Few things are more comforting than chicken pie. The kids and I are reading Little Town on the Prarie, and in the story the Ingalls are looking forward to having a brood of chickens so they can finally have fresh eggs and bake... chicken pie.
Right after Carter was born, our church very lovingly brought us meals. As a new nursing mom, I was ravenous, so you could imagine my joy when someone would arrive with a golden crusted chicken pie. However, we had only lived in that area for a short time, and there must have been a regional tradition that I had been unaware of up to this point: boiled eggs in the chicken pie. Lots of boiled eggs.
Now I love a frittata, an omelet, or a plate of scrambled eggs stirred into buttery grits. I even like fried eggs cooked over easy, where the yokes run out and soak up into your toast. But I have never been able to stomach boiled eggs- the texture of the slimy white contrasted with the chalky yellow... no, thank you. This can create a dilemma when ordering Cobb salad or chicken salad at most restaurants (even my beloved Chik-fil-a disappoints here!). And I always passed those Easter eggs onto my mom.
So it was a huge tease to be given these gorgeous, steamy chicken pies- that must have taken quite a while to prepare- only to discover under that flaky crust a rather large amount of chopped, boiled egg. I guess adding the egg keeps in theme with the chicken. But, really? The funny thing was that this must have been the church tradition, because I know we received at least 4 of those pies.
This is where I say that I appreciated those pies. Every one of them. We didn't deserve to be shown that kind of care, and we were very grateful. But you KNOW how thrilled we were when someone brought us the more mundane and utterly delicious roast chicken, mashed potatoes, and broccoli.
Our family loves chicken pie, especially in the winter. We usually eat it with salad on the side. I normally use pie crust, but when the new Southern Living came and had this beauty on the cover, I knew I had to try it. I am discovering a newfound love of puff pastry, which is great for appetizers and deserts, so I was happy to incorporate it into the main meal.
I do have to say that I followed this recipe closely, since it was my first time making it, but I found out that you do not have to use the frozen (expensive!) potatoes (barely cooked cubed potatoes will work fine, and you can just add a couple of tablespoons of green or red pepper if you like). The same thing is true of the (expensive!) leeks, which could be substituted for green onion. I loved the leeks, but using the green onion is an easy way to cut your cost a little.
For the chicken, I boiled a whole chicken with root veggies and seasoning, so I would have the broth as well. I had at least a cup of pulled chicken left over, and several cups of broth to put in the freezer for another time. But you could use a rotisserie chicken and a can of broth and it would be great!
The star of the show is the puff pastry, so the filling can be played around with. You could use broccoli, peas, or whatever you think sounds good. Just keep the flour/butter/broth proportions the same so you don't end up with sludge or soup inside your incredible crust.
1/2 cup butter
2 medium leeks, sliced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 (14.5-oz.) can chicken broth
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 1/2 cups frozen cubed hash browns with onions and peppers
1 cup matchstick carrots
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 (17.3-oz.) package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
1 large egg
1. Preheat oven to 375°. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add leeks, and sauté 3 minutes. Sprinkle with flour; cook, stirring constantly, 3 minutes. Whisk in chicken broth; bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Remove from heat; stir in chicken and next 5 ingredients.
2. Roll each pastry sheet into a 12- x 10-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Fit 1 sheet into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate; spoon chicken mixture into pastry. Place remaining pastry sheet over filling in opposite direction of bottom sheet; fold edges under, and press with tines of a fork, sealing to bottom crust. Whisk together egg and 1 Tbsp. water, and brush over top of pie.
3. Bake at 375° on lower oven rack 55 to 60 minutes or until browned. Let stand 15 minutes.
Southern Living, FEB 2011