Home Cookin': Pot Pie | Kids VT | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Home Cookin': Pot Pie


Folks who know me know that I really love pie. Because of my obsession, we have it fairly often at our house including once or twice for breakfast during blueberry season. But while I’ll use just about any excuse to make one and feed it to my family, I do have my limits. Pie for dinner is just not something I feel a nutritionally responsible parent can serve.

Unless of course it’s a hearty, bubbly pot pie full of healthy ingredients with a crispy, golden, flaky crust! I’ve been making a version of this dish for years, and it’s evolved over time to include bits of several different recipes. Until recently, I always made it with a traditional pastry crust — delicious, but also labor-intensive.

While browsing through pie recipes on the cooking website food52 the other day, I came across a photo of a sweet pie with a crust made of phyllo dough and decided to try it out with our chicken pie that night.

It was a smash. The phyllo is surprisingly easy to work with, as long as you have your melted butter ready and move quickly to assemble it. This recipe can be made three ways. Use chicken and chicken stock, sub tofu and veggie stock for a vegetarian version, or leave out the tofu and just up the amount of veggies if you want to skip the meat but your family isn’t into tofu (like mine).

Pie for dinner? Yes!

[jump] Chicken (or Veggie) Pot Pie
Makes one 13x9-inch pie 

1 roll (half a package) frozen phyllo dough, thawed.
4 Tbsp butter, melted
1 small yellow onion, minced
4 good sized carrots , peeled and sliced thinly
½ cup thinly sliced leeks
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ cup peas, thawed if frozen
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp thyme
½ tsp rosemary
½ tsp oregano
½ cup white wine or mirin (Japanese rice wine)
½ cup milk (anything from 1% all the way to heavy cream will work, depending on how rich you want your filling to be. No skim though... you need a little fat)
1 ½ cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
1 Tbsp cornstarch or flour
4 cups cooked chicken, cubed or shredded (OR 4 cups cubed extra firm tofu, OR 4 cups extra veggies — including one peeled, diced potato)

For the filling:
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Melt 2 tablesppons butter in a large shallow saucepan or dutch oven.

Cook the garlic and onions over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, until they start to smell great.

Add the carrots and cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring to avoid sticking. Add the leeks and keep stirring for a minute or two until they start to look dark green and glossy.

Add peas and half of the chicken stock and cook until everything is heated through. Add the salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary and oregano. 

Add the chicken and stir gently to combine everything. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.

Add the rest of the stock, the milk and the wine or mirin. Stir well and heat until bubbling. Add the corn starch or flour and stir to dissolve. Reduce heat to low and let simmer, stirring occasionally for 5-10 minutes or until the sauce thickens up. Keep on very low heat until your crust is ready to fill, checking now and then to make sure it’s not sticking.

For the crust:
Butter the bottom and sides of your baking dish. Carefully lay out a roll of phyllo dough on a damp paper towel next to you. Work quickly; it will take just a few minutes for the dough to dry out and turn brittle.

Lay one sheet on the bottom of the buttered dish, and lightly brush some butter on top. Repeat with 6-8 more sheets of dough, depending on how thick you want the crust to be.

Put the bottom crust in the preheated oven for 5-7 minutes, just until it crisps up a bit and starts to turn light brown.

Take it out and pour the filling on top. For the top crust, repeat the dough-sheet-and-butter procedure another 6-8 times, tucking in the edges as you go.

Bake the pie uncovered at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until the top crust is a lovely, crisp, golden brown.
Let it set for a minute or two before cutting into it.

This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.