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Wolfgang's Classic Chicken Pot Pie
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Gradually whisk the stock, cream and thyme into the flour and butter roux.
Use a plate to cut an 11-inch circle in the pastry.
Press gently around the pastry edge to make a decorative edge.
Cut 3 slits in the center of the pie before baking.

Wolfgang's Classic Chicken Pot Pie

Serves 6

One of the oldest truly American dishes, I'm a great fan of chicken pot pies, especially in the winter when even Californian nights get cold. This is a simple and relatively easy to prepare recipe. You can always make the filling and the pastry the day before you need it, to save a little time. But remember to heat the filling before topping it with the pastry crust.

Ingredients

Pastry:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons snipped chives
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 5 or 6 tablespoons heavy cream

Chicken and Vegetables:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 stalk celery, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/2 pound crimini or shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 10 ounce package frozen pearl onions, thawed
  • 3/4 cup frozen petite peas, thawed

Sauce:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg with 1 tablespoon water, beaten
Method
  1. Prepare the pastry: Place the flour and chives in a bowl. Using a pastry blender or your fingertips, work in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the cheese and work in until just blend. In a small bowl, whisk together the yolks and 5 tablespoons of the cream. Sprinkle the yolk mixture over the pastry dough, a little at a time, stirring with a fork until pastry comes together. Add remaining cream if necessary. Knead lightly until just combined. Press pastry into a circle. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add the butter and vegetable oil. Sauté the chicken for 2 to 3 minutes, until lightly browned but not cooked through. With slotted spoon, remove chicken to bowl.
  3. In the same pan over medium-high heat sauté the carrots, celery and mushrooms 5 minutes. With slotted spoon, remove vegetables to another bowl. Stir thawed pearl onions and peas into vegetables.
  4. Prepare the sauce: In the same pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until the mixture is bubbling and smooth, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and gradually whisk in stock, cream, and thyme. Return skillet to heat, bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Cook for 2 minutes until sauce has thickened and is smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in reserved chicken and vegetables. Set aside to cool for about 20 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Spoon cooled chicken and vegetable mixture into a 10-inch deep-dish pie plate. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry into a circle 11-inches in diameter. Place pastry on top of chicken mixture. Trim pastry edge, fold overhang under and press gently all around baking dish to make a decorative edge. Reroll any trimmings and cut out to make a decorative design for top of pie. Brush pastry with beaten eggwash. Using a knife, cut 3 slits in center of pie.
  6. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until pastry is golden brown, chicken and vegetables are tender and filling is heated through.

Wine Recommendation:

If you're eating chicken pot pie on a winter's evening then try serving a slightly chilled red wine, a Syrah, Zinfandel or Californian Rhone-style wine like the wonderfully affordable wines of Zaca Mesa in Santa Barbara. If you’re a stickler for tradition then by all means serve a white wine, but try and select something with enough body to stand up to the pie like a big Chardonnay.
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