Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Chicken Pot Pie with Thyme Puff Pastry

A delicious way to use up leftover roast chicken is to make a hot and comforting Chicken Pot Pie. Taking advantage of store bought puff pastry makes the process even easier. The filling can be prepared in advance with any vegetables you have on hand, but I like to use carrots, celery, shiitake mushrooms, fresh thyme, a handful of green peas and sliced leeks sautéed in butter until tender. A rich thick creamy sauce brings the whole dish together, so it's important to taste for seasoning as you go along, adjusting the flavour to suit your palate. The final flourish is laying a rolled out sheet of thyme-spiked puff pastry on top of the casserole and brushing it with an egg wash, using any extra pastry to decorate the top. Baked for about an hour at 400°F and you have a bubbling homemade chicken pot pie capped with a handsome crown of golden puff pastry.

Chopped carrots, celery, leek and lemon thyme with 2 tablespoons of butter

Sautéed for 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft

Sliced shiitake mushrooms, frozen peas and a cup of Madeira wine are added

The mixture is cooked until the liquid is mostly cooked off

The leftover roasted chicken is torn into bite size pieces and added to the pan

Tossed well to combine, the filling is turned to low while a béchamel sauce is prepared and then poured over the mixture

The chicken pot pie filling is poured into a casserole

Topped with some puff pastry rolled out with sprinkled thyme, 
the edges are tucked in to create a rough border

Brushed with beaten egg, the extra puff pastry trimmings can be used to make decorative details such leaves and berries, on top of the chicken pot pie

Baked at 400°F for a little over an hour until the chicken pot pie is bubbling 
and the puff pastry crust is golden brown

Leftover Chicken Pot Pie
Serves 4

3 tbsp butter, divided

3 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1/4″ pieces
2 stalks celery, chopped into 1/4″ pieces
1 leek, trimmed, cut length-wise and finely sliced
3 new potatoes, cut into 1/4" pieces
1 cup frozen peas
1 tbsp fresh lemon thyme
1/2 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups cooked chicken meat
4 oz shiitake mushrooms, washed and chopped 
1/2 cup Madeira 
2 1/2 cups milk, divided
1/4 cup flour
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed 
1 tsp dried thyme
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large frying pan set over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the chopped carrots, celery, leek, potatoes, thyme, salt and pepper, and sauté until the vegetables are just tender, about 8-10 minutes. Add the chicken, mushrooms, peas and Madeira wine, and continue cooking until the liquid cooks off, then turn the heat to low.

Place a saucepan on medium heat and melt the remaining tablespoon of butter. Add 1 cup of milk plus the flour, and whisk until no lumps remain, then add the remaining milk. Cook for another minute until smooth, then remove from heat and pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables, and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into a 2 quart casserole dish.

Roll out the puff pastry large enough to amply cover the casserole and sprinkle with some dried thyme. Lay the pastry over the casserole, and tuck the overhang but saving any excess pastry to make decorative leaves and berries on top of the casserole. Using a sharp paring knife, cut a few slits into the puff pastry, brush the top with lightly beaten egg and bake, uncovered, for 60-70 minutes, until the dough puffs up and becomes golden brown. Delicious served with a Bibb Lettuce Salad with Fine Herb & Mustard Vinaigrette.

Bibb Lettuce with Fine Herb & Mustard Vinaigrette
Serves 4

2 heads Bibb lettuce 
3 1/2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 
1 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar 
1 tsp Dijon mustard 
Malden salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste 
1 tbsp chopped fresh chives 
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon 
1 tbsp fresh chervil 
1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 

Separate the lettuce leaves. Tear the largest outer leaves in half, leaving the smaller leaves whole. Wash, rinse and dry the lettuce. In a large salad bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper to make a vinaigrette. Add the lettuce, chives, tarragon, chervil and parsley and toss well. Serve immediately. 

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