Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie with Savory Crumble Topping

Well hello again!  I've taken another long break - that seems to be a theme around here - but I have been cooking a lot.  We went to California for several weeks for a wedding, Christmas, New Years, etc. so now we're back home and life has returned to normal.  My dear sister Amy got me the new Cook's Illustrated Cookbook - the giant one with over 2000 recipes.  Oh yeah!  So I have already tried four and they have all been terrific!

This one was no exception.  It is comfort food at it's finest!  Amy made something just like this over the break and then I found the recipe in the book and knew I needed to make it.  I have never been a big fan of chicken pot pie, but this is no ordinary pot pie.  It has this amazing crumble topping with cream and Parmesan cheese and the flavors in the filling are absolutely delicious!  It sounds a bit complicated, but everything can be made in the same pot, so it's really not too bad.

In the cookbook they make a special note saying not to leave out the soy sauce and tomato paste, even though they may seem small and inconsequential.  I've never tried it without, but I thought it was delicious so I'll take their word for it!

Chicken Pot Pie with Savory Crumble Topping

1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless, chicken breasts and/or thighs, trimmed
3 c. low-sodium chicken broth
2 T. vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped fine
3 carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4" thick
2 small celery ribs, minced
salt and pepper
10 oz. mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thin
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. tomato paste
4 T. unsalted butter
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. whole milk
2 tsp. lemon juice
3 T. minced fresh parsley (or 1 1/2 T. dried)
3/4 c. frozen peas

2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
6 T. unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" pieces and chilled
1 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated fine (1/2 cup)
3/4 c. + 2 T. heavy cream

For the topping:  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Combine flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne in large bowl.  Sprinkle butter pieces over top of flour.  Using fingers, rub butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse cornmeal.  Stir in Parmesan.  Add cream and stir until just combined.  Crumble mixture into irregularly shaped small pieces onto rimmed baking sheet.  Bake until fragrant and starting to brown, 10-13 minutes.  Set aside.

For the filling:  While topping bakes, Bring chicken and broth to simmer in covered Dutch oven (or large pot or high-sided skillet) and cook until chicken is tender and cooked through, 8-10 minutes.  Transfer chicken to large bowl.  Pour broth through fine-mesh strainer into liquid measuring cup and reserve.  Do not wash pot.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in now-empty pot over medium heat until shimmering.  Add onion, carrots, celery, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 5-7 minutes.  While vegetables are cooking, use 2 forks to shred chicken into bite-size pieces.  Transfer vegetables to bowl with chicken; set aside.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in again-empty pot over medium heat until shimmering.  Add mushrooms; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms have released their liquid, about 5 minutes.  Remove cover and stir in soy sauce and tomato paste.  Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring often, until liquid has evaporated, mushrooms are well browned, and dark fond begins to form on surface of pan, about 5 minutes.  Transfer mushrooms to bowl with chicken and vegetables.  Set aside.

Melt butter in again-empty pot over medium heat.  Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.  Slowly whisk in reserved chicken broth and milk.  Bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits, and cook until sauce thickens, about 1 minute.  Off heat, stir in lemon juice and 2 T. parsley, then stir chicken mixture and peas into sauce.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour chicken mixture into 9x13 baking dish.  Scatter crumble topping evenly over filling.  Place pot pie on aluminum foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and bake until filling is bubbling and topping is well browned, 12-15 minutes.  Sprinkle with remaining 1 T. parsley and serve.
Source: Cook's Illustrated Cookbook