You can put just about anything in a pot pie. But I have found that root vegetables hold up well during baking, and they add a layer of sweet, comforting flavor. To save time and effort, use a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket or leftover cooked chicken. When serving to company, I bake pot pies in individual casseroles for a nice presentation.
Chicken Pot Pie with Winter Root Vegetables
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 celery rib, thinly sliced
2 carrots, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
2 parsnips (about the same size as the carrots), peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
1 turnip (about 8 ounces), peeled and cut into 1/2- inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon whole milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 large sprigs of fresh thyme
1 pound roasted chicken, torn into large bite-size pieces (about 3 1/2 cups)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg
1 sheet frozen all-butter puff pastry (about 8 ounces), thawed but still well chilled (see Kitchen Note)
Kitchen Note: Flaky puff pastry takes practice to make properly, but don't fret if you aren't a master patissier. Frozen puff pastry will do the trick. For the best flavor, use all-butter puff pastry, available at specialty grocers and many supermarkets.
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. Melt the butter in a 12-inch cast-iron or other heavy ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots, parsnips, turnips and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until the root vegetables are almost tender. Sprinkle in the flour and stir well for about 1 minute to cook the flour, without browning. Raise the heat to medium-high and stir in the broth, followed by 3/4 cup of the milk, the cream, and the thyme. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Remove from the heat and stir in the chicken. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cool slightly, then remove and discard the thyme stems.
3. In a small bowl, mix the egg and the remaining 1 tablespoon milk with a fork to combine. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry into a 13-inch square.
4. Brush some of the egg mixture over the edges of the skillet. Lay the pastry over the pan and gently press the overhanging edges of pastry so they adhere to the sides of the pan. Lightly brush more of the egg mixture over the pastry and sprinkle with salt. Transfer to the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the pastry is deep golden brown and puffed. Cool slightly and serve.
Recipe excerpted from What's for Dinner? Delicious Recipes for a Busy Life by Curtis Stone/Ballantine Books.
Originally published in the January 2014 issue of Family Circle magazine.