Summerhill Market's chicken pot pies are legendary, with customers snapping up over 300 pies a day. Full to bursting with marvellously moist chicken, carrots, celery and peas topped in a creamy sauce under a flakey crown of buttery puff pastry, chef Jameson Watermulder says the secret is using "the best chicken and the best sauce, not to mention homemade puff pastry." Summerhill's chickens are poached whole, and chef Watermulder thickens the sauce with a roux of rendered chicken fat and flour, which produces the signature thick rich and creamy sauce. Rated as one of the best pot pies in town, Summerhill's Chicken Pot Pies are the closest thing to homemade, with many customers buying a dozen at a time.
Summerhill Market Chicken Pot Pie
Makes 2 pot pies - 6 servings each
3 lb chicken pieces, white and dark meat, or 1 whole chicken split in half
1 tsp salt
1 onion, quartered
5 sprigs fresh thyme
3 bay leaves
2 cups finely sliced carrots
1 1/2 cups finely sliced celery
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp white or black pepper and kosher salt
1 pkg frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 large egg
2 tbsp whole milk
In large pot, cover the chicken with 6 cups water. Add salt, onion, thyme, bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer until it's falling-off-the-bone tender, about 1 hour. With tongs, transfer the chicken to a plate and let cool enough to handle.
Meanwhile, add the carrots to the pot and boil over medium-high heat, covered, for 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, divide the carrots between two 6-cup shallow casserole dishes.
Remove the skin from the chicken and separate the meat from the bones and dice into 1/2-inch pieces. Divide between the dishes along with the celery and peas, mixing well. Strain the cooking liquid and skim off the fat. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, and cook the flour and pepper, stirring, for one minute. Gradually whisk in 5 cups of the cooking liquid, bring to a boil and cook stirring often, until smooth and thickened, about 5 minutes. Pour over the chicken mixture, season with salt and pepper, then allow to cool for 30 minutes.
Make-ahead: Refrigerate until cold, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days or overwrap with heavy-duty foil and freeze for up to 2 weeks; thaw in refrigerator and add 10 minutes to baking time.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out each half of puff pastry about 2 inches larger than the top of the dish. Place over the dish and trim to leave 1/2-inch overhang, reserving the excess pastry. Press the overhang onto and over the edge of the dish. With a fork, whisk the egg with the milk, then brush over the pastry. Use the excess pastry to cut out shapes and place on top if desired, and brush the egg mixture over the pastry details, and cut 4 to 6 steam vents. Bake at 400°F until the filling is bubbly and the pastry is golden, about 25 minutes.