A Chicken Pot Pie is one of the most comforting meals around, but you rarely find it listed on a menu and I don't think I've ever been to a dinner at which one was served. Perhaps it's considered old fashioned or too laborious to prepare; or maybe - which is what I think - few people have ever tasted a really good one. During the Holidays we went to the Ram's Head Inn in New Jersey and my future mother-in-law ordered the Chicken Pot Pie. I was surprised to see it on the menu but it turned out to be not only the best-looking pot pie ever, but man, was it ever good! (I was allowed a couple of bites.) So I decided it was time to bring back the pot pie. To get that old-fashioned look, I made a crispy golden puff pastry to top it off. I also decided to switch the chicken for mushrooms because I could eat platefuls of them.
If you want to save time on the day you plan to make a pot pie, you can make the mixture the night before and just pop the pastry on top the day after. You can even skip the pastry, pour more stock in and you have an awesome Mushroom Chowder.
• 200 g flour • 200 g unsalted butter • pinch of salt • 100 ml cold water
In a large bowl mix the flour with the salt and rub in the butter with your hands, not to much - you still want clumps of butter. Add the water and work until you have a smooth dough. Add more water if it's too stiff. Chill for 30 minutes.
Flour your work surface. Now the trick is to have nice layers of pastry. To do that you just have to roll the dough into a rectangle, about half an inch thick. Fold the left end towards the middle and then fold the right end on top of it. Rotate the dough a quarter turn, roll again and repeat the folding. Do that 4-5 times. Then chill the dough for another 30 minutes.
• 2 medium onions, chopped • 3 medium carrots, chopped • 2 garlic cloves, chopped • 1 cup green peas • 450 g mixed chopped mushrooms (I used button, portobello and oyster) • 1 cup mushroom stock (or veg or chicken) • 2 sprigs thyme • a small handful of chopped parsley • 2 tablespoons butter • 2 tablespoons flour • 1 cup milk
Preheat the oven to 375F.
In a large pot on low heat, sweat the onions, carrots and garlic. Once soft, after about 10 minutes, crank up the heat and add the mushrooms, thyme and parsley. Stir for 5 minutes and add the stock. Simmer on medium heat for another 5 minutes.
In a small saucepan, on low heat, melt the butter and stir in the flour. Whisk the milk into the roux (the mix of butter and flour) making sure not to leave any clumps. Mix the bechamel you just made with the mushrooms and add the peas. You should have a thick mixture. Pour into a mold of any size, it can be individual portions or larger.
Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick and put on top of your molds. Brush the top with a beaten egg, cut a hole in the middle and cook at 375F for 30 minutes, or until the crust is crispy and golden.