This is the story about a chicken pot pie so good it stops people in their tracks.
Or more accurately, it stops people while on the tracks. The subway tracks, to be exact.
About a decade ago, when I was younger and more ambitious and used to trek to all corners of Manhattan and Brooklyn to friends’ dinner parties, chicken pot pie was my go-to potluck dish.
After one of these dinners, I was on the L train heading home with the uneaten third of a pot pie tucked away in my trusty cake carrier, one of those kinds with a translucent dome so you can see the gorgeous cake (or, in this case, slightly less gorgeous but still enticing pot pie) inside.
As I sat on the bench, chatting away with my friend Lisa as the train zoomed west underneath the city, I noticed a dude giving us furtive glances from across the car.
One stop ticked past, then another. Finally, as we reached the end of the line, the suspense got the best of him and he walked over to us.
“What kind of pie is that?”
Yes, the chicken pot pie was so intriguing that even in its half-eaten state, it had a tractor-beam attraction that even complete strangers could not resist.
The rest of the details of my subway pot pie conversation are lost to time, but the details of how to make my chicken pot pie are ingrained in memory.
As I’ve noted, the only true chicken pot pie in my world is a double-crust pie made with real, flaky dough instead of a puff pastry blanket.
And it’s packed to the brim with vegetables, so much so that you barely even need to add chicken (really). Made with homemade chicken or vegetable broth and fortified with butter, the sauce is rich with flavor.
In the recipe below, I’ve provided vegetable quantities, but please feel free to use them as guidelines and approximations rather than hard-and-fast rules.
The more often you make this pot pie, the easier you’ll be able to eyeball the amounts that you prefer and substitute any other vegetable you want—red bell pepper in place of carrots, chunks of parsnip instead of potato, for example.
And here’s the secret: the chicken pot pie shown in the photos with this post is in fact a pot pie without any roasted chicken! I happened to be out of chicken the day I planned to make and shoot this, but the combination of homemade broth and mounds of vegetables saved the day as they always do.
(The homemade pie crust never hurts, either.)
- 1 batch (2 crusts) homemade pie dough
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small sweet onion or yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- kosher salt
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
- 1/2 pound (8 ounces; 227 grams) baby potatoes, sliced in half or quartered
- 3-4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup frozen corn
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1/2 cup frozen or fresh trimmed green beans
- 1 cup cooked, shredded chicken (optional)
- 2 tablespoons butter, cubed
- 2 tablespoons (15 grams) all-purpose flour
- freshly ground black pepper
- Roll out 1 round of pie dough, place in a standard or deep-dish pie pan, and reserve in the fridge.
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
- In a medium Dutch oven or high-sided sauté pan, heat the olive oil.
- Stir in the onion and garlic and cook just until the onion starts to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the carrots and a pinch of salt (about 1/4 teaspoon). Continue to cook until just tender, about 5 minutes more.
- Add the potatoes and broth and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the potatoes are starting to soften and their starch begins to thicken the sauce.
- Taste and add more salt as desired.
- Stir in the corn, peas, green beans, and chicken (if using). Cook for a minute to thaw the vegetables a bit.
- Stir in the butter until melted.
- Sprinkle the flour evenly over the pan and gently stir in, cooking for a few minutes more. At this point, the sauce will still be slightly loose and soupy, but should be opaque from the absorbed flour and potato starch.
- Taste and adjust salt as desired, and add black pepper to taste.
- Remove from the heat.
- Roll out the second round of pie dough and reserve.
- Place the chilled pie pan onto a baking sheet and gently pour in the filling.
- Top with the reserved pie dough, cut 6 vents in the top of the lid with a paring knife, and cut/crimp the sides to seal.
- Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling out of the vents.
- Cool for at least 15 minutes before serving; I know, the wait will nearly kill you because the pie will look so tempting, but all you're going to get is molten ooze unless you have patience.