Chicken pot pie is not nearly as daunting a project as you may think. I know it sounds fussy with all that dough, sauce making, chicken cooking, chopping and so on. It is really just a matter of tossing everything in a pan and adding some kind of doughy top. I got all excited one night while I was cooking some chicken and though these would be a prefect thing to make the next night for dinner. Because I’d already cooked the chicken and would use the leftovers for the pies, it would be so easy. Then I remembered I don’t have those cute little pots that are special for making individual chicken pot pie in. I have a million small dishes, but like Goldie Locks and the Three Bears, none were just right, some were too small and some were too large. Then I thought who needs those stinkin’ mini pots anyway, I’ll make hand pies and then I won’t even have to wash forks after dinner because you eat these with your hands! Brilliant.
Then I realized that I had scheduled a very busy day the next day so… home-made pie dough wasn’t going to happen. Ok, I cheated, call me Semi Homemade (it’s ok I don’t mind, I know I can make pie dough if I really needed to)
So I made the filling that evening after dinner and snuggled it right in the fridge for the next day. I was lucky enough to have some homemade chicken stock on hand. I was unlucky because I had a house of sick people, precisely why I had chicken stock. The next day I had to grab some stuff at the store anyway so I tossed in a pre made pie dough, you can get fairly healthy ones at a natural market. You could use puff dough If you can’t find pie dough. I enlisted the help of my daughter in making these, she picked the size and shapes for the pies. We cut out the dough with cookie cutters, brushed them with egg, filled them and sealed them. Chilling the mixture makes easy work of filling the little pies when it’s time. We assembled them around 3 o’clock and put them back in the refrigerator until it was time to bake them before dinner. You could also freeze them raw for another day. They baked up really pretty and were equally as tasty. You can try adding anything, make them vegetarian even, just use your creative genius. Serve alongside a colorful salad.
Chicken Little Hand Pies
These little suckers stay very hot inside for a long time, be careful when serving little kids.
If using raw chicken, cut it up very small and add it after the broth, simmer until it is cooked through.
Tip: Slicing semi frozen chicken is easier than trying to slice raw chicken. Place your raw chicken in the freezer for 10 minutes and then slice away.
Adapted from Epicurious
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, quartered lengthwise and diced
1 small potato, peeled and chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
1 celery rib, halved lengthwise and diced
1/4 cup thawed corn kernels
1/2 cup ounces cooked shredded chicken
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
Squeeze of lemon juice about a 1/2 tsp
2 unbaked pie crusts, either store-bought or homemade (not pie shells)
1 egg, beaten
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When it shimmers, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the carrot,potato and celery and season with salt and pepper to taste, raise the heat to medium-high. Cook until the vegetables are softened , add the corn and pre-cooked chicken.
Sprinkle the flour over everything in the pan, stir, and cook for 1 minute. Add the broth, thyme and lemon juice, and simmer for 5 minutes more or until thickened. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cool and refrigerate until cold, about to 30 minutes. Remove the pie crusts from the refrigerator so they can soften slightly.
Lay the crust out on a cutting board. Use cookie cutter to cut as many shapes as you can. Re-roll the dough and cut more until you have no more crust left.
Place about 1 Tbs. of filling in the center of dough, brush beaten egg around the outside of the crust, then place another matching shape in top. Crimp the edges together with a fork, and prick the top a few times for steam to escape. Carefully transfer pie to the prepared baking sheets. Repeat with remaining pie crust and filling. Just before baking brush all the pies with egg wash.
Bake until golden brown, 20 30 minutes.