[Recipe makes 4 to 6 servings].
Prior to today, I've tried to make pot pie a classy dish for whatever reason. I've tried recipes that incorporate white wine and/or brandy with the chicken stock. I've tried versions that use "sophisticated" vegetables like shallots, morels, and asparagus. And despite these changes, I've been far from impressed. From all that I've learned through experimentation, I've concluded that you don't mess with comfort food classics.
My final version of this recipe uses a velouté sauce made with equal parts of broth and cream, and is laced with large chunks of moist chicken as well as simple but "classic pot pie" veggies. Top it off with a nice round of puff pastry or some pie dough, and that's it. The consistency is thicker than a creamy soup, but is far from being able to slice if you were to serve it up family style.
Puff pastry, thawed
3 chicken breasts, brined
2 bay leaves
1/2 lemon, cut into wedges
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup carrots, small dice
1/2 white onion, diced
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups heavy cream
1 medium russet potato, baked and diced
1 cup frozen peas
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 400° F. Cut out six portions of puff dough, roughly 6-inches in diameter. Transfer the puff pastry to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush with egg wash and top with Herbs de Provence or your favorite dried herb. Bake until golden brown on the top and bottom. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack.
Coat the brined chicken in olive oil and season with kosher salt and pepper. Place the breasts on a sheet of parchment paper. Place the lemon wedges and bay leaves in between the breasts, and then fold the outside edges towards the center, like a package. Flip the package over, so that the seam is on the bottom, and place on top of a rimmed sheet pan. Bake at 400° F for 25 minutes, or until the chicken registers 165° F, Transfer the chicken to a plate and tent with aluminum foil.
In a small sauce pan, melt the 5 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat and then stir in the flour. Remove from the heat and reserve.
Heat the remaining butter in a Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the carrots and cook for several minutes. Add the diced onion, season with salt and pepper, and then continue cooking until the onions just start to show some color. Deglaze the pot with the chicken broth and cook for five minutes. Stir in the cream and reduce slightly. Gradually whisk in your roux until the sauce has thickened. Remove from the heat and season to taste. [Side note: Since we're using low-sodium broth and none of the other ingredients are high in sodium, don't be shy with the seasonings]. Once you're happy with the sauce, shred the chicken and stir into the sauce along with the potatoes and peas.
Portion out individual servings into ramekins or bowls, and top with a puff pastry round.