***There are certain dishes that conjure up memories from childhood. I can remember eating the Swanson's chicken potpies as a child, just as Mr. Keller mentions in his cookbook. We'd pop those into the oven, and dinner would soon be ready. Those are really the only chicken potpies that I've ever really eaten...until now.
I couldn't pass up the recipe for Chicken Potpie in Ad Hoc at Home. It sounded like the perfect, comforting dish for a cold winter night. This potpie certainly takes more effort than popping a frozen pie in the oven, but I can promise you that it's worth the effort!
There are several things that I did to simplify Mr. Keller's recipe. The directions say to cook the potatoes, carrots, and onions in separate saucepans. I cooked them all together in one pot, and I even added the celery during the last few minutes of cooking. I also did not strain the bechamel sauce. This saved many dirty pots at the end of the night!
I did cook an entire roasting chicken for this recipe. I boiled it in water, along with celery, carrots, onions, and herbs. This made the chicken taste perfect and guess what...I had an entire pot of delicious chicken stock that I separated into different containers and stored in the freezer! However, you could further simplify things by simply purchasing a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store.
I did not use Thomas Keller's recipe for Pie Crust. I used Melissa d'Arabian's recipe from the Potato-Bacon Torte that I posted recently. That crust is so amazing...and easy! It worked PERFECTLY here! I've included a link to the crust recipe below.
I hope you enjoy this recipe...Bon Appetit!***
Source: Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller; Pages 24 - 25
Basic Pie Crust (Recipe can be found HERE)
1 cup 1/2-inch pieces red-skinned potatoes
1 1/4 cups 1/2-inch pieces carrots (cut on the diagonal)
12 white pearl onions
3 bay leaves
3 thyme sprigs
24 black peppercorns
1 1/4 cups 1/2-inch pieces of celery (cut on the diagonal)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
Pinch of cayenne
1 egg, beaten
Roll out the dough, place one piece in a 9 or 10 inch pie plate and the second on a baking sheet, and refrigerate.
Put the potatoes, carrots, and onions in separate small saucepans with water to cover and add 1 bay leaf, 1 thyme sprig, and 8 peppercorns to each pan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and simmer until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
Drain the vegetables, discard the bay, thyme, and peppercorns, and spread on a baking sheet. Cut the onions in half.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a medium bowl with ice water. Blanch the celery until just crisp-tender, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Drain, transfer to the ice bath, and chill just until cold. Drain and add to the baking sheet with the other vegetables.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 2 to 3 minutes; adjust the heat as needed so that the mixture does not brown. Whisk in the milk, lower the heat to keep the bechamel at a gentle simmer, and cook, whisking often, until the sauce has thickened and reduced to about 2 cups, 30 to 40 minutes; move the whisk over the bottom and into the corners of the pan to be sure the bechamel doesn't burn.
Position the oven racks in the lower third and center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Strain the bechamel through a fine-mesh conical strainer into a spouted measuring cup. Season with salt, pepper, parsley, thyme, and cayenne.
Remove both doughs from the refrigerator.
Scatter the vegetables and chicken into the pie shell. Pour the bechamel over them. At this point, if the top crust is too hard to shape, let it rest at room temperature for a few minutes. Moisten the rim of pie shell with some of the beaten egg. Cover the filling with the top crust and press the edges of the dough together to seal. Trim away the excess dough that overhangs the rim. Brush the top crust with the egg. Cut a small vent in the center of the dough with a small cutter or the tip of a paring knife to allow steam to escape.
Bake on the lower oven rack until the crust is a rich golden brown, 50 minutes to 1 hour. If necessary, move the pie to the center rack during the last 10 minutes of baking to brown the crust. On the other hand, if crust is browning too quickly, cover with aluminum foil. Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 10 minutes.
Cut the potpie into 6 wedges and serve warm.