Chicken Pot Pie like you WISH your Grandma made!

I originally posted this Chicken Pot Pie in November of 2011, one of my very first posts! Today, as I made it again, I updated with new photos. That night, I had been looking at Time’s Money Issue and became sidetracked. Pretty soon, I was clicking on one link after another; you know how that goes, right?

Chicken Pot Pie like you Wish your Grandma made! Tender, flaky crust, gorgeous vegetables and a gravy out of this world!
Chicken Pot Pie like you Wish your Grandma made! Tender, flaky crust, gorgeous vegetables and a gravy out of this world!

Soon I clicked on a “suggested” frugal Walmart coupon matching site with a recipe for “homemade” Chicken Pot Pie for $11.57, serves six. $11.57? I was thinking it must be a Chicken Pot Pie fit for a Queen! But no, it was a basic recipe with frozen veggies, pre-made pie crust, more expensive than you’d think Rotisserie chicken and cream cheese. You know the recipe I mean? Mushy vegetables, watery sauce…yup, I’m a food snob sometimes!

grandma xHere’s a Pot Pie that’s amazing at any price and costs less than one using premade ingredients. But it is better, oh, so much better! Long a family favorite, it’s about as sexy as vanilla and a big, huge dose of comfort.

Does it take a bit more effort to make? You betcha, but not much depending on the topping you choose. And is it worth it? Well, the chicken is juicy, the vegetables just tender; it has the perfect amount of sauce and a topping of your choice. This is a great example of how knowing basic cooking skills can get you a better quality, higher end product at a fraction of the cost.

Chicken Pot Pie like you Wish your Grandma made! Tender, flaky crust, gorgeous vegetables and a gravy out of this world!
Chicken Pot Pie like you Wish your Grandma made! Tender, flaky crust, gorgeous vegetables and a gravy out of this world!

In the recipe, you’ll see several options for topping – a puffed pastry, biscuits, drop biscuits (easiest), pie dough, Phyllo or mashed potatoes. I love that! Seriously love it! 🙂 This gives you the chance to go easy, fancy, down home or knock your socks off depending on your mood, your budget and who you’re serving.

I bought this to the table, by the way, for a little over four bucks, $4.05 in 2011 – and I’d estimate about a buck fifty more, today, because chicken is pricier. (While I detail how to cook the chicken, you can use any left over chicken or turkey!) The casserole with pie crust runs just about the same as with biscuits, mashed potatoes are less expensive and Phyllo or puff pastry, more.

This Chicken Pot Pie can be baked in a large pan, individual ramekins or, like I usually do, both ~ I’ll make four ramekins for the first night and freeze a casserole for later. Frugal or not, when I saw these cute little pots at Pier 1, I had to have them – it can be hard to find a ramekin that’s not too large or two small. I also find the 1/2 pint, short Mason jars like the ones I made my Dulce de Leche Apple Crisp in, make a great frugal substitution.

Chicken Pot Pie like you Wish your Grandma made! Tender, flaky crust, gorgeous vegetables and a gravy out of this world!
Chicken Pot Pie like you Wish your Grandma made! Tender, flaky crust, gorgeous vegetables and a gravy out of this world!

Chicken Pot Pie like you Wish your Grandma made!

  • Servings: 6 - 8 generous
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked as below, or the same amount of left over chicken. (Left over turkey is great in this, too.)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, sliced 1/4 inch thick on the diagonal
  • 2 ribs celery, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (preferably whole, but 2% works)
  • 1/4 teaspoon marjoram
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed (just take them out when you start the recipe)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Topping of your choice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, adjust oven rack to lower middle.

In a saucepan, simmer chicken with broth till just done, about 8 to 10 minutes. If time allows, cool the chicken in the broth and then shred, reserving both chicken and broth.

Heat oil to medium high in a one and a half to two-quart saucepan and saute onions, carrots, and celery till just tender, about five minutes. They will cook more in the oven. Season with salt and pepper and add to chicken.

In the same pan that you used for the vegetables, melt butter and add flour, cooking one minute. Whisk in chicken broth, milk, marjoram and any accumulated chicken juices. Bring to a simmer and reduce to low, simmering about one minute till sauce fully thickens, stirring constantly. Add sherry, taste, and adjust any seasonings.

Add chicken and vegetables to the saucepan, add peas and gently stir. May be refrigerated for a day or two. Gently reheat to warm the filling before proceeding.

Place in a casserole or a 13 x 9 inch pan, cover with topping and bake until topping is golden brown and filling bubbly, about 30 minutes. You may also bake in individual ramekins for 20 to 25 minutes.

Notes:

  • See below for information on toppings. By the way, this recommended biscuit topping is out of this world fantastic!
  • The specific instructions and ingredients were all formulated to make sure the vegetables come out perfectly and not overdone and the sauce is thick and creamy – Cream or half and half do NOT make the best sauce and plain old wine instead of the Sherry adds too much acid and turns the veggies to dull mush.

From the kitchen of http://www.frugalhausfrau.com, adapted from Pam Anderson

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Toppings:

Price will vary according to the topping. Mashed Potatoes is probably the most filling and the least expensive, biscuit or pie dough cost about the same and puffed pastry or phyllo are the priciest. Here’s a bit more information:

  • Puffed pastry:  the sheets vary in size, but one box should be more than enough. I use about six layers. Brush each layer with melted butter, and for individual ramekins, cut to overlap the edges just a bit. For a larger casserole, you can ease the sheets in to fit.
  • Biscuits: try home-made Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe to Top a Casserole – and use the same recipe for drop biscuits. For a large casserole, decide if you’d like to use one giant biscuit or multiple smaller. If you use one biscuit, whether cooking in a large casserole or a ramekin, cut just a bit smaller than the actual size. For any biscuit topping, brush off flour, then brush with melted butter before (and maybe after) baking.
  • Pie dough: home-made or store-bought. You may need two crusts if making individual casseroles. Brush the outside edge of the casserole with butter, place pie crust on cooled luke-warm filling in casserole, lift to crimp, then cut excess off at 1/2 inch.
  • Mashed potatoes: this recipe is a great size for the casserole.

Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:

  • Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.
  • Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
  • Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
  • Read {Strategies Applied} for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time and managing food.

Put your own spin on it:

  • You could certainly make this with the less expensive chicken quarters or thighs, although they are a bit fussier to bone.
  • I use turkey interchangeably in recipes like this, too. This is wonderful with sautéed sliced mushroom in addition to the other vegetables, or instead of the peas.
  • My kids love it if I lay down a layer of shredded cheese over the chicken mixture, than add the biscuits, and bake, sprinkling a bit more cheese over the biscuits for the last five minutes of cooking time.
  • I sometimes make a take-off on this recipe using canned diced green chiles, corn and a chipotle pepper, omitting the sherry and the peas and carrots for a kind of Southwestern chicken pot pie. When I do this, I add about 1 1/2 cups of Colby jack or Monterrey jack cheese to the chicken mixture.

Nutrition: 

(Without topping, which can vary) Per Serving: 261 Calories; 11g Fat (38.3% calories from fat); 24g Protein; 15g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 68mg Cholesterol; 362mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 3 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 2 Fat.

My Pay Off

A large casserole for a budget price, and leftovers for another meal.

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