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When it comes to comfort foods, there’s no better time than the dead of winter to dream up soul warming dishes. Flaky crust, tender meat, rich gravy and fresh vegetables combine in this wonderful recipe to produce the finest chicken pot pie your mouth has ever touched.
For Canadians, the dead of winter usually drums up memories of hours spent ice skating in our youth, tobogganing and ice fishing through our teens and sipping hot chocolate alongside friends and families throughout the holidays. There is nothing quite like the harshness of winter months up north to provide a deeper understanding of the finer things in life, sometimes even the simpler things in life. This is the motivation behind this chicken pot pie.
This recipe is the culmination of years of practical knowledge and upwards of 10 trials over the past months. We perfected each individual step through hours of trial and error, a few bottles of wine, many trips to the farmers’ market and many, many late nights.
We added a few twists to your typical chicken pot pie recipe, adding a new air flair to this classic comfort food. It’s our opinion that you should never cook celery more than a flash fry, so we opted to use celery salt instead of celery in the vegetable mixture. Likewise, you could simply add celery to the mushroom or chicken stock.
We wanted all our veggies to remain crisp while cooking, so we opted to make a concentrated mushroom broth instead of adding soft and spongy mushrooms to the dish. The addition of a dry white wine gives the sauce a vibrancy that lightens the entire dish, and the use of vodka in our crust creates a perfectly flaky crust. Gotta love alcohol!
Most pot pie recipes include a crust on the bottom, but we decided that soggy crust should be left out, we think you’ll agree. We highly recommend using your hands while make the crust, we experimented with some mixer versions and they never had the same flakiness.
- 2¼ cups all purpose flour
- ½ cup shortening (shredded)
- ½ cup of frozen butter (shredded)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp sugar
- ¼ cup cold water
- ¼ cup vodka
- 1 whole chicken, 3-4lbs
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup chicken stock
- 1 small onion
- ½ lemon, wedged
- salt & pepper to taste
- 3 cups water
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ¼ vidalia onion
- 4 oz sliced cremini mushrooms
- ¼ cup diced carrots
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tbsp butter
- 3 ½ tbsp all purpose white flour
- ¾ cup mushroom stock
- 1½ cup chicken stock
- ½ cup dry white wine
- salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ tsp celery salt
- 6 pink peppercorns
- < ⅛ tsp ground sage
- ¼ tsp dried parsley
- ¼ tsp dried oregano
- 2 medium carrots, cleaned and trimmed
- 2 medium white potatoes
- ½ cup frozen small peas
- 1 leek
- 1 tbsp of butter
- Stir flour with salt. Coarsely grate cold butter and frozen shortening into flour mixture or cut in with pastry-cutter to pea sized bits; toss with fingers to distribute evenly.
- Stir in water, 1 tbsp at a time, stirring after every addition. Firmly use hands to form into a ball. If too dry, add vodka; then form into ball. Flatten, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to a day.
- When you are ready to use the dough, remove from refrigerator and roll dough out into 4 flattened circles for top of ramekin pot pie. Cut slits in the dough for steam to escape while the pot pies cook.
- Dry off and season a 3-4lb chicken with salt, pepper
- Stuff cavity of chicken with quartered lemons and fresh sage leaves
- Place water, broth and onion in bottom of roasting pan. Place chicken in roasting pan, cover and cook at 350F for 80 to 90 minutes until the chicken is cooked.
- The chicken is done when the breast meat reads 160F and the leg is at 180F
- Let chicken stand for at least 30 minutes before deboning and cutting
- Cut the chicken into pieces no larger than the vegetables, and use white and brown meat.
- Reserve the juices and broth that drip out of the chicken as you cook it for the sauce and set aside.
- Combine all ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil over medium-hot heat.
- Simmer covered on medium heat for 30 minutes
- Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes over high heat to reduce the broth further, and concentrate the flavors.
- Strain to separate the liquid and reserve the liquid and set aside.
- The broth can be frozen in an ice cube tray to be used at a later time when flavouring dishes.
- Prepare a roux by combining melted butter and flour in a pan until lightly golden, set aside. The longer the butter is left to cook with the flour, the darker the flour will turn. We want a white roux, so a slight golden color is perfect.
- In a quart pot combine the remaining ingredients, and bring to a soft boil.
- Slowly incorporate the roux until you have the desired consistency. It should be quite thick so as to thin out as the vegetables release some of their water content while cooking.
- Remove the pot from the heat once the sauce is fully thickened and set aside.
- Combine all ingredients in a mortar and grind with a pestle.
- Add mixture to the sauce prepared above.
- Thinly slice the leek (white part only) and braise in butter over medium heat until the leeks start to brown slightly, about 10 minutes. Stir often, leave uncovered.
- Turn heat down to medium-low and add a splash of chicken broth to further cook and soften the leeks. Cover and cook another 10 minutes. Set aside once soft. Once cooled, roughly chop the leeks
- Dice the potatoes and carrots so that they are roughly the same size. You’ll want the size to match up to the chicken pieces you prepared previously.
- Place the diced vegetables in a steamer and steam for 4 minutes. Add to leeks, and set aside.
- Combine with frozen peas and set aside.
Putting it all together!
- Combine sauce, approximately 2 cups worth, with vegetable mixture and 1 ¼ cup of diced chicken. Taste the sauce and adjust the salt, we added an extra 1/2tsp of coarse salt to the sauce. This is important if you are using homemade chicken stock as it’s salt content is much lower than store bought stock.
- Fill ramekins with sauce mixture, making sure to fill as much as possible without over filling.
- Place disc of dough on top of the ramekin, making sure to cover the entire ramekin. Press the edges of the dough into the edge of the ramekin and trim the dough. Brush on a simple egg wash on the crust if you want that magazine perfect, golden crust.
- Place the 4 ramekins into an oven preheated to 350F and cook for 26 minutes. For 1 extra minute, broil the pot pies to golden the crust.