I love chicken potpie.
A couple years ago Cook’s Illustrated published a recipe for a genius skillet method. In true Cook’s Illustrated fashion it’s a daunting, multi-page recipe that I don’t have the attention span to read through, but it all boils down to this: Brown a cut up chicken in a skillet. Take the chicken out, throw the vegetables in, put the chicken on top, and roast the chicken and vegetables in the skillet, in the oven. Take out the vegetables and chicken and make the sauce in the skillet. Throw it all back in the skillet. Put the crust on top. Bake your pie in the skillet.
I like to change up the ingredients but I stick with the method. I hate peas and celery more than I hate raisins, and I refused to believe that anyone really likes pearl onions. I spilled half sauce all over the stove, but otherwise I think it turned out pretty good.
I only cooked the breasts and thighs, and even that turned out to be way too much chicken. Probably 1 breast and 2 thighs would be just right. Brown the chicken on top of the stove first. Then put some vegetables in the bottom of the skillet. I used carrots, yukon gold potatoes, and an onion. Leave the vegetables more or less whole (or in pretty big chunks), lest they turn to mush. Put the chicken on top and roast at 450 until the chicken is cooked through.
Set the chicken aside to “rest” while you cut the potatoes and carrots into bite-size pieces. Discard the onion. Pour most of the drippings from the pan into a measuring cup and set aside, leaving a little bit in the skillet. Toss in 3 or 4 leeks, sliced crosswise. Once they begin to soften up, add a bunch of chard, chopped. Cook just until the chard starts to wilt. Add the leeks and chard to the rest of the vegetables and set aside.
Return the pan to the heat and pour in a few splashes of white wine and stir, scraping up crunchy bits from the pan. The crunchy bits are what make it delicious. Pour whatever you’ve got in the pan at this point into the measuring cup with the pan drippings, along with about 3 cups of chicken stock. If you let this sit for a few minutes the fat will rise to the top; at this point you can skim some or all of it off.
Melt a couple tablespoons of butter in the skillet and add a few tablespoons of flour. Add a few pinches of thyme, salt and pepper. Stir until you have a nice paste, and let it brown a little. Now add the stock, along with 3/4 of a cup of heavy cream. Stir and cook until its thickened up a bit. Now cut up the chicken and add it, along with the vegetables, back into the skillet.
As much as I love pie crust, I’m partial to a biscuit topping. Now, some may say that this is not chicken potpie, but rather chicken and biscuits. I don’t care. Drop blobs of biscuit dough on top of the filling and put the skillet back in the oven. Bake at 400 until the biscuits are done.
mmm . . . potpie.