I am totally having a love affair with today’s dish.
Don’t tell my husband.
Do you pot pie? I certainly do. This is the second pot pie recipe I’m sharing with you in a matter of a week, after all. The thing is, I think chicken pot pie is one of the best, if not THE best, comfort foods in the world. It hits all the high notes for me. Creamy, savory, salty, hearty, and crunchy. It is incredibly cozy, too. Perfect for snuggling up with by the fire while catching up on your favorite show (my current obsession is “The Crown” on Netflix. SO GOOD.). A glass of wine and two warm dogs, one on either side, don’t hurt things either.
While some people may be all about the crust when it comes to pot pie (Dan certainly is), I have to say, the chicken filling is my favorite part. If you break down a recipe for the chicken filling, it’s really quite humble. Nothing special. It’s so easy, just about anyone can master it. But man. It tastes so…gourmet to me. It’s so full of flavor! I could eat a whole bowl of just the filling, sans crust. That’s how much I love it.
My mom never made chicken pot pie for us when we were growing up, and I think I remember her saying it was because she never really cared for it. I never understood it when she said that. I think she had some bad pot pie in her childhood? But is there such a thing?! I feel like even a “bad” pot pie would be fabulous.
My first introduction to chicken pot pie was the Stouffer’s frozen variety that we only got on nights that my parents went out. It was one of those special “treat” meals that we used to get so excited about.
This may be an incredibly embarrassing thing to admit, but I sincerely loved those frozen pot pies. I thought they were delicious! And guess what? I still do! It’s half nostalgia, half yum for me. I still buy one here and there (maybe like once a year or every two years?), and it takes me right back to those fun childhood Saturday nights with my sisters and our babysitters. We would set up TV trays and eat our pot pies with icy cold glasses of milk while watching Beauty and the Beast for the umpteenth millionth time.
[Side bar: I am so excited for the new, live-action B & the B! I think Emma Watson is gonna kill it. In a good way.]
I thought frozen pot pie was the bees’ knees.
Until I made my own.
I think it was right out of college, when I was really delving into cooking for myself for the first time. I made the entire pot pie from scratch, from the filling to the the pie crust. I was surprised at how easy it was, and I doubled over with pure ecstasy when I tasted the first bite. Stouffer’s who?!
Because the pie crust is still something I haven’t mastered in the past 11 years, sometimes I take the easy route. Frozen puff pastry or refrigerated pie dough work juuuust fine for me.
Or, if I’m feeling wild, so do potato chips. Yup, you read that right. POTATO CHIPS. They add such a fun and unexpected twist to an otherwise traditional meal. They’re light and crunchy and salty and wonderful. The perfect contrast to that delicious, creamy filling.
I liked the potato chip crust so much here that I have made this twice in the past month. We have been pot pie-ing like crazy over here!
Hey, there are worse things, right?
1 lb chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, peeled and diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon dried thyme (or 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped)
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1 (10-oz) can condensed cream of chicken soup (I prefer the lower sodium soup so I can control how salty the dish is)
¼ cup milk
1 cup frozen peas
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 cups potato chips, any flavor you like (I went with plain but I think salt/vinegar, BBQ, or even sour cream/onion would be awesome here)
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Season the chicken breast pieces with salt and pepper. Heat a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil and butter.
Add the chicken, in batches, to the hot pan and cook until golden brown on all sides. Transfer browned chicken (don’t worry if it’s cooked all the way through at this point – it will finish cooking in the oven) to a plate. Repeat with remaining chicken.
Once all the chicken has been browned and set aside, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the onion, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add in the garlic cloves, onion powder, and thyme and stir to combine.
Sprinkle the flour evenly over the vegetables and toss to coat. Cook for a minute or two to cook out the flour flavor.
Slowly whisk in the white wine, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and reduces. Add in the stock, condensed soup, and milk and stir until everything is well incorporated. Bring the mixture to a simmer and season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Return the chicken to the pan along with the frozen peas and toss to combine.
Meanwhile, pulse the potato chips in a food processor until fine crumbs form. Stir in the panko breadcrumbs.
Evenly top the chicken mixture with the potato chip-panko topping and then transfer to the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly and golden browned on top. Cool slightly before serving. I love this alongside a light salad (and a cold glass of white wine!).