I recently read an article that identified the top comfort foods in America based on the results of a poll. A few of the dishes that made the grade startled me. Gelatin? Tuna casserole? But it didn’t surprise me in the least that chicken pot pie was ranked well up the list of comfort food favorites. It certainly is a popular main course in my family, particularly during the fall and winter months.
I love chicken pot pie any old which way, even when made entirely from leftovers (yes, I do that too). However, in this recipe I set out to develop a more “luxe” version of the dish, well suited to a Sunday family dinner or when company is expected. Here white wine, mushrooms, leeks, artichoke hearts, fresh thyme, and parmesan cheese add new flavor notes to this favorite one-dish meal without adding to the cook’s time needed to assemble or bake it.
For the filling:
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
3 medium leeks, well rinsed and dark green leaves removed
1/2 cup baby carrots
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons fresh (or 3/4 teaspoon dried) thyme leaves
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
12 ounces fresh mushrooms (I used creminis), halved or quartered if large
1/2 cup sliced red bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
3 tablespoons flour
(Optional) 2 tablespoons cream or half-and-half
1 cup frozen or canned artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
For the topping:
An 8″ x 12″ rectangle of prepared puff pastry dough, thawed
1 egg white mixed with 1 teaspoon water in a bowl
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon fresh (or 1/4 teaspoon dried) thyme
- Combine the chicken, leeks, carrots, broth, wine, and thyme in a saucepan and simmer for approximately eight to ten minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Transfer the chicken, leeks, and carrots to a plate. When they are cool enough to handle, tear the chicken into pieces and cut the leeks into one-inch lengths. Reserve the broth for later use in this recipe.
- In a large frying pan, sauté the mushrooms and bell peppers in the oil on medium-high heat, stirring often, until lightly browned. Reduce the heat to medium, add the garlic and flour, stir in well until no flour lumps remain, and sauté for an additional minute. Add the cooked chicken, leeks, and carrots.
- Gradually add the reserved broth/wine mixture and optional cream (if the latter is used), stirring continuously as you do so. Simmer for 5-10 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Gently stir in the artichoke hearts. Taste and correct the seasoning, if needed, by adding salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture into an 8″ x 12″ glass or ceramic baking dish and sprinkle with parmesan.
- Place the puff pastry dough on a work surface lightly dusted with flour. Cut the dough into 12 pieces, as shown in the photo above. Brush the top surface of the dough with the egg white/water mix and sprinkle with the parmesan and thyme. Lay the cut dough on top of the chicken in the baking dish, as shown in the photo above. (See notes below the recipe.)
- Bake at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes until the pastry is cooked through and browned. Serves 6.
Although I prefer to bake the pastry topping in the same pan with the chicken, as described above, I should note that a higher rise can be achieved in the puff pastry by baking it separately on a parchment paper lined baking sheet at the same time as the chicken. If you prefer this option, simply position the cooked pastry on the chicken after baking and then serve.