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A Lazy Day of Leftovers – Chicken Tarragon Pot Pie

07 Oct

If you are like me, there are probably many nights during the week where you make a meal and then end up with a bunch of different leftovers that you may or may not know how to use. It is not unusual to get tired of having the same meal two or three times a week just because you do not want to throw away perfectly good food but are not sure what you can do with those leftover chicken pieces or leftover vegetables. It is times like this where potpie can come to the rescue. Potpie is a great meal to put together just about any time of the year and you can do it with any type of protein (or no protein at all if you are vegetarian) and vegetables. The only real effort that goes into it is making the pie dough and even then, if you have no problem using store-bought pie dough you can get the meal together even quicker. Very often I will use store-bought pie dough simply because it is easy, I do not really have the room to make pie dough and for potpie purposes it tastes just fine. I decided to use this recipe from New York Times Cooking for a chicken-tarragon potpie and make a simple dinner.

Chicken-Tarragon Pot Pie

For the crust:

2 cups all-purpose flour

14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) cold unnsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 tablespoon cold vegetable shortening

Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt

Scant 1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 egg

For the Filling:

5 tablespoons butter

1 cup chopped carrot

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup thinly sliced leeks

1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon, or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried tarragon

1 cup frozen baby green peas

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 ½ cups chicken broth

1 cup heavy cream

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

3 cups leftover roast chicken, cut into 1/2-inch chunks

To make the crust, combine the flour, butter, shortening, salt and sugar in a food processor. Pulse the ingredients together just until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is broken into small pieces. Pour 1/3 cup of ice water into the machine, and pulse 3 or 4 times. Squeeze a little dough in your hand to see whether it clumps together and is evenly moist. If not, add another tablespoon of water, and pulse 1 or 2 times more. Don’t overmix so that the dough forms a ball.

Turn out the dough on a large sheet of plastic wrap. Lift the ends of the plastic to gather the dough together inside. Press the dough into a large disk, and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough until you are ready to use it, up to 2 days.

To make the filling, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the carrot, celery, leeks and tarragon, and cook, stirring, just until slightly softened but not browned (reduce the heat if necessary to prevent browning), about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the cooked vegetables to a bowl, wipe out the skillet, and place it back on the stove.

Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter, and melt it over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, and cook, whisking, until the mixture bubbles and smells cooked. Do not let it brown. Whisk in 2 cups of chicken broth, and cook, whisking, for about 1 minute. Whisk in the cream, and cook 2 or 3 minutes, just until the mixture is thickened. Add the salt and pepper. If the sauce is too thick, whisk in the remaining broth.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Add the cooked vegetables and peas, the chicken and the sauce to an 8-inch deep pie dish or other baking dish, mix the ingredients gently, and taste for seasoning.

If you are using store-bought dough, take the dough out of the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature for about 10 to 15 minutes. If you are using your own homemade dough, flour a work surface. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Roll out the dough, turning and flouring often, and cut a shape approximately the size of your baking dish plus 1 1/2 inches overlap all around.

Roll the dough up onto the rolling pin, and unroll it over the baking dish, so it rests evenly on top of the filling. Fold the edges under and crimp the edges. Poke the tip of a knife through the crust to create 3 vent holes near the center. Whisk the egg with a teaspoon of cold water. Use a pastry brush to lightly coat the entire crust with egg wash. Place the pie pan or baking dish on a cookie sheet, and place it in the oven.

Bake the pie for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Bake the pie for 25 to 30 minutes more, until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling through the vents. Let the pie rest for 10 minutes before serving.

One of the great things about this recipe is that you can make use of any type of vegetables you want in a pot pie. I used the vegetables recommended but I also had some leftover broccoli that I put in as well. Pot pie works well with chicken, turkey, beef and pork that you may have leftover so you can make just about anything with it. I find pot pie tastes even better the next day and often have any leftovers for lunch, after the sauce and the flavors have had even more time to come together. It can be a great dinner to put together in under an hour.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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