I finally have a skillet recipe on my blog! Having bought it close to two years ago, I always thought I’d be sharking a cookie or a cake recipe first. But since I am way beyond fashionably late to the skillet party, I have a chicken pie recipe for you. I’ve been holding off sharing this recipe waiting for the weather to be pie perfect. Last year, this time it was pouring heavily. I would know because it caused quite some damage to my (only proper) Curry Leaf Plant. This last week has been pretty warm for Dubai winter. But not too warm to bake a pie.
There’s probably not a single recipe that involves chicken my husband wouldn’t say no to. He can have it 7 days a week which means I’ve probably cooked chicken more than you would have in the last 7 years. If you, too, have cooked chicken that frequently, you’d know that a lot of flavor lies in the bone. That’s true for most meat.
One thing I learnt from this recipe is making chicken stock. I don’t know where the idea of stock taking hours to come together was planted in my head. You could use store bought chicken stock to speed things up. I would avoid using the cubes. For this particular recipe, I like to use a whole chicken, skinned and cleaned with sea salt. I roughly chop it into chunks. It goes into a pot with all the herbs sitting in my pantry, the odd carrot tops and celery stalks and lots of fresh water. Be very generous with the salt. If I’m in a rush, I add the vegetables that I would be adding to the pie later at this stage. All of this is brought to a rolling boil and then brought down to simmer for a little less than an hour. Once the stock is done and cooled, the meat can easily be pulled off the bones. A lot more flavor is packed into the cooked meat on the bone in comparison to cooking a tray of chicken breast. Again, if you’re in a rush, that would be just fine because the chicken needs to be sautéed in melted butter. Right after a handful of cloves have browned. There’s nothing caramelized garlic in brown butter can’t fix.
For the record, I haven’t eaten a pot pie ever. I’ve wanted to make puff pastry from scratch before attepting to use it for this recipe. However, given the labour and love it requires, I’ve been putting it off to make chocolate croissants with my main man, since forever. You know, like Meryl Streep in ‘It’s Complicated.’ The right time just hasn’t come. Now we have a little one and since he absolutely loves cooking in the kitchen, I should make it happen pretty soon. For now, I’ve used store bought puff pastry to encase the chicken pie. I made this first with my darling niece Nazneen when she came over. I’d only worked with puff pastry squares during the Ramdan/annual frying baking month. Rolling out a sheet of puff pastry was far less intimidating than I had made it out to be. I was careful stretching it over the pie filling, praying it wouldn’t tear. But we had quite a bit of dough left to make these cute little pastry flowers. Nazneen and Ali worked with the cookie cutters chattering away. It brought back memories of baking cookies and chocolate cakes Nazneen when she was Ali’s age. I was probably a bit misty eyed while brushing the egg wash on top.
Feel free to add whatever vegetables you’d like. I do the basic onions, carrots and corn. Both my boys wouldn’t be pleased about mushrooms or broccoli. You could add those and sweet peas, spinach or even beet leaves. That’s my current favourite from the Farmers’ Market. Those and these deceptively fiery red colored sweet chili peppers. Whatever you add, just make sure there is enough room for the chicken too.
You really don’t need a skillet to bake this recipe. Having one just means it goes straight into the oven once the filling is cooked. You might want to add a dash of Tobasco or chili flakes if you like your spice. I add freshly ground pepper because that’s the level of heat Ali can handle right now. It goes without saying this pie tastes the best straight from the oven. You still want to cut through the buttery flaky layers along with with a spoonful of warm pie.
Skillet Chicken Pot Pie
- Cooked Chicken from stock [See NOTE below] OR Chicken breast - 500 g cut into small cubes
- Garlic Cloves - 6
- Onion - 1 small chopped finely
- Carrot - 1 diced
- Sweet Corn Kernels - 1 cup
- Mushroom - ¼ cup diced
- Peas - ½ cup (optional)
- Chopped Parsley - a handful
- Butter - 4 tbsp
- Full fat Milk - 1 cup
- All purpose flour - ¼ cup
- Chicken stock - 1½ cup [See NOTE below]
- Heavy cream - ¼ cup
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese - ½ cup
- Thawed Puff Pastry - as required
- Egg wash - 1 egg beaten well with 1 tbsp of milk
- Seasoning - as required
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade.
- Chop the garlic cloves roughly.
- In a skillet or a saucepan, melt a tablespoon of butter.
- Add the garlic and sautee until golden.
- Add the cut chicken and salt and pepper.
- Cook the chicken on a medium-high flame stirring often ensuring chicken does not burn.
- Roughly shred the cooked chicken with a spatula.
- Heat a cast iron skillet and melt the butter.
- Quickly tip in the onion and sauté till they turn glassy.
- Lower the heat and add the flour.
- Whisk it constantly for 2 minutes.
- Turn the heat up and pour in the chicken stock in three parts.
- Whisk generously with each additional pour of chicken stock.
- Stir well till it thickens, breaking down any lumps that form.
- Add the heavy cream and stir well.
- Pour in the milk and stir well. Add seasoning as required.
- Add the shredded cheese and stir till it has completely melted and the sauce becomes smooth.
- Tip in the vegetables and shredded chicken and mix well.
- Taste and add seasoning if required.
- Add the chopped parsley, give it a quick stir and take off heat.
Cast Iron Baking Instructions
- Roll out puff pastry roughly to the size of the skillet.
- Press down over the rim of the skillet firmly and remove the excess.
- Make three small slits through the pastry in the center.
- Brush the top of the pastry lightly with the egg wash.
- Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes till the pastry is puffy and golden.
Baking Dish Instructions
- Spoon the chicken mixture into a baking dish or individual ramekins.
- If you're using a ramekin, place a puff pastry square on top, press firm over the sides and remove the excess.
- Bake in the oven for 15 minutes OR till pastry is puffy and golden.
- If you're using a baking dish, arrange puff pastry squares OR rolled puff pastry sheet, press firm over the sides and trim the excess.
- Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes OR till pastry is puffy and golden.
- This is how I make chicken stock for this recipe. I buy one kilo of cut chicken pieces with their skin removed. I add carrot, dried basil and rosemary, ground pepper and salt. In a stock pot or sauce pan, add the chicken and a liter of water. Bring to boil and the cover with lid for 20 minutes and then remove lid and boil for 5 minutes. Pour out the chicken stock into a jug. Separate the boiled chicken from the bones and cook it following the instructions above.
Have a good food day.