kid, but typically only once a year–the day after Thanksgiving. Many people do this because they are a great way to use up leftover turkey. I’m not a fan of leftovers generally, but pot pies are my one exception.
Many believe pot pies originated in Greece where it was common for the meat to be cooked and placed in open pastry shells called “artocreas”. The Romans are the ones who added a top crust making it into a fully enclosed savory pie. It was not until the 19th Century that a pot pies became popular in America.
Process-wise, this dish is rather versatile and can be made in the oven, stovetop, in a large casserole dish or individual, without sacrificing a thing. Typically, pot pies have a single flaky pie crust on top, but sometimes, like their fruit pie cousins, they are made with a second bottom crust as well.
While I prefer turkey or chicken in my pot pies, beef or vegetables work just as well in this recipe. This cross-cultural dish is so adaptable, you can even find amazing vegan-friendly versions out there. I make my pot pies with a single top crust and typically individual, for a more dramatic presentation.
Two critical components to remember when making a great pot pie: (1) a killer crust (I use my pate brisee (pie dough)_ recipe with half the sugar) and (2) a creamy, flavorful filling. So no shortcuts. Not a quick meal by any means, they are a labor of love that’s worth it if done well. Pot pies can be made and baked, held in the refrigerator for later or frozen and baked another day, something I do often.
- 2x my pate brisee pie dough recipe (or equivalent) with 1/2 the sugar
- 1-1 1/2 cups roasted turkey, or boneless, skinless chicken breasts, boiled and shredded
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 3/4-1 cup fresh (or frozen) green peas
- 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin olive oil
- 1 (8-ounce) package white button mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
- 3/4 cup yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 1/4 cup cognac (sherry or brandy work fine as well)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups homemade or good quality chicken broth
- 2 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/4-inch cubes
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 1 egg plus 1 teaspoons water, for egg wash
- Step 1 Fill a medium size sauce pot halfway with water and place over high meat. Once boiling, add the carrots and blanch for about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, remove the carrots and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Repeat the above process with the green peas, blanching for about 1 minute till bright green. Drain and run under cold water. Place the carrots and peas in a medium size mixing bow and add the boiled shredded chicken. Set aside.
- Step 2 Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly oil 6 (8-ounce) ramekins and place on the prepared baking sheet. Set aside.
- Step 3 Place a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and when hot but not smoking, add the mushrooms and sauté for about 2-3 minute. Next add the onions and cook an additional minute. Add the garlic and cook about 30 seconds till fragrant.
- Step 4 Add the cognac and let cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the butter and once melted, add the flour, while stirring constantly over medium heat for about 1-2 minutes. Add the chicken stock potatoes, salt and pepper and continue to cook until thickened. Remove from the heat and mix in the chicken-carrot mixture, heavy cream and thyme. Allow the filling to cool slightly.
- Step 5 In the meantime, prepare the pie crust. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out about 1 inch larger than the ramekins or baking dish you are using. Repeat with the remaining dough and set aside.
- Step 6 Fill the ramekins with a generous amount, but not to the very top. Using a pasty brush, lightly brush the ramekins with egg wash. Working on at a time, place a a pie crust cutout on top of the filled ramekin. Fold the extra dough down onto the sides of the ramekin press down lightly to adhere. Gently go around the entire ramekin, pressing down slightly along the edge to help create a good seal. Using a paring knife, cut 1-2 small slits on top to allow the steam to escape. Repeat with the remaining ramekins. Brush the finished pies with egg wash.
- Step 7 Place on prepared baking sheet and bake for about 55 minutes, watching closely to make sure the pie crust does not burn. But if you see the crust is browning too fast, place some aluminum foil over the top of the pot pies while baking.
- Step 8 Allow the pot pies to cool slightly before serving.
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