Chicken pot pie is one of those classic winter foods that hits all the spots when done right, but most of the time, is done so so wrong. A gluey interior encased in a soggy crust — rather than being hearty and warming, they can often be upsetting and sad.
It’s a shame, because a good chicken pot pie can be dreamy: shreds of chicken and root vegetables enrobed in a velvety gravy and topped with a flaky crust that crackles when you cut into it. It takes that most basic of ingredients — chicken — and elevates it to comfort food greatness, something that makes winter seem wonderland-y instead of cold and aggressive and harsh.
I used leftover Thanksgiving turkey for my version, but poached chicken breasts or store-bought rotisserie chicken work well too. The combo of carrots, celery and mushrooms in gravy is the real star, and I think an all-vegetarian version (with additional root vegetables or different types of mushrooms) would be just as delicious. Traditional pot pies are topped with a pie crust, but using puff pastry saves some time and I think is just way more delicious. It is a bit frustrating to deal with however (especially if you’re impatient and don’t wait for the dough to fully thaw, not that anyone you know would do that …), but I had a terrible time with mine and the end result was just as beautiful, and more importantly, devoured just as quickly.
Since we’re in full swing on the holiday revelry and I like to save my calories for cookies, I swapped most of the milk in the gravy with low-sodium chicken stock, and didn’t miss much. I’d never call anything that features a pound of puff pastry and a half-stick of butter “healthy,” but there’s a fair amount of vegetables in here and it’s hearty enough that a small portion goes a long way. The pot pie also reheats very nicely, so I’d make a big skillet-full and save it for those insanely busy December nights when even ordering Seamless feels like too much. This is the kind of pot pie that I dream about*, and I promise it will be a lifesaver for you this winter.
*What, you don’t dream about food?