Table for One is a column by Senior Editor Eric Kim, who loves cooking for himself—and only himself—and seeks to celebrate the beauty of solitude in its many forms.
This easy chicken pot pie recipe first started out in a six-ounce ramekin. It was cute and pixie but, like my appetite for solitude, left me hungry for more.
Then it grew into an oven-safe cereal bowl (a dingy Bed Bath & Beyond purchase I made when I first moved to New York City 10 years ago). But that was too deep, so the filling didn't reduce enough as it baked. Plus, it was still a measly amount of food, especially for supper.
Finally, after a few more tries in a shallower baking dish, I sent the finished recipe off to our test kitchen for photographing. Food stylist and cookbook writer Samantha Seneviratne—who's notoriously great at troubleshooting serving sizes—suggested to me that day, "I think you should double this."
Double what I've already doubled? I thought.
But she was right. The recipe had to be doubled in order to feel substantial enough as a meal on its own.
Even more, we chatted with our prop stylist Amanda Widis about the right pan for the job—and she picked out a gorgeous eight-inch cast-iron skillet. I thought: Great. I can make the filling, top it with pastry, and bake it all in one pan. I can even eat out of the same vessel, which means fewer dishes.
My version of chicken pot pie takes advantage of spring radishes and peas (albeit frozen peas, but let's be real: Those taste better than fresh 90 percent of the time, no?). I love the way the two colors bounce off each other, the bright green and electric pink, like Kermit and Miss Piggy.
There's something so underrated about cooked radishes. Korean cuisine relies on radishes for their raw crunch, but also for their cooked, aromatic softness. Once stewed or roasted or baked, radishes lose their bitter edge and gain an immeasurable sweetness.
Mostly, this chicken pot pie recipe is a reminder that comfort food doesn't have to mean heavy. Bright vegetables and a light Thai curry and coconut chicken filling takes the winter favorite and makes it fit for these warm and rainy days of spring. In the same way that I adore Better Than Bouillon chicken concentrate, store-bought red curry paste is a great shortcut for lazy weekends in, when you're looking for maximal flavor (here in the form of Thai red chiles, garlic, and lemongrass) but with minimal effort.
Speaking of minimal effort, the pie crust is homemade, with the idea in mind that making one single portion of dough feels somehow more manageable than a large one. Relaxing even, at least for me. (But hey, I won't be mad if you decide to use store-bought puff pastry; that stuff is delicious, too.)
2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk (one of those mini 5.46–fluid ounce cans), well mixed (or if you want a more classically creamy filling, 2/3 cup heavy cream plus 2 tablespoons chicken stock)
1 cup radishes, quartered
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1/2 lime, juiced
1 pinch sugar
Preheat oven to 400°F.
For the pie crust: In a small bowl using the tips of your fingers, press the flour into the butter until you have small, flat pieces (and most of the flour is touching butter in some way). Add the ice water and salt and form dough into a ball. Wrap and chill in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
For the filling: In a small 8-inch, oven-safe skillet, melt the butter and sauté the shallot for 1 to 2 minutes, just until fragrant. Add the chicken thighs, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the curry paste and cook for 1 minute.
Add the coconut milk, bring to a simmer, and keep cooking until reduced slightly, about 10 to 15 minutes. (If you've decided to use heavy cream and chicken stock instead of coconut milk, then skip this step and add them in the next.)
Turn off the heat; add the radishes, peas, fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar (plus cream and stock if using); and stir together.
Take the pie dough out of the fridge and, using a wine bottle (the best rolling pin in my book), roll out into a flat 9-inch circle (i.e., large enough so it's about 1 inch larger in diameter than the skillet), about 1/8 inch thick. Gently place over the filling, folding the edge under itself all the way around the pan to seal. Crimp if you have the skills (I don't). Cut four slits on top and transfer skillet to a sheet pan (for insurance, in case the pot pie spills over while cooking).
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the crust has browned and filling has reduced.
Have you ever made a pie just for yourself? Let us know in the comments below.
All products are independently selected by our editors, and Food52 may earn an affiliate commission.
The Dynamite Chicken cookbook is here! Get ready for 60 brand-new ways to love your favorite bird. Inside this clever collection by Food52 and chef Tyler Kord, you'll find everything from lightning-quick weeknight dinners to the coziest of comfort foods.
Eric Kim is a Senior Editor at Food52, where his weekly solo dining column, Table for One, runs every Friday morning. Formerly the Digital Manager at Food Network, he writes about food, travel, and culture and lives in a tiny shoebox in Manhattan with his dog, Quentin "Q" Compson. His favorite writers are William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway, but his hero is Nigella Lawson. You can follow him on Twitter @ericjoonho.