Chicken Pot Pie is the ultimate comfort food. I mean seriously, tender chicken, fresh vegetables and a creamy, full-flavored sauce, topped with golden crust? Take your first bite and you are instantly comforted and satisfied. That is, if the recipe is a good one. And trust me, this is a great one. I love this Chicken Pot Pie with Savory Crumb Topping because it combines classic ingredients such as carrots, sweet peas, and pearl onions with a few surprises like mushrooms that are sautéed with a touch of soy sauce and tomato paste to enhance the pie’s savory properties. The crumb topping gives the pie a rustic texture that is an unusual departure from pastry crust. Parmesan cheese and cayenne pepper in the crumb topping is nothing short of divine.
This isn’t a difficult recipe, but it is mostly hands on until the final 15 minutes or so when everything bakes at the end. Read through the recipe and assemble all your ingredients and tools before you begin. The following pictures highlight your journey to this incredible dish.
First, give the crumb topping a quick pre-bake for a crunchy, golden head start. For the chicken and vegetables, use the breast meat from a rotisserie chicken and save the rest to be used in this delicious and super-easy recipe, Chicken and Tomato Noodle Soup. Getting back to the pot pie, cook the carrots, celery and pearl onions to tender before setting aside with the shredded chicken breasts. In the same pot you cooked the vegetables in, you’ll cook mushrooms until they release their moisture then add tomato paste and soy sauce, and that combination is pure genius. Add the mushrooms to the chicken mixture and then make a creamy sauce, still in the same pan, using the browned and flavorful fond left over from the mushrooms. A touch of fresh-squeezed lemon juice in the sauce brightens it up just right.
So, a few steps later and here is the incredibly flavorful, savory filling (You could make it up to a day ahead to this step).
Top it with the crunchy Parmesan crumb topping. Then just 15 minutes or so in the oven and you have the most delicious, comforting chicken pot pie ever. Enjoy again and again.
- Crumb Topping
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 6 tablespoons cold butter
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated fine
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream (no substitute)
- Breast meat from one rotisserie chicken or about 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- ¾ cup pearl onions, peeled or 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 carrots, washed and sliced ¼ inch thick
- 2 small celery ribs, minced
- Salt and pepper
- 10 ounces cremini or baby bella mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thin
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 4 Tablespoons butter
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 3 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley, divided
- ¾ cup frozen peas
- For the topping:
- Preheat oven to 450F degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne in large bowl. Grate butter over the flour mixture and then with your fingers, rub butter into the flour mixture until it resembles course cornmeal. Stir in Parmesan. Add cream and stir until just combined.
- Spread mixture onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
- Bake until fragrant and starting to brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Set aside.
- For the filling:
- Reduce oven heat to 425F degrees.
- Prepare the chicken - Cut chicken breasts from rotisserie and shred into bite-size pieces. Place in medium bowl and set aside.
- In a medium dutch-oven or heavy pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat until shimmering.
- Add onion, carrots, celery, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add to bowl with chicken and again set aside.
- In the same pot you cooked the vegetables, add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering. Add mushrooms; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms have released their liquid, just a few minutes.
- Remove cover and stir in soy sauce and tomato paste. Cook, stirring often, until liquid has evaporated, mushrooms are well browned, and dark fond begins to form on the surface of the pan, about 5 minutes.
- Transfer mushrooms to bowl with chicken and vegetables. Set aside.
- Melt the 4 tablespoons butter in again-empty pot over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds.
- Slowly whisk in chicken broth and milk and bring to simmer, scraping up any browned bits, cooking until sauce thickens, about 3 minutes.
- Turn off heat, stir in lemon juice and 2 tablespoons parsley, then stir chicken mixture and peas into sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour chicken mixture into 13 by 9-inch baking dish.
- Scatter crumb topping evenly over filling (You can use as much of the topping as you like, but don't need to use it all).
- Place pot pit on aluminum foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and bake until filling is bubbly and topping is well browned, 13 to 18 minutes.
- Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon parsley and serve.
Recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated.