“I cannot make enough chicken pot pies. Regulars call on Tuesday mornings to reserve a pie, forcing me to erase them from the Tuesday specials board before we open for lunch. I keep doubling the number I make, but the demand grows to meet the expanded supply. I’m about to have a line out the door waiting for pot pies.”–Rebecca Rather, The Pastry Queen

I won’t lie. Usually when Jeff asks for chicken pot pie, I pick up a Marie Callender’s from the grocery freezer for him and make something lighter for myself. I love chicken pot pie, but most just sit in your belly, playing Solitaire and watching their stories.

Then I saw a photo of Rebecca Rather’s All-Sold-Out Chicken Pot Pie in her first cookbook, “The Pastry Queen.” Actually, it was a pic of two rows of individual pies, with beautifully misshapen golden crusts.

I NEEDED one. So, out came the pans. And the bowls. And the rolling pin. It was time to get old-school.

One of the nice things about making your own chicken pot pie is being able to control what’s in it. I can’t stand dark meat, so instead of using a whole chicken, I poached three large chicken breasts. Jeff is pickier about vegetables, so I only added his favorites: potatoes, onions, carrots, peas, corn and fresh green beans.

While the vegetables were cooking, I started the sauce: butter, flour, chicken stock, Tabasco. The heavy whipping cream is optional, so I decided to skip it, since the sauce was already nice and thick.

Once you add the sauce to the filling, it’s time to spoon the chicken mixture into 1 1/4-cup capacity oven-safe bowls. NOT ramekins, unless you have many, many, many ramekins or they are very large.

Finally, the crust. I thought it’d be a Labor of Love, but it was actually 30 seconds in the food processor. Roll it 1/4-inch thick, and cut rounds that are 1 1/2 inches bigger in diameter than your bowls. Then drape the dough rounds over the tops of each bowl, and brush them with egg wash.

Since the filling is already fully cooked, the pies only need 20 to 25 minutes in the oven.

The recipe makes six individual pot pies. You could definitely cut it down, but since it requires a significant investment in time, ingredients and dirty dishes, I suggest making the full amount and freezing the extras. According to the cook’s notes, you can double-wrap any unbaked ones in plastic wrap. Then when you’re ready, pop them in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Without the whipping cream and the double-crust, these pot pies taste much lighter than most, and the freshly cooked veggies give the filling much more flavor. I can definitely see (and taste) why regulars call Rebecca Rather to reserve their Tuesday pot pies. I should be marking mine in the freezer right now …

All-Sold Out Chicken Pot Pies

Adapted from Rebecca Rather’s “The Pastry Queen”

Feel free to substitute the vegetables in the recipe for diced carrots, fresh corn kernels, diced turnips, sliced celery, cut-up asparagus spears or sliced wild mushrooms. Just add them to the sauté mix and enjoy.

Yield: 6 servings

    Filling:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium-size yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 purchased cooked rotisserie chicken or 1 whole stewed chicken, cooled
  • 8 ounces fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces (optional)
  • 1 (8-ounce) package frozen peas (optional)
    Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (optional)
  • Dash of hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper
    Crust:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 10 ounces chilled cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 large egg
  1. For the Filling: Melt the butter in a large sauté pan set over medium heat. Add the onion and potato; sauté for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, bell pepper, and mushrooms and sauté about 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Stir in the crushed red pepper and add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. While the vegetables are sautéing, skin the chicken, pull the meat off the bones, and shred the meat or cut into bite-size pieces. Set aside.
  3. Place the green beans in a microwave-safe bowl, and add enough water to cover. Cover the dish and microwave on high power about 10 minutes, until the beans are tender. Drain thoroughly.
  4. Stir the beans, peas, and chicken into the vegetable mixture. Set the filling aside.
  5. For the Sauce: Melt the butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the chicken stock and cook the sauce over medium heat until it thickens to the consistency of a cream soup. Add the cream, hot pepper sauce, and salt and white pepper to taste.
  6. Pour the cream sauce over the chicken filling and stir to combine.
  7. Fill individual 1 1/4-cup capacity oven-safe bowls three-quarters of the way to the top with the creamed chicken filling.
  8. For the Crust: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cut the butter into 16 pieces. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse the butter and flour until crumbly. Add the cream cheese, salt, and white pepper. Continue pulsing just until the dough forms a ball.
  9. Set the dough on a flat surface dusted with flour. Use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thickness. Measure the diameter of the pot pie bowls–mine are about 4 inches across–and cut out dough rounds that are 1 1/2 inches larger in diameter. Whisk the egg in a small bowl. Lay the dough rounds on top of the pot pies, making sure the dough hangs evenly over each bowl. Brush the dough lightly with the beaten egg. Bake the pies for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Serve immediately.