January 5, 2012

Light(er) Chicken Pot Pie

I've been craving chicken pot pie lately, but I'm trying to be somewhat mindful of calories, so I thought I'd try my hand at a recipe I'd bookmarked from the Food Network website. (Sometimes late at night, I just cruise around food websites bookmarking recipes I want to try...). It was listed as a Light Chicken Pot Pie, so I figured it fit the bill. 

Some people follow the rule of "Try a recipe once and then modify it to make it yours after that." I usually just modify it from the get-go. Where's the fun if you're not winging it just a little? I wanted to cut the meat content a little bit, and I remembered that the only place I ever like mushrooms is in a Chicken Wild Rice soup. I figured this was in the same creamy, chicken-y vein as that soup, so I thought I'd try tossing some mushrooms in to see what happened. 

So here's what I did:

I'm not a huge fan of rotisserie chicken. I find it's usually way too greasy and I'd rather flavor up the chicken myself. This recipe was going to need some broth, so I decided to poach the chicken with a carrot, celery, half an onion, a crushed clove of garlic, a bay leaf and some dried thyme.

I tossed in 3 chicken breasts and covered the whole shebang with water and then got it rolling. I just brought it to a boil and then let it simmer for about 45 minutes. (Note: I had more chicken than I needed and ended up saving some of it to put on a salad or something, so I'm only putting 2 chicken breasts in the recipe). While this was happening, I had 2 russet potatoes baking in the oven for about the same amount of time. 

When it was done, I pulled the potatoes out of the oven and the chicken out of the water and let it all cool. I strained the solids from the broth and put the broth back on at a high heat to let it boil down and concentrate the flavors a bit. 

While the broth was boiling and the chicken and potatoes were cooling, I got started on my pot pie filling. I sauteed the other half of the onion, a shallot and 5 carrots cut into pretty large slices. I let that go for just a few minutes and then...

added in some mushrooms. I used pre-sliced baby bellas. As I said before, I don't love mushrooms usually, so I just threw the whole package in, since I knew I wouldn't use them for anything else. I let it all saute for another 3-4 minutes, then stirred in 3 tablespoons of flour. 

I let the flour toast up for 2 - 3 minutes and then added the milk (1/3 cup), chicken broth (about 3 cups), celery (3 stalks) and the baked potato (which I had peeled and cut into large chunks). 

I like a pretty thick pot pie filling so I let it simmer for a good 20 minutes. Commenters on the original recipe said that it ended up too soupy, but I used less broth AND let it simmer longer, so I was hoping that would do the trick.

After it was thick enough, I took it off the heat, added the chicken (which I had shredded), 1/2 cup of non-fat greek yogurt and a cup of peas. I added some salt and pepper (to taste) and still felt like it was kind of missing something, so I threw in a little more dried thyme for good measure. 

It looked like it made a ton, but it filled up this 9x9 baking dish almost perfectly. 

I put on the crust (which I made from the original recipe), brushed on a little egg wash, sprinkled on some salt and pepper, popped it in the oven and crossed my fingers. 

Going in.....

And coming out. 

For good measure, here's what it looked like after I took it out of the oven. 

How was it? Pretty good! The carrots, celery and onions had a nice bite to them. I was worried they'd get too soggy but they held up pretty well.

What would I change? I think I under-salted it a bit. There was something about it that seemed a little flat. Maybe some extra spices next time... some sage? rosemary? I skipped the parsley from the original recipe, because I don't really like it. But it might've brought a little extra something to it.

So there you go. And here it is written out all recipe style.

For the crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg
2 tablespoons 2% milk

For the filling:
2 small russet potatoes
1 onion, cut in half (cut one half into large chunks for stock, finely dice the other half for the filling)
6 carrots (1 cut into 3 pieces for stock, 5 cut into large slices for filling)
4 stalks celery (1 cut into 3 pieces for stock, 3 sliced for filling)
1 bay leaf
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp dried thyme
2 chicken breasts (I used boneless skinless, though with the bone and skin would probably add a ton more flavor)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 package mushrooms
3 Tbsp all purpose flour
1/3 cup 2% milk
1/2 cup fat free plain Greek yogurt
1 cup frozen peas
Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the crust (follows original recipe): Pulse the flour, baking powder and salt in a food processor until combined. Add the butter, one piece at a time, pulsing until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Separate the egg; refrigerate the egg white. Beat the egg yolk and milk in a bowl, then add to the food processor, pulsing until the dough comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and gather into a ball. Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour.

Prepare the filling: Preheat the oven to 425. Prick the potatoes with a fork and put in oven directly on rack. Cook for about 45 minutes, until tender. Meanwhile, put 1/2 onion (cut into large chunks), 1 stalk celery (cut into large pieces), 1 carrot (cut into large pieces), 1 bay leaf, 1 clove garlic (crushed), dried thyme, salt and chicken breasts into saucepan. Cover with water by about 1 inch. Bring to boil and then let simmer for 30 - 40 minutes.

When finished, remove chicken and place on a plate. Remove potatoes from oven and let cool. (When cool, you will need to peel potatoes and cut into medium pieces, and shred chicken.)

Strain solids from broth and return broth to a boil. Keep broth boiling to concentrate flavor while you prepare the rest of the filling.

Heat the olive oil in in a large pan over medium heat. Add remaining onion, shallot and carrots and cook 3-4 minutes. Add mushrooms and saute another 3-4 minutes until onion and shallot are tender. Sprinkle in the flour and stir until lightly toasted, 2-3 minutes. Add milk, 2 1/2 - 3 cups broth, celery and potatoes (cut into medium pieces.) If you do not have enough stock, add storebought chicken broth or water to make 2 1/2 - 3 cups.

Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until desired thickness. Remove from heat and add yogurt, peas and shredded chicken. Pour filling into 9x9 casserole dish. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is big enough to cover casserole dish. Beat the reserved egg white in a bowl. Brush onto dough and season with salt and pepper.

Place on a baking sheet and bake in 425 degree oven for 20 - 25 minutes, until crust is golden brown.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my! Am I first???? Wow! I really enjoyed reading this recipe and will be trying it myself sometime. -Your loving sister, Sara