Chicken Pot Pie!

Chef Jimi Penti shares from his recipe collection: Chicken Pot Pie

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
3 small onions, 2 cut in half, 1 chopped, divided
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1/4 pound button mushrooms, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
2 parsnips, peeled and chopped
Salt and ground black pepper
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup white wine (optional)
1 cup milk
1 cup chicken stock
5-6 sprigs fresh tarragon, leaves picked and chopped
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 cup frozen peas
1 sheet puff pastry or pie dough, defrosted if frozen
1 egg, lightly beaten with a splash of water

Pre-heat the oven to 375ºF.

Place the chicken, halved onion and bay leaves in a large pot and cover with cold water. Place the pot over medium-high heat and bring up to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the chicken has cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot and let cool. Reserve about 1 cup (a mugful) of the cooking liquid and then discard the remaining.

While chicken cools, place a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat with two turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Add the chopped onion, mushrooms, carrots, celery and parsnips to the pan, then season with salt and pepper and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 7-8 minutes. While the veggies are cooking, remove the chicken breast meat from the bones and shred.

When the veggies are tender, scoot them over to the side of the pan and add the butter to the center of the pot. Once the butter has melted, add the flour and cook for about a minute. Whisk in the white wine, if using, milk, chicken stock and reserved poaching liquid. Bring up to a simmer, then add the tarragon, Dijon mustard, peas and shredded chicken. Bring back up to a simmer, season with salt and pepper and cook until the sauce has thickened, 2-3 minutes.

Transfer to a casserole dish and cover with the pastry dough, trimming it as needed to cover the entire surface. Make a few slits in the dough to allow steam to escape, then brush the top with the beaten egg.

Bake the pot pie until the filling is bubbling and the crust is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Serve.

Deconstructed Chicken Pot Pie
Ingredients (Serves 6)

For the Poached Chicken:
2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 onion, quartered
2 ribs celery with leafy tops, quartered
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 lemon, sliced
2 fresh bay leaves
Parsley stems or sprigs and some reserved carrot tops
1 3-pound chicken
5 to 6 black peppercorns
Kosher salt

For the Pot Pie:
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
3/4 pound white mushrooms, quartered
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 ribs celery with leafy tops, finely chopped
1 large starchy potato, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch dice
3 large shallots, chopped
1 leek, trimmed, cleaned and thinly sliced in half moons
2 to 3 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup dry sherry or dry white wine
1 quart poaching liquid
2 to 3 tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard, to taste
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
3 to 4 tablespoons tarragon, chopped
1 cup fresh shelled green peas
2 Puff pastry sheets (preferred brand Dufour), defrosted in refrigerator for 2-3 hours
Egg wash, for pastry

To poach the chicken, place vegetables, garlic, lemon, herbs in a pot. Add chicken and enough water to just cover the bird. Bring to a boil, add peppercorns and salt. Reduce heat to a low rolling boil. Poach chicken 60 minutes, turning occasionally. Cool completely in stock and remove chicken. Discard bones and skin and pull or dice chicken into bite-size pieces; reserve. Strain stock and pour back into pot, keep warm.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Heat olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium to medium-high heat; add butter. When it foams, add mushrooms and brown 7-8 minutes. Add thyme, carrots, celery, potato, shallots, leeks and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, partially covered 4-5 minutes more to soften; sprinkle flour over pan and stir 1 minute. Add sherry or wine and stir to reduce by half. Add poaching liquid and simmer to thicken 5 minutes. Add Dijon, heavy cream, cheddar cheese, tarragon, peas, reserved chicken and heat through. Add more poaching liquid if too thick. Reduce heat to low.

If making ahead, make filling completely and cool. On the night you want to serve, heat the filling and bake off puff pastry tops.

Place pastry sheets on a floured surface. With a sharp paring knife, trace the shape of the individual serving bowl into the puff pastry. Place shapes on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush with egg wash. Cut a few vents in the top. Bake until golden brown.

Serve filling in bowls topped with pastry crust.

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