Chicken Pot Pie

Pie can be topped with herbed crust ,  Puff pastry, or topped with biscuits.

1 1/2½ cups all purpose flour
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons cold butter, cut into
1 inch pieces
1/4 cup cold solid vegetable
shortening cut into bits
1/4 cup ice water
Chicken filling
4 Large chicken breasts
5 Cups chicken broth
2 Teaspoons black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
4 springs fresh thyme
3 Large garlic cloves
2 Small carrots cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1 Small leek cut into 1/2 inch thick
pieces (about 2 cups)
1 Large sweet potato
1 or 2 stalks of celery
2 or three large baking potatoes cut
into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 Cup frozen peas
4 Tablespoons butter
5 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1 Cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
salt and pepper

Use any combination of vegetables. I have added fresh green beans cut into 1/2 inch pieces.

Cook the chicken in a soup pot with the broth, peppercorns, bay leaves, thyme and garlic. Bring to a boil over high head. Reduce the heat to low and simmer very gently until the chicken is cooked.

Remove the chicken from the pot and let cool. Remove meat from bones. Strain broth to remove peppercorns and herbs. Bring strained broth to a boil and add leeks, celery and carrot. Cook a couple of minutes and then add sweet potatoes and regular potatoes. Remove vegetables from
broth to a bowl with the chicken and set aside.

Make sauce, by melting butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add flour and then cooking stirring frequently with a whisk, until the mixture develops a nutty smell, about 2 minutes. Slowly add half the broth to the roux, whisking constantly until the sauce thickens. Add the rest of the broth along with the cream and chopped thyme. Increase the heat to moderate and allow the sauce to simmer, stirring occasionally, until it is well steeped with the flavour of thyme. Remove the pan from the head. Add the vegetables and chicken to the sauce. Add frozen peas. Season with salt and pepper.

Spoon filling into the pan. Cover with pastry, trucking in edge to seal to side of pan. Reroll the dough trimmings and cut out several leaf shapes to decorate. Make small incisions in the crust to allow steam to escape.

Bake in a 375 degree oven until crust in golden brown, for about 50 minutes.