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In the realm of comforting homemade meals, few dishes can rival the heartwarming appeal of a Chicken Dinner Pie made from scratch. Picture this: a golden, flaky crust encasing a flavorful medley of tender chicken, mixed vegetables, and savory gravy, all melding together to create a delightful culinary masterpiece. But what elevates this dish to a whole new level of satisfaction is its ingenious use of leftovers. By repurposing yesterday’s roasted chicken and any vegetables you might have, you not only minimize food waste but also create a meal that is as practical as it is delicious.
There’s something inherently calming about the process of transforming humble leftovers into a comforting pie. As you chop, sauté, and stir, the kitchen fills with familiar aromas, evoking memories of family gatherings and cozy Sunday dinners. The rhythmic motion of preparing the dish can be incredibly therapeutic, allowing you to focus your energy on a creative culinary endeavor. The act of cooking, especially when it involves a cherished recipe like Chicken Dinner Pie, has the power to soothe the mind and alleviate stress. It becomes a form of self-care, an opportunity to lose yourself in the simple joy of creating something delightful from scratch.
Using leftovers not only adds convenience to your meal preparation but also enhances the depth of flavors in your Chicken Dinner Pie. A purchased roasted chicken, already infused with its own unique seasoning, imparts a rich taste to the filling. The vegetables, whatever you might have on hand, add layers of complexity to the dish. As you take that first bite, you’re greeted with a symphony of flavors that tell a story of resourcefulness and creativity. It’s a reminder that good food doesn’t have to be complicated – sometimes, the most satisfying meals are born from simplicity and a dash of ingenuity.
Beyond the gastronomic delights, there’s a profound sense of accomplishment that comes with creating a Chicken Dinner Pie from scratch, using leftovers in a way that not only respects the ingredients but also honors the tradition of home-cooked meals. In a world that often moves too fast, taking the time to cook and savor a homemade dish can be a transformative experience. So, the next time you find yourself with leftover chicken and vegetables, consider embracing the comforts of a Chicken Dinner Pie. Allow the process of cooking to envelop you in its therapeutic embrace, and relish in the delightful outcome – a warm, comforting pie that not only nourishes your body but also nurtures your soul.
Savory Chicken Dinner Pie
1 hour, 40 minutes
1 hour, 10 minutes
2 hours, 50 minutes
- 9-inch deep dish pie or tart pan
- 4-quart stock pot, small saucepan
- rolling pin, pastry mat, cut-outs for decorating if using
- foil or parchment paper
- pie weights/baking ceramic beads/or dried beans/rice
- Flaky All-Butter Pastry (Crust):
- • 3 cups (400 g) all-purpose flour
- • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- • 2½ sticks unsalted butter (283g), chilled
- • about 1 cup (227g) of ice water
- • OR 2 store-bought (rolled Pillsbury suggested) flakey crust sheets [blind-baked]
- • If decorating with cutouts, make or have more dough on hand
- Chicken Dinner Filling:
- • 6 tablespoons butter
- • 1 yellow onion, sliced (about 130 g)
- • 4 cloves garlic, minced
- • 1/2 cup (60 g) all-purpose flour
- • 2 cups chicken stock (250 g)
- • 1 cup (225 g) milk or half and half
- • 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
- • 1 teaspoon ground pepper, or to taste
- • 4 cups (about 500 g) sliced potatoes (4 – 5 Yukon Gold potatoes)
- • 2 cups (about 4 – 6 peeled) sliced carrots
- • 1 cup chopped or snapped 1 inch segments of fresh green beans
- • 2 – 4 cups cooked shredded or chopped chicken (I used left over Roaster chicken!)
- • 4 teaspoons fresh rosemary, thyme and sage combined – Poultry mix herbs. (or 2 teaspoons TOTAL of dried herbs)
- Make the Flaky Pastry
- 1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
- 2. Prepare about 1 cup (227g) of ice water and set it aside.
- 3. Add the butter to the bowl with the dry ingredients and toss with your clean hands, separating the pieces and coating them in the flour mixture.
- 4. Use your fingertips to squish the pieces of butter into smaller bits.
- 5. Make a well in the center of the bowl and add 2⁄3 cup (158g) of ice water.
- 6. Toss with a fork to distribute the water until you have a clumpy mixture with lots of dry spots.
- 7. Tip the contents of the bowl out onto a clean work surface.
- 8. Use the straight edge of a bench or bowl scraper to chop up the mixture directly on the surface, breaking up the clumps and pieces of butter and periodically using the scraper to toss and push the mixture back into a pile.
- 9. Continue to chop and toss the mixture until it’s broken down into small, uniform pieces with very few floury spots and the butter pieces are no larger than a pea (this process helps you bring the dough together without working it excessively, increasing tenderness).
- 10. Bring the dough together: Push the mixture into a pile and squeeze it with your hands all over so it holds together in large pieces.
- 11. Depending on your brand of butter and flour, the entire mixture might hold together without any dry spots—if that’s the case, skip to the next step.
- 12. If you still have some floury areas, move any large pieces to one side, leaving the dry bits in the pile.
- 13. Drizzle ½ tablespoon of ice water over the floury area, then use the bench scraper in the same chopping motion to evenly distribute the water.
- 14. Squeeze to bring it together, moving the pieces to the side, then repeat with more ice water as needed until no dry flour remains on the surface.
- 15. Stack the dough: Use your hands to pat the dough firmly into a square, then use a floured rolling pin to flatten the square until it’s ¾ inch thick. Pat around the four sides with your hands or the side of the scraper to square off and compact the dough, then use the flat edge of the scraper or a knife to cut the dough in half. Lift one half up (again, using the scraper to help) and place it directly on top of the other. Use the scraper to lift the stack of dough and dust underneath with more flour, then roll over it with the pin to flatten and lengthen it slightly, dusting the top with flour if needed to prevent sticking. Cut the dough in half again, this time crosswise, and stack the halves again.
- 16. Divide and shape the dough: Working quickly, use the scraper to loosen the dough from the surface and dust underneath and on top with more flour, then flatten it with the rolling pin into a long rectangle measuring ¾ inch thick. Cut the rectangle in half crosswise to make 2 equal pieces.
- 17. Use the heel of your hand to round off any corners and press the pieces into a disk shape.
- 18. Wrap and chill the dough: Wrap each piece in plastic or reusable food wrap.
- 19. Roll over the wrapped pieces with the rolling pin to flatten the dough and force it to fill out the plastic or food wrap (applying this pressure will help prevent cracking later). Chill the pieces until they’re very cold and firm, at least 2 hours.
- 20. OR…use store-bought frozen or ready-to-use dough.
- After the dough has chilled:
- 1. Roll out chilled and rested dough (2 portions, or the entire amount from the recipe above) to a 15 -inch circle. ( I used a deep dish pie, measure your pan and it should have a 1 inch overhang)
- 2. Carefully move the rolled-out dough to your pie pan, and gently fit the dough into the pan, gently coaxing it to fit without stretching it, leaving the excess overhanging the edges.
- 3. Using clean kitchen shears, trim any excess dough from the overhang, leaving 1 inch over the top of the pan.
- 4. Carefully fold this 1-inch overhang under to create a clean edge.
- 5. Crimp the edge, being sure to anchor it to the top of the pan edges. (You want the edges to stay straight and leave you enough room for the filling)
- 6. After the edge has been crimped, put the pan into the refrigerator, chill, and let rest for at least 30 minutes (or longer) until the dough is cold and set.
- 7. Preheat your oven to 350°.
- 8. Remove the chilled sheet with dough from the refrigerator, and dock the dough with a fork, pricking small holes over the entire base of the crust.
- 9. Using aluminum foil or parchment paper, completely cover the entire crust, carefully manipulating it into the corners. (Use 2 sheets of overlapping foil if you have to)
- 10. Make sure the foil is pressed carefully against the cold dough to help keep the crust from falling while baking.
- 11. Add baking ceramic beads or dried beans to the top of the foil to aid in keeping the crust from puffing up.
- 12. Bake at 350° for 15 – 18 minutes to par-bake the bottom crust, avoid over browing the edges. When removing the foil/weights, it should look dry but not brown.
- 13. Remove par-baked pastry from the oven and set aside.
- 14. OR…use store-bought frozen or ready-to-use dough, roll out 2 sheets to the same size as above, crimp, dock, chill, cover, and blind bake according to the directions on its packaging.
- For Chicken Dinner Filling:
- 1. In a large 4-quart pot, melt 3 tbsp butter over medium heat. Add onions and cook onions for a few minutes until soft. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.
- 2. In a separate small saucepan, create a rue. Melt 6 tbs butter, and then add the flour to form a thick paste. Cook the rue for a few minutes until it is light golden brown and smells warm and toasty.
- 3. In the large pot with the onions, add half of the rue, and add the chicken stock gradually while whisking, followed by milk or half and half. Season with salt and pepper.
- 4. Add potatoes and carrots and bring to a boil, stirring often. Then add green beans and herbs. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
- 5. Cook this until the gravy is thickened and the potatoes are ‘fork tender’ but not mushy. (about 10 – 15 minutes)
- 6. The gravy should be thick. If it is thin and runs off a spoon easily, add more rue little by little, whisking and bringing the mixture to a boil after each addition of rue until the gravy is thick and luscious.
- 7. Once your vegetable and gravy filling is thick enough, remove it from the heat. Let cool to room temperature.
- 8. While it’s cooling, shred your chicken. Add a layer on the bottom of the par-baked crust. Refrigerate until the vegetables and gravy are cooled down. (to avoid melting the top crust when added, the mixture needs to be cool.)
- 9. Once cooled enough, carefully dump the vegetables and gravy mixture into your 9-inch pie dish, on top of the shredded chicken. Do Not Stir. (If you’re using a smaller pie dish, you’ll have some leftover filling).
- 10. Preheat oven to 400°.
- 11. Roll out pie crust to a rough 10 or 11-inch circle then transfer to the top of your pie dish. Fold edges over and crimp if desired. Brush with an egg wash of whisked egg, and cut small slits into the top for vents. (Decorate with cutouts optional, egg wash those as well)
- 12. Place prepared pie on a sheet pan to catch any drips and bake at 400°F for 35-40 minutes until crust is golden. Depending on how thick your gravy is, the filling may or may not bubble through the sides or through the vents.
- 13. Let rest for about 10-15 minutes, then serve.
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