Last week my friend loaned me her copy of Samin Nosrat’s “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat” cookbook. I started flipping through it and the first recipe I landed on was this one for chicken pot pie. I immediately felt that I should make it as soon as possible.
In my eyes, Samin Nosrat can do no wrong. Maybe you’ve heard of her Netflix series “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat,” or perhaps you’ve seen her cookbook. Either way, if you have, you know that she makes recipes that are easy to understand and execute. I’ve never made chicken pot pie from scratch but following Samin’s recipe, I felt like it was possible. She breaks down complicated cooking into easy steps that any cook can follow.
Still, I’m not going to lie: This chicken pot pie takes work. Expect to be in the kitchen for at least a few hours, or more if you get distracted and end up trying to talk to your best friend on the phone while you’re making it. I would argue that this pot pie requires your undivided attention, so maybe put your phone in another room or remove as many distractions as possible beforehand.
A couple caveats about the recipe I posted below: It’s essentially the same one that appears in “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat” with a few minor alterations. I didn’t want to copy the whole recipe word for word, especially since Samin puts in directions for if you’re using a whole chicken breast, pre-made pie dough or biscuits, so I left those out. Also, I omitted parsley from the recipe because I forgot to get it at the grocery. Otherwise, the recipe I posted below is basically a word-for-word reprint.
Second, the puff pastry part of the recipe can be tricky. I always get a queasy feeling with I work with puff pastry or pie dough because it’s so delicate and I’m worried I’ll screw it up. Roll out your puff pastry a little beforehand so it’s longer and wider than the baking dish. Make sure you get the dough to adhere to the sides of the dish. As you’ll see in the recipe below, Samin suggests doing this with a little bit of egg wash (think of glue). If you’re like me and you mess this up, maybe you’ll get lucky and have some overhang that you can trim and roll in cinnamon and sugar. I ended up making dessert with the leftover pieces and dipping them in hot chocolate.
ANYWAY. I’m a big fan of this recipe. It’s great comfort food for cold nights when you’re sick of winter and you never want to go outside again. It also keeps well in the fridge for about a week so you can eat leftovers.
Here’s a song to get you started on your pot pie journey.
Chicken Pot Pie (slightly adapted from “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat”)
for the filling:
3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp butter
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
2 large carrots, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
2 large celery stalks, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 pound fresh button mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs fresh thyme
freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup cream
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup flour
1 cup frozen peas
for the crust:
1 package store-bought puff pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten
Prep the chicken in advance of cooking. Season generously with salt. I prefer to season chicken the night before, but if you don’t have that much time, try to give the salt at least an hour to diffuse throughout the meat before cooking. Refrigerate the chicken if seasoning more than an hour in advance; otherwise, leave it on the counter.
Set a large pot over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pot. When the oil shimmers, place half of the chicken pieces in the pan, skin side down, and brown evenly on all sides, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken.
Carefully discard the fat and return the pot to the stove over medium heat. Melt the butter and add the onion, carrots, celery, mushrooms, bay leaves, and thyme. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to take on color and soften, about 12 minutes. Pour in wine and deglaze the pan using a wooden spoon.
Nestle the browned chicken into the vegetables. Add the cream and chicken stock and increase the heat to high. Cover the pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook meat for a total of 30 minutes. Turn off the heat, then transfer cooked chicken to a plate and allow the sauce to cool. Discard the bay leaves and thyme. After the sauce sits for a few minutes and the fat rises to the top, use a ladle or a wide spoon to skim it into a liquid measuring cup or small bowl.
In a separate small bowl, use a fork to combine 1/2 cup of the skimmed fat with the flour in a thick paste. When all the flour has been absorbed, stir in a ladleful of cooking liquid and combine. Return this thick liquid to the pot and bring the entire sauce back to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the sauce no longer tastes of raw flour, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then remove from heat.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Set the oven rack to a center-high position.
When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred the meat and chop the skin finely. Add the shredded chicken and skin and peas to the pot. Stir to combine, taste, and adjust seasoning as needed.
Gently defrost and unroll the puff pastry dough, roll it out to 11 by 15 inchs, then cut at least 4-inch steam vents in the dough.
Pour the filling into a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish. Lay the puff pastry over the filling and trim the dough to leave a 1/2-inch border around the lip of the pan. Tuck the dough back under itself and seal. If the dough won’t stick to the dish on its own, use a little bit of egg wash to encourage it to stick. Brush puff pastry thoroughly and generously with egg wash.
Place on a baking sheet and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until pastry is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Serve hot.