The Best Chicken Pot Pie
The Best Chicken Pot Pie, With Biscuits or Pastry
by STELLA PARKS
[Photographs: Vicky Wasik]
When it comes to making dinner, by virtue of my dessert-oriented profession, I gravitate toward what I like to call “secret pastries”—savory meals that ultimately hinge on making a fantastic dough. It’s a category that includes dishes such as ravioli, quiche, empanadas, and pizza, as well as my personal favorite: chicken pot pie.
Of course, no matter how amazing the pastry, all the time and effort that go into chicken pot pie will be wasted if you start with a mediocre filling. You know the sort: loaded with overcooked chicken swimming in a watery sauce.
How to Get the Filling Right
Fortunately, the same steps that ensure the chicken stays tender and juicy will also guarantee a super-flavorful filling. It’s as simple as giving up on pot pie as a vehicle for leftovers. Sure, we all remember how fantastic that roast chicken was the night before, but if it was perfectly cooked then, it will always be overcooked in a chicken pot pie.
Rather than using leftovers, the ultimate chicken pot pie starts with tender, juicy chunks of chicken that are ever so slightly underdone. Not raw, but around 135°F (57°C), a temperature that ensures the chicken won’t be ruined by additional cooking but instead will end up perfectly done when the pie is baked. To do that, I’m fond of Daniel’s technique for cold-poached chicken, only I use chicken stock in place of the water in his method. On top of that, I throw in onions, celery, and carrots, along with a small amount of garlic and herbs.