Last week I was invited to participate in KCRW's Pie-a-Day Project, part of the station's Good Food Blog. All summer long, Evan Kleiman – host of KCRW's Piecast and curator of the Pie-a-Day Project – will be posting her pie baking adventures and has asked other bakers, food bloggers (that's where I come in) and chefs to share a personal pie recipe and resulting baking exploits. Super exciting, right? Well, I took some time to seriously weigh my "pie" options. Should I risk being predictable and make a summer fruit pie? Or should I take an interpretive approach and make a pie that's not actually a tried-and-true "pie," like a pot pie? After combing through a ton of my favorite recipes, I decided to try two drastically different recipes – a Curry Chicken Pot Pie and a S'mores pie – and ask a few friends to judge.
Curry Chicken Pot Pie
This curry chicken pot pie is AMAZING. It's got such an incredible base, full of browned Crimini and Chantrelle mushrooms, peas, carrots, celery, onion, thyme and chopped rotisserie chicken. Add in the spicy, earthy curry flavor and the richness of the puff pastry and you've got a total winner, hands down. So why didn't I choose it for the Pie-a-Day project? Simply put, it just doesn't photograph well. A taste-tester/close friend suggested I submit it and call it the "Don't Judge A Pie By Its Crust" or "A Sight For Sore Pies," but I just couldn't do it. My S'mores pie – post coming soon – was equally delicious (homemade marshmallow, anyone?) and beyond gorgeous to look at.
So instead I'm posting the pot pie recipe here, because I KNOW you'll love this. It's become a staple on my recipe circuit and has already been requested for our next dinner party. It's great for groups and freezes really well, so you can make it and wait to bake it. You can even forgo the puff pastry and serve it over rice or quinoa. Or, just forget the rice altogether and eat it with a spoon; the filling is that good. And definitely play with the recipe; if you don't like mushrooms, substitute green beans. Throw in some corn kernels. Add in spicy chipotle seasoning. Make it your own, just like I've done!
Curry Chicken Pot Pie
Makes 6 individual pot pies
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup fresh diced carrots
- 1 cup sliced mixed mushrooms (I used crimini & chanterelles)
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
- 2 cups cubed cooked chicken (I used BBQ rotisserie chicken)
- 5 tablespoons butter, separated
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup milk
- 5 tablespoons flour
- 2-3 teaspoon curry powder
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1 package puff pastry, thawed and unrolled
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water
To make the pot pie filling: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a saute pan over medium heat, heat one tablespoon butter and add the sliced mushrooms. Cook until the liquid has sweat out and they are golden brown. Set aside. Melt one more tablespoon of butter in pan and add chopped carrots and peas. Saute, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden brown. Remove from pan and add to mushroom mixture. Chop chicken into bite-sized chunks and add to mushroom mixture. Dice the thyme and add to mushroom mixture. Stir to combine and set aside.
Saute mushroom mixture until browned. Set aside.
Add chopped chicken to vegetable & thyme mixture. Set aside.
In a saucepan, heat the chicken broth and milk. In another saute pan heat 1 tablespoon of butter and sweat the onion and celery. Add 2 more tablespoons of butter to the celery mix and cook out the water, 2-3 minutes. Add the flour and curry powder and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until vegetables are coated in flour and curry.
In a saute pan, sweat celery and onions.
Measure 2-3 tablespoons of curry, depending on your preference. My curry powder of choice: Spice Islands Curry Powder.
Whisk in the hot milk mixture, stirring constantly until mixture is bubbling and becomes thick. Add parsley, salt and black pepper and stir. Add chicken & browned vegetable mixture and toss until combined. Pour into six small ramekins equally spaced on a cooking sheet.
Whisk in the hot milk mixture until thickened, then add parsley, salt and pepper.
Add chicken and vegetable mixture to pan.
Pour pot pie filling into six small ramekins separated on a cookie sheet.Top each with a circle of puff pastry. Make sure to thaw the puff pastry for about 20-30 minutes before working with it. That way it will be easier to unroll and cut through. If puff pastry gets too doughy and warm, place back in refrigerator for a few moments until firm. Note: When working with the puff pastry, be careful when cutting the toppers. If you cut circles, make sure to press straight down with a cookie cutter or other round shape. Don't use a knife or pizza cutter as the layers of pastry will get locked together and refuse to rise.
Top each ramekin with pastry round. Use the leftover pastry for decorative touches!Whisk one egg and one tablespoon water in small bowl. Using a pastry or silicone brush, gently apply egg mixture to each pastry circle. Place sheet pan with ramekins in oven and cook until puff pastry has browned and the mixture is hot and bubbly, about 25 minutes.