autumn chicken pot pie

Recipe printed from

Autumn Chicken Pot Pie
Adapted (rather loosely, actually) from Ad Hoc at Home

I'm aware that Thomas Keller can do no wrong, at least in the kitchen. I'm aware that his recipes are probably tested a thousand times, and that if he doesn't put nutmeg in his bechamel it's likely with good reason. that said, i still like to tinker around with recipes, and this was no exception. while i almost switched out the bechamel altogether for the more familiar gravy, I refrained, and I'm glad - bechamel filling is where it's at. you can easily swap in or out meat & veggies - add peas, root veggies, or beans, remove potatoes, use beef instead of chicken - whatever. and if you have leftover filling, i'm sure there are plenty of ways to use it up.

as an FYI, the pie crusts can be refrigerated for a few days (or frozen), so it's never a bad idea to double the crust recipe. if you're making this to freeze, do everything except bake it, and wrap it in plastic wrap and tin foil. i've heard some say not to include potatoes in a frozen pie, but it should be fine as long as you use the smaller versions that arent as waxy.

pie crusts
2 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 1/4 t kosher salt
2 sticks butter, cut into 1/2" pieces and chilled
4 T shortening, cut into 1/2" pieces and chilled*
~5 T water

1 c red-skinned potatoes, medium dice
1 1/2 c winter squash, medium dice
3 bay leaves
3 thyme sprigs
15 black peppercorns
1 T olive oil
1 c carrots, medium dice
1 small onion, medium dice
1/2 c celery, medium dice
2-3 c shredded cooked chicken (thighs or breasts)**

3 T unsalted butter
3 T all purpose flour
3 c milk
1 t kosher salt
black pepper, to taste
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of nutmeg

1 egg, beaten

pie crusts
combine flour and salt in mixer. add butter and shortening, and pulse constantly until butter and shortening pieces are about the size of a pea. drizzle 1 T water at a time into the bowl and pulse until mixture comes together, adding water by the tablespoon. if dough is dry and gritty, add more water. when dough comes together dump out onto a floured surface and knead a few times until mixture is uniform.

divide dough in half (one piece a little larger than the other), shape into a disk and refrigerate at least an hour. [remove from refrigerator about 5-10 minutes prior to rolling out.]

fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. add bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns and potatoes and simmer over med-hi heat until just tender, 8-10 minutes. spread out on sheet pan to cool. repeat process with squash.

in a skillet, add olive oil and over med-hi heat, saute carrots, onion, and celery until tender. spread all veggies out on sheet pan to cool.

in a large pot (you can use the same one you cooked potatoes/squash in, to save dishwashing!), melt butter, and whisk in the flour for about 2-3 minutes ensuring it does not brown. whisk in the milk and lower the heat to a gentle simmer, whisking often, until the sauce has thickened and reduced to about 2 cups (30-40 minutes). strain the bechamel through a fine strainer into a spouted measuring cup. season with salt, pepper, cayenne and nutmeg.

putting it all together
while simmering the bechamel, preheat to 375 F, make sure one rack is at the bottom of the oven and the other in the middle. prepare pie. remove pie dough and let stand for 5-10 minutes to soften. then, roll out both pie crusts - roll one into 13-14" round and the other to about 12". place larger one in the bottom of a 9" pie plate, and place the other back in the fridge on a sheet of parchment paper. trim away any excess dough that's hanging over the rim of the pie plate (save it for mini pot pies, if you have leftover filling). refrigerate if bechamel isn't ready, or if you need to finish it.

[finish the bechamel.] combine chicken and veggies in a large bowl. scatter mixture into the bottom of the pie plate to fill (you may have extra, which is great for the mini pot pies). moisten the rim of the pie with some of the beaten egg. remove top crust from the fridge and place over the filling and press the edges of the dough together to seal, trimming away any excess. using the rest of the beaten egg, brush the top of the pie, and cut a couple of small slits into the top to allow the pie to vent.

bake on the lower oven rack until the crust is golden brown, about 50 minutes. move to center rack during the final 10 minutes if not browning enough. transfer to cooling rack and let rest for 10 minutes. cut into 6 wedges and serve.


*i'm not sure why you'd want to, but you can omit shortening if it freaks you out. keller's original crust didn't call for it, but i adhere to the "pie crust has to have shortening" rule. I won't lie - this crust is un-be-freakin-lievable.

**for cooked chicken, I poached it in water, thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorn, let it cool and then shredded it. i used about a pound and had plenty of leftover chicken, which is great for more pot pies or other cooked chicken dishes ;).