Growing up, my favorite dinner in the whole wide world was my mom’s chicken pot pie. She made it from scratch and it was delicious. A true retro dish. Unfortunately, I never saw her make one because they just seemed to magically appear before I got home from school. I’ve looked through her recipe box and books and have never found a recipe, either. I doubt she had one as it was probably something she made by rote. Over the years I’ve tried to recreate the recipe and I think I’ve finally got it. I’m going to show you how I made it, rather than giving you a recipe, because, as I said, it doesn’t really have one. Here we go.
The first thing you need to do is make a double pie crust for a 10″ pie. I used the regular Betty Crocker Cookbook recipe but there a bunch of recipes online you can try if you don’t have a Betty Crocker Cookbook. After I made the crust, I divided it into two parts, gently patted them into a round, plastic-wrapped them and put them in the refrigerator for a few hours. I’ve found the crust to be much easier to work with if it’s really, really cold. I’m still working on my crust skills, so my pies are pretty sad-looking but definitely improving every time. If you don’t want to make a crust or are lacking time, you can use a store-bought crust. I’ve done that before, too, and it works fine. I’m just trying to do this old-school.
The next step is to start the chicken. My mom used to boil a whole chicken and pull the meat off the carcass for pretty much anything that needed shredded chicken, so I’m sure she would have done that for her pot pie. I didn’t have a whole chicken, so I simply used what I had on hand, which was two boneless chicken breasts and opted to use my broiler instead. I seasoned them simply with salt and pepper on each side, flipping the chicken half-way through cooking.
While the chicken was in the oven, I got out the veggies for dicing. These are what I had on hand and seemed “pot pie appropriate”, but you could use any kind of veggies really (maybe not tomatoes). You can even used canned vegetables if you like. If you do that, skip the cooking part because they’re ready to go as is. Just be sure to keep your meat/veggie ratio pretty even no matter what kind of veggies/meat you use.
After the veggies were all diced, I covered them in a little water, seasoned them with salt and pepper and cooked them, covered, over medium heat until they were soft, but not mushy, for around 8-10 minutes.
While my veggies were cooking, I pulled the chicken out of the oven to let it rest for a few minutes. I cooked it until it was just done. This is not how I would probably choose to eat it plain, but since I knew it was going to bake in the oven for another half an hour, I didn’t want to overcook it. Better to leave it a little juicy so it’s not too dry in the end. After letting this sit for 5 minutes, or so, I trimmed off the less desirable bits and shredded this chicken using two forks
Now the veggies are done.
Here’s where I forgot to take a picture, so I’ll show you the ingredients again so you can see what I used. The next step is to get a good-sized bowl and add your shredded chicken, the cooked veggies, a can of cream of chicken soup, a little salt, ground pepper, maybe a half tsp. of garlic powder, a good shake of dried parsley and a quarter to a half tsp. of paprika. Mix it all together and see what you’ve got. If it doesn’t look creamy enough, you can add a little milk or cream. I added around a half cup of cream and it was just right. Also be sure to taste it at this point to see if it needs any additional seasoning. I like it seasoned but not too seasoned. It shouldn’t be bland but it isn’t curry, either. You do it the way you like it. Once you are satisfied, set the bowl aside.
Get your pie crust out of the fridge and roll it into two rounds.
Put the first round in the pie plate and pour in your chicken/veggie filling.
Top the pie with the second round and crimp/trim the sides. I even cut a couple of stars out of the scraps to make it really fancy. (At this point my daughter came home from school and saw me working on it. She said “gee, Mama, that’s really not too bad looking for one of your pies”, ha ha.)
Preheat your oven to 425 and bake for 30 minutes, or so, until golden brown.
Voila, my mom’s chicken pot pie! (By now it was dark and my lighting was gone. I wish you could have seen the final product in person because it was way better looking and seriously delicious.)
I think my mom would like it! What about you? What’s your favorite childhood dish?