For Michelin-Status Chicken Pot Pie, Use The Whole Chicken

Chicken pot pie may not be what you imagine when you think of Michelin-level food, but that doesn't mean you can't make it that way. Chicken pot pie can be so much more than the soggy, mostly flavorless frozen mess you get at the grocery store. It can be flaky and buttery, robust and creamy, and singing with dozens of different flavors that have all melded together in perfect harmony. With a homemade crust, fresh vegetables, and the time to impart flavor into a truly decadent filling, a chicken pot pie really can be a gourmet experience.

Of course, Michelin-quality food isn't just about how you make something — it's about the ingredients you make it with. You are never going to get the best version of something if you don't grab the freshest options with the most flavor. For a chicken pot pie, that is obviously coming down to your choice of chicken. Ideally, you'll want to go with chicken that has been pasture-raised, or certified humane, as it will have a deeper flavor than normal factory-farmed chicken. And when it comes to chicken parts, you can skip those big packs of dry chicken breast. The best way to go, according to a Michelin-star chef, is to buy a whole chicken.

A whole chicken is cheaper and provides more chicken flavor

When it comes to chicken pot pie, there really is no substitute for an actual chicken. According to an interview with Michelin-starred chef Paul Leonard in the Daily Mail, the secret to the best chicken pot pie is to roast a whole chicken, and then strip the meat from the bones. Using a whole bird gives your pot pie the full range of chicken tastes and textures from every cut: breast, thighs, wings, and all. Whole chickens also tend to cook up tastier, more tender, and have fat and skin that may be missing from separate chicken pieces, which contribute extra flavor to the finished pie.

The other great thing you get more from a whole chicken is a pan full of rendered juices and chicken fat. Leonard likes to use those liquid leftovers as a base for the pot pie filling, which he says "makes a banging sauce." If you don't have enough at the bottom of the pan, those roast drippings can be mixed with chicken stock for an extra boost. You don't even have to break the bank doing this because whole chickens that haven't been broken down are cheaper per pound than a pack of breasts or thighs. People aren't used to being impressed by pot pies, but start with a whole chicken and you'll be on your way towards proving them wrong.