Chicken pot pie is the definition of comfort food — chicken, gravy and pie crust, all together in one luxurious dish. It’s simple, but when you break down the elements, it can seem overwhelming. The pie crust and gravy alone can strike fear in even an experienced home cook.
In reality, it’s not a difficult or time-consuming dish and, experienced or not, anyone can make a delicious pot pie, even on a weeknight. And especially when you’re making this week’s Broken Crust Harvest Chicken Pot Pie.
In this fall-inspired version of a classic diner dish, sweet potatoes and chopped Swiss chard take the place of the more traditional carrots and peas, giving the dish a sweet, earthy autumn-like feel that makes it perfect for a crisp, cool November evening.
The sauce itself starts with onions, sautéed in butter, before flour is added and cooked until coated in the fat. That coating is key to make a silky-smooth gravy, as it prevents the flour from clumping together and creating lumps. Chicken stock is stirred in and cooked before sweet potatoes are simmered in the flavorful sauce until tender. Swiss chard and rotisserie chicken are added, along with a little cream. The whole filling takes less than 30 minutes.
An herb-flecked, flaky crust is the buttery crown on top of our skillet pot pie. It’s easy to make and can be chilled before baking while you’re pulling together the rest of the ingredients.
While a pastry-topped pot pie is a wonderful thing, it’s not without its problems. To get that lovely flaky texture, you have to cool down the filling first and that takes time. That’s because if the butter in the dough melts before the crust is baked, the layers that make the crust flaky won’t form and you won’t get that delicate texture that makes pie crust so great.
Also, if the pot pie has to sit for a while before serving, the crust can get soggy — and a soggy crust is a letdown, to say the least.
To avoid both issues and take the stress out of the process, I simply roll the pie crust out, put it on a baking sheet (no crimping necessary) and bake it on its own, until it’s golden brown. Then I break it up and either arrange the pieces artfully on the top of the hot filling or spoon the filling into a bowl and set a couple of pieces of crust on top.
That’s a particularly helpful option if the pie isn’t going to be eaten all at once. The crust can be stored separately and reheated in the oven to recrisp, then used to top the reheated filling. The result is leftover pot pie that still has a crispy, just-baked tasting topping. No more soggy crust. What can be more comforting than that?
Meredith Deeds is a cookbook author and food writer from Edina. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Instagram at @meredithdeeds.