What could be better on a gloomy fall day than chicken pot pie? Especially if it is made with your own chicken. This is a recipe that is fairly simple to make, and tastes oh so good. It is perfect for potlucks, too.
This is a great recipe for using up leftover chicken meat. If you want to be super healthy, you can use a chicken you raised and slaughtered yourself. My kids called this particular one Crownos Pot Pie in honor of the rooster it was made of. Other things you will need include broth, milk, flour, onion, potatoes, carrots, peas (leftovers are good here), butter, baking powder, salt, rosemary, thyme, and eggs. The veggies are very flexible. Just use whatever you have on hand. Celery might be good in it, as might bell peppers.
Making the filling
I like to use my 4-quart cast iron pot for this meal. I can cook up the gravy filling on the stovetop, then move the whole thing into the oven to bake the topping. Fewer dishes is a good thing. Melt a stick of butter over low heat. Keep the temperature low so you don’t burn it if it takes a while to chop the veggies. The recipe I adapted said to use butter or chicken fat, so if you have no butter, you can use schmaltz.
I grab a 3-quart bowl to hold all of my veggies after I chop them to keep everything contained. Dice up your potatoes into bite size pieces (remembering that potatoes hold cooking heat a very long time, and bigger pieces can feel like they burn your tongue). Check that your butter isn’t burning. Chop your carrots into 1/4″ slices or so. Check your butter again. Put it all in that big bowl for easy transport to the stove in a few steps. Dice your onion, but don’t add it to the bowl.
Your butter should be melted by now. Preheat your oven to 350º F. Add the onions to the butter and sauté them over medium heat for a few minutes. When they are nicely translucent, add a half cup of flour and stir well to make a roux.
Once all of the flour has been incorporated into your roux, add 3 cups of chicken broth.
Stir constantly for a couple of minutes until the gravy is nice and thick. I turn the heat up to medium high to help the thickening process.
Gravy becomes stew
Turn the heat down to medium-low now. Add a teaspoon of salt, some pepper if you like, and a teaspoon or so each of rosemary and thyme. Dump your bowl of chopped vegetables into the gravy, along with 2 cups of chopped leftover chicken and a cup or so of peas.
Stir it all well and let it simmer for a few minutes to start warming everything up.
That looks good enough to eat right now. Hold on though, because we are going to add a giant dumpling that we will call a crust. While making the crust, take a moment here and there to just give the stew a stir to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom.
Making the crust
In a medium bowl (I usually use the same bowl I used for my chopped veggies), mix 1 1/2 cups of flour, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, and 2 teaspoons of baking powder.
With your fingers, rub in two teaspoons of butter. I don’t measure, I just estimate out of the butter dish.
Rub the butter until it is in tiny pieces in the flour.
Add three eggs, and 3/4 cup of milk. You only see two eggs here because my hens are on vacation for the winter. Two eggs did the job, but three is better.
Beat this into a smooth batter.
Pour the batter over the stew. I move the bowl around to get the most coverage, but if you miss a spot, it is no big deal. This will fluff up very thick and most empty spots will fill themselves.
Here you can see that I missed around the edges a bit and a big hole in the upper left. No worries.
By this point, my 4-quart pot is full up to about an inch or two from the top. Once your oven is hot (it probably is by now), transfer the pot from the burner to the oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the crust is cooked through and browned. See how nicely the holes filled in? The edges will likely be pulled away from the pot. This is good because it allows the steam to escape.
Here is what it looks like after it is served up for dinner. You can see how thick the crust is. That thin layer of batter is now two inches thick.
- Chicken – I got four cups of chicken from our rooster, but I didn’t think to weigh him before cooking. This is best made with leftovers, so I will consider it to be one half the cost of a whole chicken. I buy them for $2/lb at 5 lbs each, so that is $10 total, half of which is $5.00.
- Broth – Free if you make it yourself from the same roast chicken you used for your leftover meat.
- Butter – 1 stick is a quarter pound, which at winter prices of $2.89 comes to $0.72. If you make schmaltz (I’m not that ambitious), it could be counted as free with the same chicken.
- Flour – I use King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour, 2 cups of which weighs 10 ounces according to my scale. A 5-pound bag costs me $3.49, so 10 ounces costs $0.44.
- Potatoes – I only get organic potatoes, which cost me $1/lb. I probably use about 1 to 1.5 pounds, so $1.50.
- Carrots – a 2 lb bag costs me $1.19, and I use about 6 ounces. That calculates to $0.22.
- Peas – one cup of frozen is about 1/3 of a pound, which costs me $0.95, so the one cup is $0.32.
- Onion – the random onion I just weighed was 8 ounces. A two pound bag costs me $1.49 ($0.99 on sale at Aldi), a quarter of which is $0.37
- Baking powder – two teaspoons weighs 0.3 ounces. An 8-ounce jar costs $2.59, so total is $0.10.
- Salt – two teaspoons is 0.4 ounces, and pink Himalayan salt costs me $0.87/ounce, so $0.35. Cheaper salt would obviously be less.
- Milk – I get my raw milk for $2.25/half gallon. 3/4 cup therefore costs $0.21.
- Eggs – I use my own eggs, but locally, a dozen eggs from the farm costs $3.00. Three eggs therefore cost $0.75.
- Herbs – a teaspoon of these each weighs 0.04 ounce. Rosemary is $0.82/ounce and thyme is $1.63/ounce from the bulk bins. Rosemary is $0.03 and thyme is $0.07 (rounding difference). Total herbs is $0.10
Final tally is $10.08 to feed a family of 8. Per serving is $1.26.