The older I have gotten, the more predictable I have become when it comes to comfort foods. I suppose we’re all like this, and we gravitate to our absolute favorites after we’ve had the chance to decide upon them.
Needless to say, Chicken Pot Pie is one of my favorite comfort foods. It’s filling and warm and offers several different textures that just make me happy… and it’s usually loaded with lots of butter and heavy cream, which generally makes me feel sad, bloated and a little bit guilty after consuming a portion of the dish.
While there certainly is a place for butter and heavy cream in my life — hello, could we talk about cookies and cakes and pies and all those delightful baked goods? — I’d generally like for my meals to be a bit healthier, if at all possible.
That being said, this adaptation from Jennifer Chandler’s spectacular recipe is one that I have been tinkering with for the past few years, ever since my mom got me Jennifer’s cookbook. I find myself struggling with getting servings of vegetables in the wintertime, and in an attempt to get myself eating more of these, I have added a lot more veggies to this dish.
The result is a veggie-packed, decadent dish that is paired with crunchy Puff Pastry, the perfect compliment to this down-home dish.
The secret that I’ve learned over the years the hard way? Baking the topping separately. It sounds weird, but it’s fantastic for leftovers and not dealing with soggy, sad pie crust/Puff Pastry/biscuits/whatever your favorite carb of choice is for pot pies.
Trust me, y’all. I’ve been enjoying these leftovers for three days now, and I just finished off the dish and Puff Pastry that we baked and stored separately. My last bowl of Chicken Pot Pie goodness still had that crunch from the pastry that I wanted. And while it takes one more dish, I promise it’s worth it in the end, especially if your household is like ours, and it’s just you and your husband eating this large dish.
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 3/4 cup carrots, diced
- 2 1/2 Russet potatoes, chopped
- 2 cups yellow onions, diced
- 2 cups frozen peas
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons unbleached, all purpose flour
- 3 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup milk (skim OK)
- 1 teaspoon [url href="http://www.penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzeys/p-penzeysmuralofflavor.html"]Mural of Flavor Seasoning Blend[/url] (or another salt-free poultry seasoning)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 sheet Puff Pastry
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels, seasoning the chicken liberally with salt and pepper.
- Place the chicken on a greased baking sheet, and bake for 45 minutes or until cooked through, then set aside to cool.
- While the chicken is roasting, boil the carrots, potatoes, onions in a large pot of water until "crisp tender" (about 8 minutes), then add in the peas and spinach for another 2 minutes.
- Drain the vegetables and set aside.
- Once the chicken is out of the oven, raise the temperature to 395.
- In a large Dutch oven, bring the butter and the olive oil to a simmer, then add the flour. Whisk until the mixture is golden brown.
- Stir in the chicken stock and milk, seasoning the mixture with the Mural of Flavor/poultry seasoning, as well as the salt and pepper.
- Cook, stirring the mixture often, until thickened, then add the chicken and the vegetables, adjusting the salt and pepper as needed.
- Pour the filling into a 9x13" baking dish and pop in the oven, baking for 30-45 minutes, or until bubbly and golden brown on the top.
- Cut the Puff Pastry into 9 squares and space them out on a greased baking sheet.
- In the same oven, bake the Puff Pastry for 30 minutes or until the tops of the pastry are browned.
- Once all ingredients are cooked, assemble in bowls, dolloping the chicken pot pie filling in first, then topping with a square of Puff Pastry, before digging in!
What is one of your favorite comfort dishes?