Chicken Pot Pie

It was a very chilly rainy day in Dallas today (a freezing 60 degrees), so I decided to make braised short ribs in a red wine sauce. I went to the grocery store, put all 85 ingredients in my cart, and made the meat counter my last stop. I picked up my ticket, patiently waited for numbers 52-70 to get called and finally! About 30 minutes later 71 was called. 8 short ribs, I said. 'Girl, you must be jokin. We ain't had no short ribs since about 9 this mornin' was the meat lady's response. I was not joking, I did want 8 short ribs. Under the extreme pressure of the meat lady and the 8 million people that surrounded me, I had to make a quick decision. I  decided on one of my favorite comfort foods: Chicken Pot Pie.

For the filling:

Start by preparing the chicken. Rub generously with olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. Bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees. Take the chicken out, and cut into cubes once it is cool enough to handle. Full disclosure, I often use a rotisserie chicken here. Saves some time and prep work and the chicken is so delicious.  You will need one giant chicken if you go this route, about 44 oz.  

Next, make the pie crust.  Also full disclosure: my husband doesn't love eating a bunch of the crust, so I have started using store bought pie crust to save even more time and effort.  It's definitely not as tasty, but if your customers aren't going to fully appreciate the labor of love that is a pie crust, SKIP IT.

For the pastry:
Mix the dry ingredients, then cut in the cold butter and shortening. Mix with a pastry cutter until pea sized balls form. Add the ice water in gradually, just to bring the dough together. Knead to form a ball, then wrap in aluminum foil and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Now you can work on the filling.

First, sauté the onion in your choice amount of butter, about 15 min.  I have used up to 1.5 sticks of butter before, and let me tell you - it's GOOD.  But I've started using more like 5 tablespoons for a healthier weeknight pot pie, and I can't tell you that I necessarily miss the other 700 calories.  I guess it ultimately depends if it's winter sweater weather or summer bikini weather.

One the onions are cooked through, add the flour to the mixture and let thicken. Stir for about 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and buillion cube to onions, starting with about 4 cups. I typically leave it at 4 cups, because I like the pot pie to be thick and mashed potato-like. You can add another cup of stock if you want to thin it out. Simmer on medium heat for another 2 minutes. Add half and half. Add peas, pearl onions, carrots (lightly steamed), cubed chicken, and parsley. Add pepper to taste (you probably don't need any more salt, unless you used low sodium broth). 

Next, get the pie pan ready and roll out the dough.  Roll the dough out on a floured surface, to a diameter big enough to fully cover the top of the pie pan.  Create an egg wash with one beaten egg + 1 T. water. Brush the edge of the pie pan with egg wash. Fill the pie pan with the filling, and cover with the pastry dough.  The filling should be heaping so that it creates a full-looking pot pie. Trim the edges of the pastry and fold over the edges. Create 3 slits on top, brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper.

Bake the pie in 375 degrees for exactly one hour. I highly recommend placing a baking sheet underneath it to catch anything that spills over. Take out after 1 hour and let cool for 15 minutes before serving.  The filling will continue to thicken as it cools.

This pot pie is so delicious you will want to eat it for days and days after. I highly recommend you change into stretchy pants before serving.

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