Northeast Times

Chicken pie warms up winter

Sa­vory meat pies date back to the Me­di­ev­al era.

Chick­en pie has be­come one of my fa­vor­ite com­fort-food re­cipes. Sa­vory pies date back to the Me­di­ev­al era. Ori­gin­ally, the sole pur­pose of the    double crust was to pro­tect the in­gredi­ents from the metal­lic fla­vor of the pot. The crust wasn’t de­signed to be eaten and was dis­carded after the filling was cooked.

   This single-crust chick­en pie re­cipe is a sa­vory com­bin­a­tion of mod­ern con­veni­ence products and clas­sic homemade touches. Use a leftover baked chick­en or a store-bought ro­tis­ser­ie chick­en, leftover cooked ve­get­ables or frozen mixed ve­get­ables, and a frozen pie crust to cut the prep time in half.

   The creamy sauce com­bined with the chick­en and ve­get­able filling, and topped with a lay­er of sharp ched­dar cheese turns this clas­sic pie in­to a hearty, one-dish meal. The filling can be made in ad­vance and either re­fri­ger­ated or frozen. Just make sure that you heat the filling be­fore sprink­ling on the cheese and top­ping it with the pie crust. This sa­vory chick­en pie re­cipe is a great way to warm up on a cold winter day.

Ched­dar Cheese Chick­en Pie

1 (2 to 2 1/2 pounds) cooked chick­en, meat cut in­to chunks, skin and bones re­moved and dis­carded

1 stick but­ter, di­vided

1 me­di­um onion, diced

3 stalks cel­ery, diced 

2 cloves gar­lic, diced 

1 (16-ounce) bag frozen soup or stew ve­get­ables

2 tea­spoons poultry season­ing, di­vided

1-1/2 tea­spoons salt, di­vided

1 tea­spoon pep­per, di­vided

1/4 tea­spoon cay­enne pep­per

1/4 tea­spoon sug­ar

4 ta­ble­spoons all-pur­pose flour 

1 cup cream, evap­or­ated milk or but­ter­milk

1 cup chick­en broth

1/4 tea­spoon nut­meg

1 cup grated sharp ched­dar cheese

1 (9-inch) frozen pie crust

1. Pre­heat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 2-quart cas­ser­ole dish. 

2. Melt 4 ta­ble­spoons of but­ter in a large skil­let over me­di­um heat. Stir in onion, cel­ery and gar­lic. Cook un­til tender, about 5 minutes. 

3. Stir in chick­en and frozen ve­get­ables, 1 tea­spoon of the poultry season­ing and salt, 1/2 tea­spoon of pep­per, the cay­enne pep­per and sug­ar. Cook, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally for 2 to 3 minutes. Re­move the chick­en mix­ture from the skil­let and place it in the pre­pared cas­ser­ole dish. Set aside.

4. To make the sauce, melt 4 ta­ble­spoons but­ter in skil­let over me­di­um heat. Whisk flour and re­main­ing tea­spoon of poultry season­ing in­to the but­ter; turn heat to low and cook, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, un­til light brown and thick, about 3 minutes. Turn heat to high and slowly whisk in the cream, evap­or­ated milk or but­ter­milk. Whisk in chick­en broth. Con­tin­ue whisk­ing un­til mix­ture thick­ens, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the re­main­ing salt and pep­per, and the nut­meg.

4. Pour the cream sauce over the chick­en mix­ture, stir­ring to coat the mix­ture evenly. Sprinkle the chick­en mix­ture with the cheese. Top the filling with the pre­pared pie crust, press­ing the crust down around the edges of the dish to seal the crust over the filling. Cut three, 1-inch slits in cen­ter of the crust to al­low steam to es­cape. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, un­til crust is brown and golden. Serves 6 to 8. ••

   An­gela Shelf Medear­is is an award-win­ning chil­dren’s au­thor, culin­ary his­tor­i­an and the au­thor of sev­en cook­books. Her new cook­book is “The Kit­chen Diva’s Dia­bet­ic Cook­book.” Her Web site is www.di­vapro.com

   To see how-to videos, re­cipes and much, much more, Like An­gela Shelf Medear­is, The Kit­chen Diva! on Face­book and go to Hulu.com

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