This is an old family comfort food item that I grew up with. My mother was a good cook but this was one of her easy meals because she bought these frozen and just heated them up in the oven. As kids we loved them and they were easy on her. But as I grew up I got more of an appreciation for natural ingredients and making these pies from scratch. And making these yourself is not so difficult and gives you more control over what goes into the pie. Lots of this can be done in advance like preparing the stock and later the gravy. Note that this dish is quite filling but taking the extra steps to make fresh stock is well worth it. My family absolutely LOVES Chicken pot pie!
Here I have two slow cookers that I have added chicken feet, chicken necks, onions, peppercorns, celery, carrots and bay leaves. I will cook these on low overnight until the meat is literally falling off the bone. But I won’t use this strained meat in my pie. You’ll want to use fresh chicken meat for better flavor.
After cooking all night, this is the liquid that got strained out. As you can see it has a lot of fat in it. We can use that in the gravy if we want but we do not want it in the stock. So I chill the stock in an ice bath for an hour. You will want to cover it during this process. Then move it to the freezer and once cold enough, you will scrape the fat off the top and get as much of that fat out as you can.
Next we want to prepare our dough. I have to confess this hot water crust recipe is NOT mine and I do not claim credit for it. This recipe can be found in other places on the internet and I use it when making my own pot pie crust. The recipe for the dough will be at the bottom of this post with everything else.
After we get the shortening and liquid ingredients together and incorporate the flour, we want to form it into a ball. Cover it in a bowl as above and let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
For our gravy, I used 1 cup of flour with a quart of our stock. I cooked the flour in 1/3 cup of chicken fat (you can use oil or butter instead). Once the fat and flour make a paste, cook that for about 3 minutes and then slowly pour in the stock while whisking. It should make a smooth gravy. To that I’ll add 2 cups of diced chicken breast and/or thighs.
I highly recommend using both chicken breast and thigh meat for best flavor. I’ll add 1/2 of a leek washed, sliced and chopped as well as peas and carrots. For the leeks, cut off the dark green top and roots on the bottom. Slice it lengthwise and soak in cold water to get any dirt out. Once you’ve done that. cut it legnthwise twice more for thin stalks and then slice those strips up into 1/2″ pieces. Then add to the gravy. After that cooks for 15 minutes, I add 1 cup of half and half.
We want to start rolling out our dough between two sheets of wax paper. I like to get mine about 1/8″ thick.
Lay the dough over a pie pan and trim the edges. Save leftover dough and put pack into our rolled out pieces until we have 6 pot pie pans lined with dough.
Mine doesn’t look too pretty there but after it bakes, any imperfections will be gone. I’ll press the sides at the top a little to make it all more even but that’s the extent of what I do to the bottom crust before baking.
Ladle gravy into each one up to the top. After all are filled as above, start covering them with more flat pieces of dough rolled out between sheets of wax paper and then trim the edges.
I like to poke holes in the top of the crust on each pie so that the gravy doesn’t spill out of the sides when it gets really hot.
Put the pies into an oven preheated to 375 degrees and bake for one hour to 70 minutes. When finished, take the pies out and allow them to cool for 15 minutes before serving. Especially if you will be serving children.
I like to flip my pie over on the plate and dig in!! It has to be a two crust pie because well… the crust and the gravy are the best parts!!
Chicken Pot Pie (serves 6-7 as a main course)
- 3 cups solid vegetable shortening
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 5 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Six 8″ pie tins (available at your grocer’s baking aisle)
- 1.5 lbs chicken feet
- 1.5 lbs chicken necks
- 2 cups chopped carrots divided
- 2 cups chopped celery divided
- One large onion
- 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
- 4 bay leaves
- Stock from above
- 1/3 cup oil, butter or chicken fat
- 1 cup flour
- 2-3 cups diced chicken breast and thigh meat
- 1/2 leek sliced and chopped (dark green parts discarded)
- 2 cups frozen peas and carrots or mixed frozen vegetables
- 1 cup half and half
- 1-2 seasoned chicken boullion cubes
- Divide the chicken meat in half and put in a pair of slow cookers with carrots, celery, onion bay leaves and peppercorns.
- Cook overnight on the cooker’s low setting.
- Strain the next day and discard all solids.
- Chill the liquid in your freezer for 1.5 to 2 hours (until the fat solidifies and you can skim it).
- Skim as much fat as possible.
- Freeze any leftover unused stock after skimming.
- Heat 1/3 cup fat from skimming the stock or butter in a pot.
- Add the flour and whisk to mix well.
- Cook about 3 minutes and then slowly pour in 1 quart of the stock from above while whicking to mix.
- Add the chicken, chopped leeks, peas and carrots.
- Simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Mix in the boullion cubes to taste.
- Place shortening in large bowl. Pour hot water and milk over the shortening.
- With a dinner fork, break up the shortening. Tilt bowl and beat quickly with the fork, until the mixture looks like whipped cream (this will take about 5 minutes). Some water will splash out of the bowl as you beat – that’s okay.
- Pour flour and salt over shortening mixture and beat well with the fork, forming a dough that cleans the bowl.
- Form into a ball.
- Put in a bowl and cover.
- Put the dough ball in the refrigerator and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Roll dough flat between two sheets of wax paper with a rolling pin. You want to make roughly 10″ rounds of dough that are 1/8″ thick. Make 6 of these.
- Place the flat pieces of dough into the pie tins and trim excess dough from the edges.
- Save any scraps from trimming and return to the dough ball.
- Ladle enough of the gravy into each pie to completely fill each one
- Roll out six 8″ round pieces of dough 1/8″ thick.
- Cover each pie with the round pieces.
- Pinch the edges to seal each pie
- Poke two slits into each pie crown.
- Put pies in the oven and bake for 60-70 minutes until the crusts are golden brown.
- When pies are done, remove them from the oven and allow them to rest for 15 minutes.
- Serve on ceramic or china plates.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family and I do.