Start with a little music when you only have a half an hour to make dinner. Perhaps Adele’s NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert. Maybe a glass of wine, too. If there’s anyone else home, have them set the table and light the candles. While this is fast, it’s luscious and homey and that deserves a bit of attention from everyone. If you love Chicken Pot Pie (and who doesn’t?), but never have the time to make it from scratch –you order it out, right? — this one’s for you. All of the goodness and none of the hassle. Try it tonight:
ENGLISH MUFFIN CHICKEN POT “PIES”
Done in about a half hour, this filling and comforting dish will sooth even the most tired cold soul. My version uses home-cooked or rotisserie chicken. Skip the pastry and instead buy English muffins for the bottom and top of the “pie.” Make it as written, or ramp it up with the changes in vegetables noted in parentheses. A small, peeled and diced potato could also be used in place of two of the carrots. Alternately, you might use some leftover cooked vegetables.
- 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped (or 2 leeks, sliced and chopped -white and light green parts)
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped (or 1 carrot, 1 parsnip, and 1/2 small turnip, small dice)
- 2 stalks celery, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon each kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground white (or black) pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 cup white wine, optional
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose, unbleached flour
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 cups cooked, diced chicken
- 1/3 cup each frozen peas or corn
- 4 whole toasted Whole Wheat English muffins, split and cut into 1/2-inch pieces to create croutons#
- GARNISHES: Chopped parsley, chives, or green onions (any or all) and/or a drizzle of Sherry (Nothing on hand for garnish? A few canned crispy fried onions will suffice in a pinch for a topping.)
Preheat oven to 250 degrees and place 4 oven proof bowls on middle rack to warm.
In a large, deep skillet, heat the butter/oil over medium heat and sauté the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic seasoned with the salt, pepper, thyme, and bay leaf. Cook, stirring, until vegetables are tender. (Cover to cook more quickly.)
Pour in wine, if using, and let cook down for a minute or so. Sprinkle with flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes more. Slowly pour in broth and milk. Let cook, stirring still, until just beginning to thicken. Add chicken, peas and corn. Cook until the peas and corn are hot and tender and the filling is thickened. If too thick, add some broth; if too thin, whisk a teaspoon of flour into a 1/4 cup broth, add to pan, and cook until thickened. Taste; adjust seasonings. Remove and discard bay leaf.
Divide the English muffin pieces into four piles. Place 1/2 of each pile into the bottom of each of four warm bowls. For each bowl, ladle 1/4 of the pot pie filling (about 1 1/4 cups) onto the muffin pieces and top with the remaining muffin pieces (croutons). Garnish, as desired, with minced parsley, chives, green onions, or a drizzle of Sherry. Serve immediately.**
#OPTION: Cut into pieces only half of the English muffins. Then use an entire half of an English muffin at the bottom of each bowl, add filling, and top with cut pieces. This will then make a folk and knife meal.
**OPTION: If you’d like, you can add a bit of grated Cheddar or Parmesan cheese on top and bake the pies at 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Add the parsley, etc. after baking.
NO ENGLISH MUFFINS? Ladle “pie” filling into a bowl with a scoop of mashed potatoes or mashed sweet potatoes on the bottom.
PRINTABLE RECIPE HERE: ENGLISH MUFFIN CHICKEN POT PIES
WINE: A well-rounded white might be best. A Viognier or a Chardonnay. Even an Albariño.
DESSERT: Apples and cheese.
Sing a new song and stay warm,