Here’s another recipe from Ina Garten’s new “Make It Ahead” cookbook. Auntie M gave this recipe for “French Chicken Pot Pies” a try. She liked the idea of individual pies rather than one large dish but needed ovenproof bowls to bake them in. Guess where she found some? Hammertown of course! (Only $10 each) The pies came out beautifully and were absolutely delicious! And, she froze two of them for a future “Make Ahead” dinner. In the book, Ina starts this recipe with the following: “I believe in mastering one recipe and then making variations. This is a twist on a classic American pot pie but dressed up for company. It has French ingredients like leeks and tarragon, and I use puff pastry to make the crust easy!”
(Makes 6 servings)
- 4 split (2 whole) chicken breasts, bone-in and skin-on (2 1/2 pounds) [Auntie M used boneless breasts and poached them to save time]
- Good olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
- 4 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (4 leeks)
- 2 cups (1/2-inch diced) carrots (5 carrots)
- 4 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, stems discarded; sliced
- 1/4 cup minced fresh tarragon leaves
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2-1/2 cups good chicken stock, preferably homemade (there is a recipe on pg. 62 of the cookbook)
- 6 tablespoons cream sherry
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas, such as Birds Eye Garden Peas
- 3 sheets frozen puff pastry, such as Pepperidge Farm (2 boxes), defrosted
- 1 extra-large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
- Fleur de sel
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, place on a sheet pan, brush with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 minutes, until cooked through. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Discard the skin and bones and cut the meat in 3/4-inch dice. You should have about 5 cups of chicken.
Meanwhile, heat the butter in a medium heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, such as Le Creuset [by the way, also available at Hammertown!] Add the leeks and carrots and sauté over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until they begin to soften. Add the garlic, mushrooms, and tarragon and cook for 5 minutes. Sprinkle on the flour and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the chicken stock and sherry, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes, until the mixture is slightly thickened. Add the cream, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the frozen peas and chicken, taste for seasonings, and pour the mixture into six (2-cup) ovenproof serving bowls.
Raise the oven to 400 degrees.* [we did this later…after refrigerating the pies]
On a lightly floured board, roll each pastry to an 11-inch square. Cut out 2 circles from each sheet of pastry that are each 1/2 inch larger than the rim of the bowl. Brush the outer edges of the bowls with the egg wash. [The egg wash both affixes the pastry to the dish and makes a lovely browned crust.] Place a pastry circle over each bowl, adhering it with the egg wash. Brush the pastry with egg wash and sprinkle with fleur de sel and pepper.
Make three 1-inch slits in each pastry for steam to escape. * Refrigerate the pot pies for at least 30 minutes.
Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Serve hot.
MAKE IT AHEAD:Assemble the pot pies completely, cover tightly, and refrigerate for up to a day or freeze for up to a month. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator (if frozen) and bake before serving.