Chicken pot pie is one of those foods that always makes us feel better. The combination of bright vegetables and tender chicken enveloped in a creamy sauce and topped with a golden crust is the very definition of comfort food. Fortunately, it’s possible to make even on busy nights when you use store-bought puff pastry dough and bake the pie in a dish about the same size so there’s no need to roll out or cut the dough. We usually use a 7 x 11-inch 2-quart rectangular baking dish with a sheet of Pepperidge Farm puff pastry, but you can fit the dough as needed based on the size of your dish and brand of pastry.
SERVES 4 TO 6
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces and patted dry
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons Marsala wine
One 16-ounce package frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (see note above), thawed
Preheat the oven to 425°F, with a rack in the middle position.
In a large skillet, add the oil and bacon and turn the heat to medium. Cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until almost crisp, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook, stirring often, for 1 minute more.
Raise the heat to medium-high, add the chicken, season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with the flour, and cook, stirring often, until the chicken is browned all over, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in the thyme, broth, and Marsala, scraping the bottom of the pan to incorporate all the caramelized bits and flour. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 4 minutes. Stir in the vegetables. (There’s no need to heat them through; they will cook in the oven.) Check the seasonings and transfer the chicken mixture to a 7 x 11-inch 2-quart baking dish.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water. Moisten the edges of the baking dish with water, which will help the puff pastry sheet stick to the dish so it doesn’t shrink while baking. Carefully set the sheet over the dish. Working quickly so the heat from the filling doesn’t soften it too much, pinch and crimp the sheet against the inside rim of the dish as in the photo opposite, gently stretching and/or folding it as needed; or, for a more rustic look, keep the dough draped over the edge and press any overhang against the outside of the dish. Pinch any holes closed and brush the pastry with some of the egg mixture.
Put the pie on a sheet pan and bake until the pastry is puffy and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let rest for about 5 minutes before serving.
TIP: Marsala wine is a fortified Italian wine with a slightly sweet, smoky quality and is often used in cooking. It’s worth picking up a bottle (a decent one will cost about $12) since it adds such a distinctive flavor, lasts for 3 to 4 months once opened, and is pretty versatile: You can use it to deglaze a pan after sautéing chicken or pork, or simmer it with sliced mushrooms and a pat of butter for a pasta sauce, or mix it with whipped cream to spoon over berries for a boozy dessert.
Reprinted from Keepers by Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion. Copyright (c) 2013 by Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion. By permission of Rodale Books. Available wherever books are sold.