Hearty and Healthy Chicken Pot Pie
Hello all! This will most likely be my final post of the year since tomorrow I’ll be heading to upstate New York to celebrate the holidays with my family, and with the big ol’ bag of gifts I’ve gotta travel with, there’s not much room for all my photo supplies. However, Christmas did come a little early for me this year, as I had my first gift exchange with my Mom’s side of the family last weekend. Santa-Mom was super generous this year and I finally got myself a shiny new camera; So its fitting that I get to cap off this year with a dish photographed with my new Canon SX30 IS! While I’ve just begun learning all the ins and outs of my new toy, so far I can say I would definitely recommend it. It has the highest zoom out there right now (30x!) and great image stabilization as well as face and scene detection options. I’m going to have to become a bit of a photo nerd if I want to really learn all the benefits of it, but I think I’m prepared, haha!
Anyway, onto the food! I decided to try making some individual chicken pot pies, seeing how I can lighten up the typical recipe. First, I found a recipe from Self Magazine that used skim milk and cornstarch instead of heavy cream and/or butter, which thickened the filling up nicely and guilt-free. From there, the filling was pretty simple.
*I ended up using two whole chicken legs I had in the freezer. I skinned them and separated the drumsticks from the thighs, and poached them in a pot of boiling water for about 15 minutes (use a meat thermometer to assure the internal temperature is 160 degrees). Once the chicken was cool, I used a fork and my hands to shred it all up, amount to about 2 cups of meat
For the crust, I opted to use my favorite Martha Stewart Pate Brisee recipe. However, to make it healthier I replaced the butter with vegetable shortening and some of the white flour for whole wheat. While this did do an alright job of creating a healthier crust on my pot pies, the texture was definitely lacking and the dough was difficult to work with. If you are really dedicated to going for health-factor then don’t say I didn’t warn you, haha! But if you’re more of a pastry purist, I would recommend using only half the amount of shortening and the other half use real butter (or hell, use all butter!). Another way I cut out some fat from my pies was instead of lining the entire inside of the bowls with crust, I just cut out a small circle to fit into the bottom of the bowls.
- 1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
- 3/4 Cup All-purpose Flour
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 Cup Vegetable Shortening, cold (or 1/4 cup shortening + 1/4 cup butter, cut into small pieces)
- 2 TBSP – 1/4 Cup Ice Water
In the bowl of a food processor, combine flours and salt. Add the shortening (and butter, if using) in small pieces at a time, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8-10 seconds.
With the machine running, add 2 TBSP of ice water in a slow, steady stream through the feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky, being careful not to over-process. To test, squeeze a small amount together with your fingers: If it’s crumbly, add more ice water, 1 TBSP at a time.
Gently press dough together into a ball, and flatten into a disc. Wrap in plastic and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour.
Chicken Pot Pie (Makes 4 personal pot pies)
- 2 Cups cooked, shredded Chicken (*see above)
- 2 Cups Low-sodium Chicken Broth
- 1 Chopped Onion
- 1 Potato, peeled and diced
- 1 Carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 1/2 tsp Fresh Sage, Chopped
- 1 1/2 tsp Fresh Thyme, Chopped
- 1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
- 1/8 tsp Ground Cayenne Pepper
- 1/4 Cup Cornstarch
- 1 Cup Skim Milk
- 1 Cup Frozen Peas
- 1 Yellow Squash, diced
- 1 Cup chopped Mushrooms
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/8 tsp Ground Pepper
- 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 Egg Yolk + 1 TBSP Skim Milk (for egg wash)
- Fresh Sage + Thyme, roughly chopped (to top crust)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a medium saucepan, add 1 cup of the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add the onion and cook 3 minutes, until soft. Then add the remaining cup of broth, as well as the potatoes, carrots, sage, thyme, cumin and cayenne. Bring to a boil and cook 8 minutes, until potatoes and carrots are tender. Meanwhile, combine the cornstarch with the skim milk, stir to combine. Add the peas, squash, mushrooms, salt, pepper, Worcestershire and cornstarch mixture into the pot. Stir to combine and cook about 5 minutes. Stir in the shredded chicken and remove from heat.
Remove your dough from the refrigerator and begin rolling out on a floured surface. If using all shortening as I did, be very careful to use enough flour so the rolling pin doesn’t pull up pieces of dough. You’ll need 4 oven-proof bowls or ramekins (or you can just make this in a larger casserole dish). Using a sharp knife or round cookie cutters, carefully cut out circles about the size of the inside bottom of each bowl. Place the dough rounds into each bowl and fill with pot pie filling. Now cut out circles a little larger than the top of the bowls. Sprinkle chopped sage and thyme over each round and gently press them into the dough using your fingers. Place dough on top of each bowl; crimp the edges using a fork, and slice 4 slits in the middle of each pie. Beat the egg yolk and skim milk together and brush over the top of each pot pie.
Place your bowls onto a cookie sheet and transfer to the oven. Bake about 25-30 minutes, until filling starts bubbling out and crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before serving.
I hope everyone enjoys their pot pies, and also has a fantastic holiday and rest of 2011! Thanks to everyone who’s been reading Allison Eats for making this year so fun and delicious!