Thank you to Cook's Illustrated for this... Chicken Pot Pie with Savory Crumble Topping. Well-written recipe... full of flavor, some serious flavor!!!
For just me and my hubby I cut the recipe in half and it was plenty... but we sure were wanting more! Wow... words CANNOT explain how yummy this was. I guess you're going to have to make it for yourself to find out!
Here's where I started... the" mise en place". I chopped, diced, measured, poured and got all the ingredients ready for the process. (I have an affinity for mise en place... what can I say?! I'm an organized person and this process is just so much fun for me.)
Chicken stock, canola oil, cream, butter, mushrooms, onions, peas, carrots, flour, soy sauce, tomato paste and lemon juice.
I've never used soy sauce, tomato paste or lemon juice in a chicken pot pie. I would consider these to be the "secret weapons" of this dish. THANK YOU to Cook's Illustrated for these secrets! (This idea opens a whole new set of ideas for me... when it comes to other dishes that might need a kick of flavor. Seriously - love it!)
In a Dutch oven I boiled the chicken until cooked...
And while the chicken cooked I worked on the savory crumble topping... which is good enough to just bake up and eat as a Friday afternoon snack! The topping is made of flour, baking powder, salt/pepper, cayenne pepper, butter, parmesan cheese and cream. Watch this...
Mix the dry ingredients together and added cubed/chilled butter... then with your hands (the best tools in the kitchen) rub the butter into the flour until it resembles a coarse cornmeal. Stir in the cheese until well mixed and then add the cream.
Mix it with a spoon and crumble the topping into uneven globs of goodness onto a baking sheet... fun, huh?!
Bake off the topping in a hot oven while you start assembling the rest of your pot pie. (The pot below is the same Dutch oven I boiled the chicken in - no need to wash it. I transferred the chicken to a cutting board so I could chop it up... and I strained the broth and set it aside to use it later in this process.)
From here on it comes together pretty quickly. Saute the carrots, onion, celery in a little bit of veg oil and some salt/pepper, until soft... once done transfer the vegetables to a bowl.
Add a bit more veg oil to the Dutch oven and do the same with the mushrooms...
They will lose their moisture in about 5 minutes... then add the tomate paste and soy sauce and cook just a tad (until the moisture evaporates).
About now it will be time to remove the crumble topping from the oven... try not to snack on all of it... there IS another purpose for it!
Back to the Dutch oven... this is what has been left behind by the mushrooms, soy sauce and tomato paste process. That "brown stuff" on the bottom of the pan is pure gold in this dish!!! It's called FOND... and I'm very fond of fond. (My apologies... that was super cheesy!)
When you add moisture to fond it comes off the bottom of the Dutch oven nicely and imparts some amazing flavor to your dish.
As you can see I've removed the mushrooms from the Dutch oven. They are now in the bowl with the other vegetables, waiting for their next task.
Next pour in the reserved chicken stock and milk (or cream) and while stirring scrape the fond off the bottom and sides of the Dutch oven.
In the picture below, see the wall of the Dutch oven? And how easily that fond scrapes off? It will then just melt into the sauce mixture and that's where a lot of the amazing flavor of this dish comes from. Thank you Mr Fond! Give the sauce a little taste. If it needs a little more salt/pepper add it now.
Remove the Dutch oven from the heat and add the lemon juice, shredded chicken and vegetables (including frozen peas)...
Stir together a few times and transfer mixture to baking dish... since it's just the two of us I used a small round casserole (but the recipe from Cook's Illustrated calls for a 9" x 13" baking dish). Then add the crumble topping and place it on the middle rack in the oven.
A few tips from Lori:
- Always read through a new recipe completely before making it the first time. I've made this mistake so many times and am still learning it. So take it from me.... read it first, then get to it!
- Even if you don't like to, go through the mise en place process for this dish. Have all of your ingredients pre-measured, set aside and waiting for you to grab them. Just trust me...
But most importantly... ...