I have been making pot pies for years and it is still one of the dishes that Ed requests the most. I’ve made family style pot pie, individual pot pies and even miniature pot pies (second photo below) for pot lucks and parties. This is a very forgiving recipe. You could use half and half instead of cream, and you can use whatever vegetables you have on hand. This is a great way to use up left over turkey because you can freeze the pot pies and then bake them from frozen.
If you’re short on time, here are 2 shortcuts:
- instead of blanching vegetables in a separate step, cook all of the vegetables together with the onions in the first step, prior to adding the flour
- use store bought puff pastry
(the pastry recipe is adapted from Ina Garten)
for the pastry (or use store bought puff pastry)
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup home rendered lard (recipe here) or vegetable shortening (preferred brand: Crisco)
1/4 pound unsalted butter that has been cut into tbsp sized pieces and then frozen
1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
cracked sea salt (or coarse salt)
ground black pepper
for the filling
3 cups of cooked, shredded or cubed, chicken or turkey
4 cups homemade chicken or turkey stock (or half store bought broth and half water)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream (or half and half)
2 onions, diced
2 cups carrots, cut into small cubes
2 cups potatoes, cut into small cubess (if you are planning on freezing the pot pies, use mini new potatoes or fingerling potatoes; otherwise, use any potatoes that you like)
1 cup celery, cut in half lengthwise and then sliced
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced or quartered button mushrooms
1 cup frozen peas
5 cloves garlic, minced finely
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried parsley
Make the pastry first. Mix the flour, salt, and baking powder together and place in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the lard or shortening and butter and pulse until it looks like coarsely ground parmesan cheese and you can see pea-sized pieces of butter. With the motor running, add the ice water and add only enough water necessary to have a moist dough that just comes together. Dump the dough out onto a floured work surface, give the dough a few kneads to bring it all together, and then shape it into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a medium sized pot of water to boil over high heat. In a separate pan, saute the mushrooms until they soften and shrink. Blanch the carrots, potatoes and peas until just cooked through (about 1 minute and 45 seconds to 2 minutes depending on the size of your vegetables). Set aside. In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock. In a large pot or Dutch oven, over medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil and saute the onions and celery until soft, about 4 minutes. Mix in the garlic. Then add the flour and cook , stirring constantly, for 4 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock one cup at a time, stirring until well combined. Cook for about 6 minutes, stirring, until thick. Stir in the cream and add salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 4 to 6 more minutes, stirring, until thick. Then add the chicken or turkey, mushrooms, carrots, potatoes, peas, and dried parsley and mix until well combined.
If you’re not going to freeze the pot pie(s), preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. If you are going to freeze the pot pie(s), wait until the filling has cooled completely before continuing to the next step.
Pour the filling into your baking pan or divide the filling equally among 8 ovenproof bowls (or more miniature puff pastry tart shells). Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out on a silpat (silicone) mat or a floured work surface until it is the same shape but 2 inches larger than the baking pan. Or, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and roll each one separately to 1 inch larger than the size of the ovenproof bowl. Brush the outside edges of the baking pan/bowls with the egg wash. Then place the dough on top, covering the filling. You may need to trim off some of the excess dough with a sharp knife, as you only want the overhang to be about 1 1/2 inches from the edge from the pan/bowls. Press the dough onto the edge of your pan/bowls to make it stick. Brush the dough with the egg wash and make a few slits in the top. Make sure to stretch the width of the slits with your knife to ensure that they don’t seal shut when the puff pastry cooks and expands. This will prevent you from having a watery filling. Sprinkle the top with sea salt and ground black pepper.
If you are freezing the pot pie(s), wrap well with plastic wrap, and then a layer of aluminum foil, before placing it in a ziploc freezer bag. Freeze. When ready, remove the wrapping and bake from frozen, following the baking guidelines below.
If you are baking the freshly made pot pie(s), place on a baking sheet and bake until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot. Note that the baking time will depend on the size of the pot pie and whether you’re using homemade or store bought pastry. For example, the baking time for individual sized pot pies using store bought puff pastry can be as little as 15 minutes. Family style pot pies using this pastry recipe can take from 40 minutes to 1 hour. Allow to cool slightly on a wire rack before serving.