Chicken pot pie makes me melt.
Not like that’s uncommon or anything. I think everyone liquefies into a pool of happiness when they encounter creamy chicken inside of a flaky pie crust.
But for me, food is about memories.
The bites and aromas that enchant me the most are those that trigger something familiar. And everyone’s flavor inventories are undeniably unique.
If you grew up in a Southern family, the buttery perfume of biscuits rising in the oven might make you cry. If you were a city kid, the sizzling sounds of pepperoni and the smell of dough charring in a wood-burning oven will probably pull you straight back to your childhood.
For me, chicken pot pie is one of those dishes that draws me right back home. But not for the reason you may think.
Ironically, my dad, the highly skilled head chef in our family, never made it at home.
His love for cooking inspired mine, and together we would create luscious crab cakes, grilled lemony swordfish, rosemary garlic chicken, and more.
But never chicken pot pie.
My fixation with this flaky-crusted savory pie actually came from a fast casual chain restaurant. With a drive-thru, nonetheless.
Weird, I know.
Although I grew up in a very food-centric family where everything was made from scratch and prepared with love, many of my fondest food memories came from random edible experiences outside of our house.
My mom would pick me up every day after school, and along with that typically came a mid-afternoon meal.
Occasionally, she would shuffle me and a backseat full of friends to our favorite nearby bagel shop for turkey, muenster, and honey mustard-loaded sandwiches. Sometimes it was to the cafe for chicken salad on sourdough bread.
And on the hungriest of days, it was to the drive-thru for chicken pot pies and plastic tubs of creamed spinach.
These meals didn’t have to be homemade for them to have an impact on me. When I took a crack at this old-fashioned pot pie recipe in my own kitchen, I was instantly taken back to those cozy days in my mom’s car.
I knew that the best way to pay homage to those drive-thru dining days was to start from the stock up.
In a hurry, snagging a rotisserie chicken and some boxed broth from the grocery store will save you some time (and definitely some dishes). But if you’re truly in the mood for scratch-made comfort food, take the extra time to boil the split chicken breasts and leek tops for the stock.
The puffy golden crust encases the decadent, creamy filling like a mama bear holding onto her baby. The leeks offer a mild oniony flavor and the parsley brings a fresh, herbaceous note to the luxurious sauce. Peas are optional because, well, peas.
You could also certainly go for a pre-packaged pie crust, but if you’re already preparing everything else, why not go for the full homemade homerun?
You’ll thank me.Print
Kick it into comfort mode with this dreamy chicken pot pie. Its flaky crust and velvety filing will make your insides happy.
- 2 large split bone-in chicken breasts
- 4 large cloves garlic
- 2 large leeks, stems reserved and white and light green parts sliced
- 1 dried bay leaf
- Coarse salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup half-and-half
- 1/3 cup frozen peas (optional)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Homemade pie crust
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- Add the chicken breasts, garlic, leek stems, and bay leaf to a large stockpot over medium-high heat and cover with water. Bring to a simmer, and cook until the poultry is fully cooked through, about 25-30 minutes. Using tongs, remove the chicken breasts and set them aside to cool.
- Remove and shred the meat, set it aside, and return the bones to the pot. Boil until the liquid has reduced by about half. Strain the stock, season with salt and pepper, return to the pot, and keep warm on the stove over low heat.
- In a large pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the sliced leeks, celery, carrots, and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Sweat the mixture until the onions are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the flour, and stir for 2 minutes.
- Add 1 cup of the warm stock to the sauce, turn the heat up to medium, and continue stirring until the mixture has thickened. Add the half-and-half, and fold in the shredded chicken, peas, and fresh parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Add the pot pie filling to a 10-inch pie plate and lay your homemade crust over the top. Cut several slits in the crust and brush it with the beaten egg.
- Bake until the filling is bubbly and the crust is golden brown, about 35-40 minutes.
- Category: Chicken
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Comfort Food
Keywords: comfort food, chicken, pot pie
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Make Crust and Stock
If you haven’t already and you plan to make it from scratch, prepare your pie crust.
I prefer to go homemade for this, to get the flakiest, most buttery results possible. I’ve found the quickest and easiest way to do this is in my food processor. But if you’re feeling very short on time, feel free to use a store bought dough if you like.
This pie does not have a bottom crust, so you will just need to defrost the dough and roll it out so it’s ready to go when you need to place it on top of the pot pie filling.
Rinse the leeks really well under running water to get rid of any grit and dirt.
Bring to a simmer, and cook until the poultry is fully cooked through. Using tongs, remove the chicken breasts and set them aside to cool.
Remove and shred the meat and return the bones to the pot. Boil until the liquid has reduced by about half. Strain the stock, season with salt and pepper, return to the pot, and keep warm.
Step 2 – Saute the Vegetables
In a large pan, melt the unsalted butter over medium-low heat.
Add the leeks, celery, carrots, and thyme, and season with salt and pepper.
Sweat the mixture until the onions are soft and translucent.
Step 3 – Make the Roux and Creamy Filling Mixture
Reduce the heat to low, add the all-purpose flour, and stir for 2 minutes.
Add 1 cup of the warm stock to the sauce, turn the heat up to medium, and continue stirring until the mixture has thickened. If you have any stock left over, you can save it for another use.
Add the half-and-half, and fold in the shredded poultry, peas, and fresh parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Step 4 – Fill and Cover
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Add the pot pie filling to a 10-inch pie plate and lay your crust over the top.
Use your fingers to crimp the edges. Cut several slits in the top and brush it with the beaten egg.
Step 5 – Bake
Bake until the filling is bubbly and the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
I Would Nap in this Pot Pie
Creamy chicken soup nestled inside of a flaky, golden pie crust? Sign me up. I can’t imagine a better way to spend an afternoon than building a masterpiece that I get to eat.
Looking for ways to enhance this old-fashioned classic? Try folding some meaty shiitakes into the mix, changing up the herbs, or stirring in some spinach for an added boost of nutrition.
For more comfort food that will make you want to lick the plate, check out these soothing eats:
What are your go-to sides to balance out a decadent dish like this? Mixed greens with a light, simple vinaigrette? String beans with lemon? Share your freshest sidecars in the comments below! And don’t forget to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it.
Photos by Fanny Slater, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on June 17, 2012. Last updated: December 31, 2019 at 4:52 am.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Fanny Slater
Fanny Slater is a home-taught food enthusiast based in Wilmington, North Carolina who won the “Rachael Ray Show” Great American Cookbook Competition in 2014, and published her cookbook “Orange, Lavender & Figs” in 2016. Fanny is a food and beverage writer, recipe developer, and social media influencer. She was a co-host on the Food Network series “Kitchen Sink,” was featured on Cooking Channel’s longtime popular series “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” and continues to appear regularly on the “Rachael Ray Show.”