NOT YOUR MOTHERS CHICKEN POT PIE
Every Great Cook has a Great Story
As many of you know cooking and baking is a family event for the Harding and Madison clan. Depending on what is being cooked, depends on who will be doing the cooking. Admittedly, most dishes are cooked by Breezy or myself. However, when it comes to BBQ, Ron and Shayne take the reins. One thing we all love though is Chicken Pot Pie.
The thing about Chicken Pot Pie is that we’ve all been eating this particular dish since birth. Depending on your age, it’s likely turned pretty mundane by now. I think we all know there is no satisfaction is the same old boring meals. When I decided I wanted to make Chicken Pot Pie, I only purchased one package of pie crust. In retrospect I should have bough two. My intention was to have a top crust on my pie. Once I started the filling made so much, I was forced to utilize the other crust for the bottom of the second pie.
There are many choices that can be made from an individual standpoint. One point of interest for me would be topping it with mashed potatoes like a Sheppard’s Pie. For me, this sounds amazing. Due to a short time line I wasn’t able to pull it together, but I think this would be a family favorite. People are visual eaters. I’m thinking when the little ones see the mashed potatoes on a pie, you are golden. I’m sure they will at least try it. Throw a little butter on the top just before you serve it and your family is sure to be impressed.
Customization is the Spice of Life
When I cook I like to put my own spin on anything I make. Changing the flavors of food, for me, is one of the greatest things about cooking. Unlike baking, cooking is not an exact science. Cooking is all about flavoring as you go. Cooking allows a chef to curtail a recipe to anyone’s taste. Of course you do NOT want to taste as you go unless you’ve cooked your chicken 100%. When creating the recipe for Chicken Pot Pie I utilized Morton’s Roasted Garlic for flavoring. However, any flavor of season can just as easily be utilized.
As a personal choice I like to use Himalayan Pink Salt. Regular salt is processed, processed and over processed. In fact by the time regular white salt is sold it has lost all of its nutritional value. The health benefits associated with Himalayan salt is too long to list here. But if you are feeling curious about the benefits, feel free to read up on it. I’ve also included a couple other links below. One item I would like to point out in reference to the salt is, it’s very strong. I usually use about 1/4 what I would if I use plain salt.
Recipe for Perfection
Chicken Breasts, 3 whole
Potatoes, 4-5 Medium
Onion, ¼ chopped
Cream of Mushroom, 1 can (32oz)
Peas, 1 can
Corn, 1 can
Green Northern Beans, 1 can
Whole Kidney Beans, 1 can
Israeli Couscous , ½ cup **
Morton’s Roasted Garlic Seasoning, 2 TBSP **
1 box Pillsbury Pie Crust
Himalayan Pink Salt ~ Flavor to taste
**Read after dinner notes for elaboration/flavor to taste
I like to pull out everything I need before I get started. I’m pretty good at multi-tasking, but at a certain point we all lose our ability to comprehend the next steps. Getting out everything in advance is a huge time saver for me. It also functions as a check and balance. As I use the necessary ingredients I put the containers away. If something is left on the counter I know I’ve missed a step. If you family is at all like mine, you are not cooking in peace and quiet. Family members come into the kitchen they ask questions or just want to talk. While I love when they do, it’s also very difficult for me to focus properly on the task at hand. It’s a sort of visual check and balance.
1. Pull pie crust out of the refrigerator. Allow to come to room temperature. Set aside. (Allowing the crust to warm will keep it from creasing or tearing while unrolling.)
2. Cook chicken in a frying pan at low heat. Do not overcook chicken or it will become chewy and hard to cut. Additionally, the chicken will continue to cook once the pot pie is in the oven. Cooking at a low temperature. This keeps the chicken from browning in the pan. I like to utilize a lid to hold in the heat. A lid is a great help with the lower temperatures and assist the chicken to cook thoroughly. Effectively it will lower the time in the pan. Another benefit is getting the chicken to cook all the way through without browning the outside.
3. Wash and boil potatoes. For quicker cooking cut potatoes into three sections. Once the water boils, cook potatoes for 20-30 minutes. The potatoes do not need to be fully cooked. Ensure the potatoes do not cook until they are falling apart. The idea is to give the potatoes a head start in the cooking process. Potatoes take a very long time to cook even when cut into small chunks. Pre-cooking will help the potatoes cook faster in the oven.
4. Cook the Israeli Couscous according to the package. Once cooked pour into another dish and allow to cool. Pasta will continue to cook unless it’s rinsed in cool water due to the starch. Due to the very small nature of couscous this is difficult. By placing the couscous into a smaller dish it will allow it to cool faster and slow down the cooking process. Every once in a while fluff the couscous by turning it in bowl. This allows additional heat escape. Couscous will also bunch together, so as it cools when it cools I like to separate the couscous with a spoon. Keep in mind, this will keep from having chunks of couscous in one spot.
Pre-heat oven to 350. The recipe makes enough to fill two pies so there are a couple choices. One, you can cut the recipe in half if it’s too much. Or two, make the full recipe and freeze one. I use glass cooking dishes. If a mental dish is used, it will take a little bit longer to cook. Before placing the pie crust in the dish ensure the pan has been sprayed with a non-stick spray. If you haven’t already done so, roll out the pie crust.
Cover the pies with tin foil and bake for 35 minutes. Utilizing tin foil during the initial baking will keep the crust from burning. Ensure the shiny side of the tin foil is turned in. I’m currently out of non-stick foil, so I utilized the non-stick cooking spray and sprayed the tin foil before putting it over the pie. This is a very important step and should not be skipped. The reason being is that the outside shell of your pie will burn long before the inside is hot.
Remove Foil and Continue to Bake
After you remove the foil place the pies back in the oven for an additional 20 minutes. Keep in mind everything is pre-cooked. You do not need to worry about thoroughly cooking anything other than the crust and the potatoes.
The pie is ready to come out of the oven, when the potatoes are soft. Not sure, try a one. Potatoes, by far, take the longest to cook. If the pie is hot in the center and the potato is cooked, you are ready to have some Chicken Pot Pie. While you may be hungry and ready to eat, allow the pie about five minutes to cool. As the pie cools the sauce will start to set, thickening as it cools. Should you want to eat right away, that’s okay. Just know the pie will run into the area which the previous piece was cut.
After Dinner Notes
After eating the Chicken Pot Pie my initial reaction was this is good. The reason is because I had not used beans and couscous before. Admittedly, I wasn’t sure. I literally looked into my pantry this morning and thought…what do I want to put into this and how far I can go before my husband won’t eat it? I have to say, he had no issue eating this.
Tiny Hands and Feet but Major Picky Eaters
In a couple short years our family will have a little toddler running around demanding fun foods. This pie is fun and an excellent way to get kids to eat beans (protein) and vegetables. Keep using the word pie and toddlers are sure to love it. For me, the couscous wasn’t enough to taste. When I make it again I will double the amount of couscous I add. What toddler doesn’t love pasta!
As soon as I tasted the pie I wished I’d added garlic. I love it! Not really sure how that one got by me. If you use garlic salt, make sure to refrain from regular salt. Utilizing both, unless tasting it along the way, will result in a very salty meal. I’m a fan of whole garlic. The benefits are limitless. I’ve included a few additional links for reference.
My Mind is Constantly Wandering…What Can I do Next?
I’ve barely started to digest this meal and I’m already thinking of ways to turn it into a vegetarian meal. If I can bring it together successfully Ron will certainly like it. While I’m not today a vegetarian, I certainly could be. I’m not a huge fan of meat anymore. Mainly due to the steroids and antibiotics given to farm animals. This is the main reason I utilized the beans instead of more chicken.
Lately, I’ve noticed lately a lot of the chicken pieces do not look any part I would recognize. In this package there was part that looked more like male genitals than chicken. I can only assume this is due to chickens not being free range and sitting in cages not moving. When possible I buy organic. Saves on the hormones, which transfer to us. I’ve added a couple links to chicken growing techniques as well as the benefits of organic farming.
Freeze it and Save for Later
If you opt for freezing one of the pies for later, this is an excellent way to create a fast weekday meal. Simply pull it out of the freezer in the morning and put it in the refrigerator. Turn on the oven and put in the pie. A note of caution though, if you use a glass baking dish make sure you put it in the oven during the pre-heat phrase. If the glass dish is cold and the oven is hot the dish will likely shatter! No one wants to deal with that. By placing the baking dish in during pre-heat it allows the dish to warm as the oven does. I do have to admit I learned this the hard way with one of my favorite baking dishes.
I’ve been in South Carolina at the University of South Carolina for a training class this week. Admittedly, I’m already thinking about making the Chicken Pot Pie again when I get home. This time though I want to make it vegetarian and put mashed potatoes on the top. A dash of butter and we will be ready to fill our bellies. Because I love to bake, I may just use a piping tool to make the potatoes extra pretty. As I said, Ron is not an all veggie eater so I’m going to have to really sell it.
Keep in Touch With Us
If you come up with a good variation, or have a great idea for someone else please leave a comment. Everyone’s ideas are welcome. Ideas sparks deeper ideas for someone else. That is the beauty of community, many minds working together. I look forward to hearing all the wonderful ideas. And if you have a funny story about you kids liking it or not, lets hear