Summer Meal Series #14: Chicken Pie

This summer, I’m going to be posting a series of fifteen low-cost, tasty, and easy-to-prepare meals that are literally straight from my own kitchen.

One of the fun things about the end of summer and the start of fall is that, if you have a garden, lots of vegetables are starting to come in. Depending on your garden, you can be producing all kinds of things: tomatoes, sweet corn, peas, green beans – the list is nearly endless.

Thus, in the late summer and fall, we tend to cook dishes that have really flexible vegetable requirements, like last week’s ratatouille. Meals that work with lots of different vegetables are highly prized, and my wife’s flexible chicken pie is one of those recipes.

This year, our garden isn’t doing particularly well (the arrival of our baby right in the middle of planting season did a number on our plans, and the garden flooding in early August wiped out some of the things we’d planted), so the vegetables we’re using below are a mix of fresh ones and some flash-frozen ones.

The basic idea of a chicken pie is basically a pie crust with thickened chicken broth and chicken as a filling, plus whatever vegetables you have on hand. Most vegetables work – in the example below, we used carrots, potatoes, green beans, and corn. You can put pretty much anything in it, from tomatoes to chickpeas.

You can use a pre-made pie crust if you wish, or you can make one yourself – it’s entirely up to you. The same is true with the chicken broth – you can make it yourself or you can buy some broth or stock at the store.

The process is pretty simple.

Raw chicken

First, chop any and all vegetables you’re going to use in this meal. I recommend about four cups of total vegetables. Also, chop up the chicken you wish to use – I suggest about a pound and a half of chicken.

Po-tay-to

Take three cups of chicken broth, then boil any starchy vegetables you’re going to use in it – like potatoes, for example. Then boil (or microwave, if frozen) the remaining vegetables so that they’re warm and partially to mostly cooked.

Cook the chicken pieces in a skillet until browned, then remove the chicken and pour the hot broth into the skillet to catch the wonderful caramelization on the bottom of the pan.

Chicken

Next, add a pinch of corn starch to the broth and stir it for fifteen seconds or so. Repeat this process until the broth is as thick as you would like – I like it very thick, while my wife likes it soup-thin, so we compromise in the middle.

After that, mix the chicken, vegetables, and broth together, then add all of it to the pie crust, which you’ve already spread out in a pie dish, like so.

Pie nearly finished

Put the other pie crust on top and roll the edges of the two crusts together. Press the tines of a fork all around the crust to hold the two crusts together.

Now that the pie is constructed, preheat the oven to 375 F (about 190 C) and bake the pie for 45 minutes. Delicious!

Finished meal, with grapes

(We also had a side salad with this, hence the open space on the plate.)

The cost of this meal is very hard to pin down because it depends heavily on what vegetables you have on hand, whether you make your own crust, and whether you make your own stock/broth. Our total cost for the pie was about $8, which averaged out to $1 a meal for the pie. Given the heartiness of it, that’s a pretty good deal.

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25 thoughts on “Summer Meal Series #14: Chicken Pie

  1. Nick says:

    Pretty good looking dish. I think it would be worth making your own crust for though. Homemade crust blows away store bought stuff if you can squeeze in the time to do it.

    Actually, same goes for homemade stock…

  2. Katie says:

    You can use a white sauce instead of the thickened chicken stock, too.

  3. Nick says:

    PS. Do you ever approve comments with links in them?

    I’m hesitant to post a link to something helpful because when I’ve done it in the past my comment gets held in moderation limbo forever….

  4. Michelle says:

    I do basically the same thing, except I use chicken from a whole chicken cooked in the crock-pot, add a bag of mixed veggies, 1/2 a bag shredded potatoes, 2 cans cream of chicken, 1 container sour cream, salt, pepper, and garlic salt, for the filling. It’s so bad for you, but one of the best things I’ve ever eaten in my life.

  5. Nina says:

    You can also use a rotisserie chicken for this recipe; and I do almost exactly the same thing as #4 Michelle, using cream of chicken or mushroom soup, etc. Try cheddar cheese soup, which is a whole new taste sensation! As an alternative to the pie crust, you can simply put the filling into a casserole dish and top with biscuit dough (homemade or canned). Not something you want to eat every day due to high sodium and fat content, but it’s delicious! (all you other commenters out there, please don’t flame me!!)

  6. karen says:

    I do this with leftovers all the time. Some ideas: use leftover beef pot roast (or even steak) instead of chicken and substitute beef broth for the chicken broth. Also, put the mixture into a rectangular pan and use a top crust only (the classic “pot pie”). I like adding various dried herbs, too. This is a great make-ahead dish that you can pop into the oven on a night when you don’t want to cook. Kids love it!

  7. Laura says:

    An oil crust that can be pressed into the pan rather than rolled has been a huge help to me on time. (I have come to prefer it over using Crisco for all kinds of pies.)

    This means only making a bottom crust to avoid rolling. I do put a little shredded cheese on the top instead.

    1 crust: 1 3/4 c flour, 1/2 c canola oil, 1/4 milk (can substitute water)
    Mix with a fork or pastry cutter, press into pan with hands.

  8. valleycat1 says:

    I do love me some chicken pot pie! One of our family favorites too.

  9. rosa rugosa says:

    Ummm, a comfort food favorite!

  10. Rachel says:

    Just a heads up: mixing cornstarch into a hot liquid usually makes it clump up and not work properly. It’s better to mix the cornstarch into a little bit of cold water then add the slurry into the broth. Just make sure the broth comes to a boil and you will have a nice thickened sauce.

  11. Esme says:

    Its incredibly rich, but I use a white sauce made with 18% cream in mine. And fresh thyme and bay make a huge difference. And if you havent got timeto make your own, but don’t want a frozen regular crust, put the mixture in a casserole or dutch oven (without bottom crust) and bake with frozen puff pastry on top. Yum!

  12. tarynkay says:

    Your pile of raw chicken startled me! This is something that I would only make with leftover chicken- any kind of savory pie is a leftover meat stretcher to me. You really need very little actual meat in such a pie. I also do sometimes this with no bottom crust in a casserole dish with biscuit dough on top for the top crust. Or leftover mashed potatoes beaten up with an egg. Just whatever I have leftover. I also never thought of meat pies as a summer dish, but probably you have cooler summers in Iowa?

  13. Julia says:

    I love pot pies! But I live alone, so when I cook I ration the leftovers into several single serving portions, ready to microwave, and freeze them. I’m not sure how I could do this with pot pies. I used to buy the Marie Calendar’s microwavable pot pies. They used the microwave safe, metalic bottom on the tray to crisp the pie crust.

  14. Leah W. says:

    Julia, maybe try baking individual portions in small ramekins (maybe an 8 oz size) and only do a top crust, then freeze. Or…could you find miniature disposable aluminum pie plates? That’d be awesome — you could just bake them, then freeze them in the aluminum pie plate, then reheat.

    Trent, you will thank yourself if you’d make this dish with bone-in skin-on chicken breast instead. Bring chicken broth to a boil, add chicken, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove, then cook vegetables while you chop or shred the chicken. Tastier and one less dish to wash!

  15. Peggy says:

    I love, love, love chicken pies…thanks for publishing this…we’re away now, but I will definitely make this when we get home. There are so many variations…the possibilities are endless. Leftover beef or lamb would also work well with appropriate broth. You could add a dash or two of white or red wine to up the yum factor :)

  16. ell says:

    Have you ever considered taking a cooking class? Since you clearly like to cook from previous food posts, and my husband is an engineer and has taken a number of cooking classes himself, I think you would benefit from learning some basic seasoning skills. I don’t mean this to sound like a criticism or anything… just that when you post food to a blog you’re kind of publishing to the world, and if you know more about cooking you could both up the presentation ante, as well as teach those of us without cooking skills a tip or two with each post. I realize this isn’t Gourmet Food Blog, but given how much you seem to like to cook, I think it would only benefit you.

  17. Roberta says:

    Chicken pies are good. A few points to consider: browning chicken or other meat does not brown because of carmelization, but rather because of the maillard reaction. Onions, with their high sugar content, brown, for instance because of carmelization, a process that transforms some of the sugar inside into, you guessed it, a sort of caramel. Second, I would recommend to anyone making a chicken pie to saute the veggies in a hot skillet rather than boil them in broth. You’ll get a much better flavor out of the veggies. Not only that, but the main reason for cooking the vegetables before putting them into a pie such as this is to get them to release some of their moisture so that the pie won’t be soggy. Boiling them in liquid just makes them wet. “Cook’s Illustrated Family Cookbook” and “Sundays at Moosewood” both have great savory pie recipes (the Moosewood one is vegetarian). Both of these recipes work from the principle of cooking the vegetables in a skillet,and also use a roux-based sauce, which binds better than broth. Finally, to deglaze the pan, I find using a chopped aromatic such as an onion or garlic before the addition of liquid such as broth or wine pulls up the brown bits, but also adds flavor to the pan sauce being created. Just a few tips.

  18. Jen says:

    It’s the dog days of summer – farmer’s markets are absolutely FLUSH with good stuff. Why are you making / showing us a dish made without a single fresh vegetable? You say you have a garden that’s producing, why not incorporate some of that stuff? Save the frozen veg medleys for the middle of winter. I think it’s admirable that you’re showing us what you actually cook, but, given all the other food blogs out that that occasionally focus on frugality, why bother if you’re not going to show us anything spectacular, or, in the case of alot of these posts, even appealing? Maybe I’m just a foodie who reads these posts with too critical of a lens, but I really think you should stick to what you’re good at.

  19. Vickie says:

    I am enjoying the recipe ideas you’re posting. Thank you very much. ☺

  20. nigel says:

    That chicken pie recipe is superb!! If we use locally made pottery – casseroels, bakers, etc then we can help our local economy and community during these tough economic times!http://blog.sidestreetstudio.com/wood/10-reasons-why-you-should-buy-local-arts-crafts/

  21. Lisa says:

    Chicken pie is a fave at our house, too. We make it without a bottom crust, and with a cornbread crust (just a box of cornbread mix with 1/3 more milk to make it thinner). It’s a bit healthier this way (less butter) and slightly easier than making a homemade piecrust.

  22. Bill in NC says:

    Canned Veg-all works well for the veggies.

  23. Karen says:

    Yum-O!! Luv me some chicken pot pie. Will try and use some of the suggestions. Thanks

  24. Emma says:

    Any type of pot pie is perfect for early autumn comfort food!

    I have an giant-cupcake pan that I use to make and free single-portion pies.

  25. Sarah says:

    Chicken pie is a great way to use up random veggies. My family loves it.

    Most of the time, we’re too lazy/time strapped to make a crust, so we cook it in a casserole or french oven, and pour quick biscuit batter (made to be a little more runny) on top. It puffs up a bit and you have just as much pastry as you would with a pie crust, but since I find it all sort of falls apart on a plate anyway, I can have a bit of biscuit with every bite.

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