This perennial favorite has become one of my comfort food standbys. Hearty and warming, it satisfies and soothes during treatment while providing some tasty extra calories when they’re needed. Our version is quick to prepare, especially if you use store bought pastry to top the chicken with. The recipe below calls for fresh chicken breast, but if you have leftover chicken, poached, roasted, or even rotisserie, use it up to make this dish. It sure beats chicken salad on a cold day.
1. Heat the olive oil in a medium size Dutch oven over a medium-high flame. Add the shallots, carrots, celery, turnip and bay leaf. Sprinkle with salt and sauté for 2 minutes. Cover, lower the heat to medium-low and sweat the vegetables for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, making sure that they do not brown.
2. Add butter to the pan. Once melted, stir in the flour and coat the vegetables. Cook until the flour begins to toast. Slowly stir in the milk, making sure it does not get lumpy as it mixes with the flour. Add the grated nutmeg. Bring sauce to a simmer, stirring constantly. The sauce should have the consistency of heavy cream. If it becomes too thick add a little more milk.
3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
4. While the oven is heating, add the cubed chicken to the pan. Stir and cook until the chicken is no longer pink, about 8 -10 minutes. Add the frozen peas or lima beans. Cook a minute more. Taste for salt. Pour the chicken mixture into a pie dish.
5. Roll out the pastry big enough to comfortably cover the chicken and the edges of the pie dish. Lay the pastry over the chicken and tuck it in the dish so it fits snugly. Cut a few slits on the top of the dough. Place the pie dish on a baking sheet lined with foil — this is to catch any drips of sauce as the pie cooks. Bake for 35 minutes or until the pastry is well browned. Let the pie sit for 10 minutes. Serve.
Ann's Tips and Tricks
You can use any medium size, heavy bottomed pan to cook the vegetables as long as it has a lid.
If you use cooked chicken for this dish, remove any skin first.
To cut down on dairy, you can use unsweetened, unflavored soymilk for the sauce. I think Silk brand’s version does the best job.
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