Baby, it’s cold outside, so why not warm things up, starting with our favorite winter dish? Chicken potpie. Let’s break down why this is the perfect weeknight meal. First, it’s the definition of comfort. Second—now that you’ve practiced for Thanksgiving—your piecrust skills are on point. And, third, it’s guaranteed to warm things up on these cold winter nights.
This recipe has a flaky crust studded with herbs and garlic, which lend an extra kick of flavor to the best part of the pie. Encased in this crust is a rich filling of chicken and vegetables cooked in a creamy sauce spiked with a splash of sherry. It’s an entire meal packed into one nine-inch pan (see the recipe).
“It’s like eating a hug,” Sarah Curtis-Fawley, potpie expert and owner of Pacific Pie in Portland, Oregon, tells us. We couldn’t agree more. That’s why we’re spreading the love and teaching you how to make the perfect potpie.
Passion of the Crust
You probably know by now to use cold ingredients, like chilled butter and shortening, but Curtis-Fawley also recommends popping your flour mixture into the freezer to make sure it stays cold, thus preventing the fat from melting into the dough.
Resting the dough is also key. First, it lets the butter and shortening firm up after softening from the heat of your hands. Second, this is when the dough hydrates, making for a crust that rolls out in one piece without crumbling. This is crucial in a dough like ours, which has chunks of garlic and herbs, and could tear if not properly hydrated.
Keep It Classic
“Every time we try to 'fancy up' our chicken pie with tarragon or other herbs, our customers rebel!” Curtis-Fawley explains. So even though we get a little fancy with our crust, we keep the filling traditional.
Our only tweak here is that instead of simmering the vegetables with the chicken, we caramelize them first to add an extra boost of flavor and just a hint of sweetness. To finish the dish, we add a splash of sherry and lemon to brighten things up.
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You need the filling to be completely cooled before assembling to prevent the butter in the dough from melting. For this reason, this is the perfect dish to prepare a day ahead. Make the dough and filling, and keep them in the fridge overnight. Then the next day, assemble the pie and bake.
You can also halve the dough recipe and assemble the whole thing in a skillet. Just throw the filling in an 10-inch ovenproof skillet, cover with one layer of dough and bake until golden. Anyway you slice it, this pie will keep you going all winter long.
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