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Author Notes: I like individual 1-pot meals as well as communal ones. These little gems have lots of veggies for extra flavor and color, and the luscious extravagance of an egg yolk cream. The pastry is top only; thus no soggy crust. And the little pastry circles are baked separately and placed on the pot pies last minute so there is no overcooking the filling while waiting for the crusts to turn golden.
Alternatively you can make one big pie or omit the crust entirely and serve this new-fangled chicken a la king over rice, noodles, biscuits, baked potatoes, or crepes—abundantly garnished with chopped fresh parsley and chives. —Gail Monaghan
Individual Chicken Pot Pies
- 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
- 15 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
- 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into thin rounds
- 1 large red bell pepper cut into medium dice
- 3 stalks of celery, trimmed and thinly sliced crosswise
- 1 16 ounce bag frozen green peas, thawed
- 1 1/2 pounds white button mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
- 1 cup flour
- 3 1/4 cups whole milk
- 6 tablespoons sherry or brandy
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg or to taste
- 2 large eggs yolks whisked together with 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- several sprigs of fresh thyme
- freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste
- Place the chicken pieces in a large saucepan. Add enough stock to just cover the chicken. Add the smashed garlic and 1/3 of the thyme.
- Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer until the chicken is done, about 8 minutes. Don’t overcook.
- Transfer the chicken and garlic to a platter to cool and reserve the broth in a large measuring cup.
- Put 3 tablespoons of the butter in the empty pan and set it over medium-high heat. When the butter melts, add shallots, carrots, red pepper, celery, 1/2 the remaining thyme, and the reserved crushed garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Sauté, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft and beginning to color. Add the thawed peas and transfer the mixture to the platter with the chicken.
- Add 4 tablespoons of the remaining butter to the empty pan set over high heat. When melted, add the sliced mushrooms, most of the remaining thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Stir frequently until the mushrooms are very tender, about 15 minutes. Add them to the chicken and vegetables on the platter.
- In the same pan, melt the remaining butter over medium heat. When the foaming subsides, add the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Whisk in the reserved broth, the milk, any accumulated juices on the platter and the last of the thyme. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook, stirring, until the sauce is quite thick, about 2 minutes. Add the sherry or brandy and cook one more minute.
- Whisk the cream and yolks together in a small bowl. Stir little by little (so it does not curdle) into the chicken and then season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Note: the cream and yolk can be omitted if you want a lighter dish.
- Divide chicken and vegetable mixture among ten 12-ounce ramekins or pot pie dishes. Turn the oven up to 350 and return the pot pies to the oven until the filling is piping hot. Meanwhile, reheat the pot pie covers in the same oven. Cover the pot pies with the hot pastry. Serve very hot.
Pastry For Covered Pies
- 3 cups flour ( I like to use 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour 1/2 cup whole wheat flour)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon each: dried thyme, black pepper, curry powder—optional, but I like to use all of them
- 1 cup or (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 4-6 tablespoons ice water
- Place the flour and salt together--and spices if using-- in a food processor and process fifteen seconds to combine.
- Add the butter and pulse until the butter is the size of small peas.
- Add the 4 tablespoons ice water all at once and process until the dough just begins to come together. Do not let it form a ball. If it is too dry to come together, add more ice water, one teaspoonful at a time.
- Form the dough into a ball and then press into a disk. Place the disk between two pieces of parchment paper and roll to about a one third inch thickness. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Cut the dough into 5-inch circles (using a 5 inch saucer or bowl top as a template). Refrigerate the cut circles for at least 30 minutes.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375. Place the circles on a baking sheet, paint with a bit of egg yolk mixed cream and cook until golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Once cool, well-wrapped these pie tops will keep 2-3 days at room temperature or refrigerated. Note: well-wrapped, the circles may be frozen for up to two months. They can be defrosted before baking or baked right from the freezer. If baked frozen, increase the baking time by a few
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best One-Pot Meal
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