I would not be surprised at all to learn that there’s a rule here in the South (Even if I am rather SXSW) that when it comes to comfort food, pot pie is it. Go into the freezer section of the grocery store and there’s an entire section with at least four different brands of pre-made pot pies. They’re even regularly found on the menu of restaurants such as Marie Callender’s. If you go over and do a search at MyRecipes.com you’ll quickly see that eight out of the first fifteen chicken pot pie recipes were from Southern Living magazine, making them a regular staple of the magazine’s repertoire.
This, however? This is not your grandma’s chicken pot pie.
I’ll be upfront. I luuuuuvs me some Alton Brown. There was a time when I couldn’t stand him, when his antics grated on my nerves. The Mr. Wizard of the FoodNetwork eventually grew on me though, sort of like moss. A dear friend was constantly watching him when I was over, and he and I and his wife would inevitably get into debates about ingredients and techniques. And so it is that I came to stumble upon Alton Brown’s Chicken Curry Pot Pie. While we might both be from the south, however, Alto and I have one major difference of opinion when it comes to pot pies – he uses puff pastry. For me, the only way to go is with a traditional pie crust.
In one of the most ironic moments I’ve had lately, I got a hankering to try this and found out that I, who had no less than 20 pounds of flour in the house, seemingly had nothing appropriate to baking a pie crust in the pantry. Bread flour would result in a tough crust, and the two types of rye were just right out. Spelt I pondered for but a moment before espying my King Arthur Flour White Whole Wheat. I cannot, in good conscience, recommend using any other wheat flour. This is a MUCH finer texture than most whole wheat flours and the sometimes bitter taste that others have is completely lacking. You won’t even notice that this pie crust is made with whole wheat flour.
Here’s my adapted version.
2 cup Peas, Frozen
2 cup Carrots, Frozen
1 cup Onions, Sweet — chopped
1 1/2 cup Stock, Chicken
3 tbsp Flour, White
2 tsp Curry Powder (As hot as you like! I used Sweet)
3 tbsp Butter
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
10 oz Chicken — cubed (Roughly 2 cups, lightly packed)
2 1/4 cup (9 1/4oz) King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour
3/4 tsp Salt
12 tbsp Water
2/3 cup Shortening
Combine white whole wheat flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut in the shortening using a pastry cutter or two knives. Work the shortening in until it is reduced to pea-sized bits. Sprinkle 1T of water at a time over the flour mixture and fluff with a fork. Move moistened dough balls that form off to the side and repeat until all dough is moist and can be pressed into a ball that will crack slightly when pressed.
Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. While the dough is chilling, make the filling.
Remove dough from the refrigerator, divide into two portions and roll out into two 9-10″ discs on a floured pastry cloth or counter. To transfer your dough to the pan, roll it around your rolling pin and then unroll into a lightly greased pie tin.
Once the bottom crust is in the pan, add the warm filling and then cover with the top round of dough. Trim the excess dough and then crimp the two layers sealed with pinched fingers or press them together with a fork. Dock the center of the top crust several times to allow steam to vent.
Place frozen vegetables in a microwave-safe bowl and thaw in microwave. Do not fully cook them, just bring them up to slightly warm.
In a large pan or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of canola. Add the onion and a pinch of salt to sweat the onion. Cook, stirring frequently, until glossy and translucent.
While the onion is sweating combine chicken stock and milk in a 2 C microwaveable measuring cup. Heat for about 2-3 minutes until hot, but not boiling.
Once onions are done, push them to the side and melt the butter. Once the butter is melted add the flour and curry powder. Stir onions back in and cook for 1-2 more minutes, stirring constantly. Once flour has had a chance to toast slightly whisk in the warmed milk and chicken stock. Continue to whisk until the mixture begins to thicken to a gravy-like consistency. Add the peas, carrots, and cubed chicken and stir to combine. Let the mixture heat through thoroughly and then remove from burner and set aside, covered, while rolling out your dough.
Once pie is assembled, bake at 350F for approximately 20 minutes, until the crust is a deep golden brown and the inside is warm and bubbly. Remove the pot pie from the oven and allow to set for about 10 minutes.
450 calories, 27g fat, 36g carbohydrate, 7g fiber
It’s pie. With gravy. If you’re doing the healthy diet thing count this as your splurge for the day and eat lighter at the other two meals. It’s worth it.