Chicken. Pot. Pie.

I like to think I’m pretty hardy when it comes to the elements. I usually won’t turn on the air conditioning until it’s at least 95 degrees out, and I don’t really consider it “cold” until the temps dip into the negatives. But there’s always that one day in March or April when it gets warm, actually warm, for one glorious day–and then it drops back into the 30s and 40s for the next three to nine weeks.

And after that one spectacular, warm day, I turn into a HUGE BABY about the weather.

If you live anywhere on the East Coast, particularly the northern half, you know what kind of winter we’ve been slogging through. Nor’easter after nor’easter (we had four in three weeks at one point), heaps of snow, rain, ice, and freezing temperatures that have lingered well into April. Spring has been totally AWOL. And that’s why, after we had one 65-degree day a few weeks ago and then the weather plummeted back into despair, we decided to lean in and make some homemade chicken pot pie.

If you haven’t already, here’s why you should attempt to make your own chicken pot pie:

  1. The effort-to-flavor ratio (a highly scientific equation) disproportionately favors flavor. While it does take a little elbow grease to prep the chicken and veggies, the actual process is quite easy.
  2. You can tweak the ingredients however you’d like! For instance, we pan-fried the chicken in a cast-iron pan rather than boiling it, which gave it a nice crispy outside and kept it tender and juicy inside. (But if you’re a fan of boiling chicken, go for it! That’s the whole point here–you have creative authority.) We also left out the celery–one of us doesn’t care for it, and the other is ambivalent, so out it went.
  3. You know exactly what’s going into it. While I would never call chicken pot pie a health food (obviously it’s a health super-food), it’s nice to know that the only ingredients it contains are the ones you know you put in.
  4. It’s SO GOOD. The taste is noticeably superior to any frozen pie I’ve ever had. (See list item #1: Effort-to-flavor ratio.)

Without further ado, here’s how we made it! This is absolutely not my own creation, it is 95% poached from Allrecipes.com, with our own personal culinary edits (pan-fried chicken, and sans celery). Original recipe here.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cubed
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts*

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  2. In a skillet of your choice (we used cast iron, but pick your jam), heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot and shimmering (if it’s smoking, remove the pan from heat for a minute or two until it stops), add the cubed chicken. Cook, stirring frequently, until chicken is cooked through (about 5-7 minutes, but you can always cut a piece open to check).
  3. In a saucepan, combine carrots and peas. Add water to cover and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.
  4. In the saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and celery seed. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. Place the chicken mixture in bottom pie crust. Pour hot liquid mixture over. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough**. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.
  7. Eat that masterpiece. Eat it good.

I am a conscientious carnivore and I have the good fortune to be able to eat pretty much all the things, so I have almost no advice for how to make this recipe vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, or anything else-free. But as with almost all casserole-type dishes, I’m sure it would be very easy to sub in your own choice of ingredients.

Happy pie-ing! I hope that you haven’t been suffering the same winter as us, and that your need for meat pies and gravy isn’t as great as mine. But let’s be honest–every season is the right season for chicken pot pie.

P.S. – Unfortunately, I have no pictures of our pot pie to share–it was savagely, messily eaten almost immediately after coming out of the oven.

* We use frozen pie crusts from Trader Joe’s. They’re easy to work with and they come out crispy and flaky. If you can make your own pie crusts, bless your little heart–I very much lack those skills.

** Folding foil over the crust edges will help prevent them from getting too toasted in the oven.

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