No surprises here: the main ingredient in a chicken pot pie is chicken. And the best part about making an easy chicken pot pie is that you can use all kinds of different chicken to make it.
Chicken pot pie is a great way to use up leftover cooked chicken. I always have a lot of leftovers after roasting a chicken, and I love making a homemade chicken pot pie with them.
If you don't have leftovers, you can cook chicken to make your pot pie.
You can boil chicken until it's cooked through. For chicken breasts or cubed chicken pieces, it might take 20 minutes or so. A whole chicken might take a little longer.
The nice thing about boiling is that you can use the cooking water as a broth in your cream sauce.
You can also bake chicken in the oven. Just place lightly seasoned chicken on a baking sheet and cook it for 30 to 40 minutes at 375F, or until it's cooked through.
You could also grill or pan-fry chicken. The only reason I'd say to avoid it is that it gives the chicken a crusty outside, which might not blend in the sauce as well.
Once you have your cooked chicken, you can cut it up into cubes or chop it very finely. There's no right size - just chop the chicken as fine or as coarse as you like it.
No matter what type of chicken you use, you'll need about 2 to 2 1/2 cups of cubed chicken for a 9" deep dish pie. Use a little more if you prefer a very chicken-y pot pie, and less if you'd rather have more vegetables.
That's about a pound of cooked chicken, and a bit more if you're starting with raw chicken — it loses weight as it cooks.
Remember, the measurements really don't need to be exact. A chicken pot pie is super flexible, and you can add more or less chicken to suit your tastes.
Chicken might be the main ingredient, but most chicken pot pies have a lot of vegetables in them, too. Here are a few possibilities.
It's hard to imagine a chicken pot pie without onion. You can do it, but onion adds so much flavor. You can chop it up very fine if you prefer not to have noticeable onion pieces, but you can also leave it coarse if you prefer.
Carrots and celery also go great in any easy chicken pot pie. You can leave them in thin slices if you like chunkier veggies, or chop them up really fine.
A few cloves of garlic can add a ton of flavor, too. Some other veggies you can use are peas, corn, pearl onions, and mushrooms.
Another popular vegetable for an easy chicken pot pie is potatoes. Cubed bits of cooked potatoes add a bit of texture to the filling.
You'll need about 3 cups of cooked vegetables for a 9&148; pie. You can easily add more or less though, to suit your tastes.
Now, before you put your vegetables into your easy chicken pot pie filling, you need to cook them. They'll be in the oven for a while, but usually it turns out better if the vegetables have had a chance to soften a bit. Again, you have options.
Some veggies can be boiled for a few minutes to soften them, like carrots, celery, peas, and corn. You can boil potatoes, too, but they'll probably take a little bit longer, up to 15 minutes for bigger chunks.
Some veggies are best if you saute them in a bit of oil, like mushrooms, onions, and garlic. Just heat a bit of oil over medium heat, and saute the veggies until the onions start to become translucent and soft.
Some veggies are good either boiled or sauteed, like carrots and celery.
Once your vegetables are cooked a bit, they're ready for your easy chicken pot pie!
The chicken and vegetables give a lot of the flavor to our easy chicken pot pie, but we're still missing a key element: the cream sauce.
The cream sauce is what blends the chicken and vegetables together, and it's what makes a chicken pot pie so comforting, warm, and creamy.
Making the cream sauce isn't hard. It's made up of four basic ingredients: butter, flour, milk and chicken stock.
For a deep dish pie, you'll need about 4 cups of cool liquids. If you're worried, you can always add a bit more. If you have extra filling, you can always have it with toast or pastry puffs.
You can use any combination of milk and chicken stock for your liquids. More milk will make it creamier, and more stock will make it more flavorful. I like to use 1 1/2 cups of milk and 2 1/2 cups of stock.
For extra flavor, you can add a few tablespoons of white wine or sherry to the liquids.
You'll need butter and flour to thicken the sauce. For each cup of liquid, try a tablespoon of butter, and two tablespoons of flour. So for four cups of liquid, that means a 1/4 of a cup of butter and half a cup of flour.
Here's how you make it:
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium low heat. Add in the flour, and whisk it until it has the texture of smooth, wet sand.
If it's much too thick, you can always add a bit more butter.
Let the mixture bubble for 5 or 6 minutes, until it loses the raw flour smell and starts to turn golden.
The longer it cooks, the less it will thicken your sauce, but it'll give a nice, nutty flavor.
Slowly add the liquids, whisking constantly to keep the mixture smooth. It'll thicken very quickly, and if you don't whisk you'll get floury lumps.
You'll get better results if the liquids are cool when you add them in. It won't clump as much.
Let the sauce simmer for 10 minutes or so, whisking occasionally to keep it smooth.
Once the cream sauce is done, you can add in your cooked chicken, vegetables and seasonings. And you're almost done with your easy chicken pot pie!
The last ingredients in a delicious, easy chicken pot pie are the seasonings. I think that the best part of a homemade chicken pot pie is its simplicity, so I don't like to add a lot of different seasonings. But there are lots of choices out there that'll give you awesome results.
You can use salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, tarragon, celery seed, parsley, cayenne pepper... different spices will give a slightly different taste to the pie. Just use a spice that you like and you're sure to get good results.
I recommend adding the seasonings to the filling last. Add in a bit at a time, and taste. You can always add more seasonings if you want, but it's a lot harder to take seasonings out of your filling.
When I think of an easy chicken pot pie, I see a traditional 2-crust pie: a crust on the bottom, the delicious creamy chicken filling, and another crust on top. But there are lots of different types of chicken pot pie. Here are a few options:
Some chicken pot pies don't have a bottom crust. Just fill a large baking dish, or several small individual sized dishes, with the creamy chicken filling. Then, cover the dish with a pie crust rolled to size.
My favorite chicken pot pie is a 2-crust pie. Just line a baking dish with a pie crust, fill it with the chicken filling, and place another pie crust on top. Crimp the edges together, and bake!
Another option is to use biscuits as the crust. Just fill a dish with the homemade chicken pot pie filling, and top it with some biscuit dough.
Really, you can use any kind of crust-type thing you like. Phyllo pastry is another option for an easy chicken pot pie.
If you're using pie crusts, be sure to cut some slits in the top crust for steam to vent.
Pick a method that's most convenient for you. If you can saute all the veggies, then you can do that in the same pan you plan to make your sauce in. But if some need to boil, why not just boil all of them, for convenience?
Onions usually need to be sauteed. If you plan on boiling all the other veggies, you can saute the onions in the butter, and make the cream sauce over them. It's not my favorite method, because I feel the onions make it harder to get the sauce smooth, but it's definitely convenient.
Add the chicken, vegetables and seasonings to your cream sauce, and let it simmer 10 minutes or so.
Line a pie plate with a pie crust. Fill it with the homemade chicken pot pie filling. Cover with a second pie crust, and crimp the edges of the crusts together.
Bake in an oven preheated to 375F until the crust is golden brown, about 45 minutes or so.
Let the pie cool for at least 10 minutes. The filling needs time to set a little after you take it out of the oven.
Sometimes, the bottom crust doesn't get crispy — it just gets soggy from the filling. There are a few things you can do to help.
Pre-bake the bottom crust before adding the filling. Prick the crust with a fork to prevent it from bubbling and buckling, and then line it with foil or parchment paper. Scatter some pie weights or dried beans to keep the crust flat. Then bake it for 10 minutes or so in an oven preheated to 400F.
Baking the pie on the bottom rack in your oven can help, too. It'll take longer for the top crust to brown, giving the bottom crust more time to cook through.
These instructions are for a 2-crust pie, but the idea is the same no matter what type of crust you use. The filling is cooked, so you only need to bake the pie until the crust is the perfect golden color you want.
To help the crust become a nice, rich, golden brown, there are a few tricks you can use.
Brush the crust with a beaten egg. It'll give the crust a crisp, brown, shiny finish.
You can also brush the crust with milk or cream. You'll get the same crisp brown color, without the shine.
And that's how you make a yummy, easy chicken pot pie. Enjoy!