Reasonably Easy Chicken Pot Pie

Note: If you’re new at this cooking shit, this is intermediate-level shit, not beginner shit like my lasagna recipe. I’m not saying don’t try it, but don’t try it unless you’ve got some time to dedicate to it, and some time to clean up afterward, because you’re about to dirty some dishes and probably make a mess of your stovetop and counters. It’s worth it, but it’s not something to tackle on a week night after work.

Kitchen Shit You’ll Need:

  • A baking sheet
  • A big sharp knife
  • A cutting board
  • A medium to large pot for boiling
  • A metal or plastic sieve
  • The biggest-ass frying pan you can find, or preferably a wok
  • Some big wooden spoons and spatulas and such
  • A stovetop or hot plate
  • An oven or high-grade toaster oven
  • Antibacterial hand soap

Ingredients:

  • One whole cooked chicken from the supermarket (You can also get about three big frozen chicken breasts and boil and shred them, or get pre-shredded chicken meat, or even dump in a couple cans of canned chicken meat if you’re a goddamn savage.)
  • One can (11–14 oz or so) of chicken broth or soup (Any kind of broth, broth-based soup, or cream-based condensed soup will work in a pinch. Chicken vegetable, chicken noodle, chicken and stars, beef broth, veggie broth, cream of mushroom, cream of broccoli, whatever you’ve got on hand. I haven’t tried it with anything crazy like potato soup or clam chowder, but I bet that would work fine too. Get fucking nuts.)
  • Some butter or oil. (Use 100% real butter if you’re making comfort food, low-sodium chicken broth if you’re trying to be healthy this month, olive oil for a happy medium between the two, or vegetable / avocado / peanut / sunflower / whatever oil if it’s all you have on hand.)
  • About three potatoes (I recommend going with a mix of red and gold potatoes if you’ve got the option. Use four if they’re a little smaller, two if they’re those stupid-huge brown russet potatoes, three if they’re somewhere in between.)
  • Three big carrots (You can use a bunch of baby carrots from a bag if that’s what you’ve got on hand.)
  • Three stalks of celery
  • An onion (I prefer yellow; you can use sweet, white, or red and it will still be fine)
  • A half a head of fresh garlic (If you don’t know, a “head” of garlic is what you buy in the grocery store that’s covered in that papery garlic skin, and each individual little chunk of the head is a “clove.” You’re going to be using four or five cloves. You can use powdered garlic if you’re a subhuman monster, just don’t come complaining to me when your pot pie tastes like a subhuman monster made it.)
  • Half a head of broccoli
  • Optional: if you have any other leftover bits of vegetables from previous meals — bell peppers, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, squash, mushrooms, whatever — this is a great time to use them up. Use a little less potato / carrots / broccoli if you’re doing this.
  • A 9-inch frozen pie crust (You can find these in the frozen section of the grocery store next to the frozen key lime pies and other frozen desserts. It will look like it’s a 2-pack, but that’s just because you need one for the bottom and one for the top. Try to find one that hasn’t been shattered into a million pieces. Sometimes this takes some searching.)
  • A bunch of dope spices (If you can, get some black and/or rainbow peppercorns in a canister with a built-in grinder and an Italian blend or equivalent. Trader Joe’s African Smoke blend is also real good, preferably in addition to, but in a pinch instead of, the Italian blend.)

How To Actually Cook It:

  1. Take the frozen pie crust out of the freezer and set it aside to defrost while you deal with everything else.
  2. If you’re cooking the pie today, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re prepping today and cooking tomorrow, don’t pre-heat the oven until tomorrow.
  3. Get all the meat off the chicken. (Protip: If you got a whole one at the supermarket, you can turn the clear plastic lid it comes in over and use it as a bowl for the chicken meat. Some people like to do this with a couple of forks, some people like to get all up in there with their bare hands. If you’ve got two people to divide labor between, have one person do this while the other person does literally the entire rest of the recipe and it comes out about even.)
  4. Fill your pot about halfway with water and start it boiling on Medium heat.
  5. While you’re waiting for the water to boil, rinse off the potatoes and cut them into bite-sized chunks. Put the potato chunks in the water.
  6. Rinse off the carrots and slice them into bite-sized chunks. Put them in the boiling water with the potatoes. Boil them until the potatoes are starting to get soft but are still just a little too undercooked to eat, then drain them in the sieve.
  7. Chop up the garlic, onion, celery, broccoli, and any other vegetable bits you might be putting into this.
  8. Brown the chopped-up veggies in the wok with a couple tablespoons of oil. Stop them right when the onions start to change color. Don’t worry if some of the other veggies are a little undercooked.
  9. Dump the broth or soup into the wok and bring it to a boil. If you’re using a thinner broth, let it boil off for a while until it becomes thick. If you’re using a cream-based condensed soup, go on to the next step as soon as it’s bubbling.
  10. Dump the potatoes, carrots, and chicken meat into the wok.
  11. Stir everything up until it’s all mashed up together, and as you’re doing that, stir in a bunch of spices. Like, a LOT of spices. Like, more than you think you need.
  12. Transfer the stuff from the wok into the bottom pie crust. (Protip: You are going to think, “Oh man, there is way too much of this stuff, it will never fit.” You will be able to get a lot more in there than you think. Just keep piling it on and mashing it down and then piling it on again. It should be piled up high before you’re done. Depending how much potatoes and shit you used, there might be a little bit extra, but probably not that much.)
  13. Flip the other pie crust over and press it down on top of the pie, then lift the tin off of it. Sort of squish the edges of the two pie crusts together a little. (Protip: This might cause the top crust to break a little. Squish the breaks back together as best you can, but don’t stress too much about making the whole thing super tightly sealed or anything.)
  14. Cut three little slits on the top of the top pie crust so that it looks like a pie that you’d see on a cartoon or a Norman Rockwell painting.
  15. If you’re planning on eating this tonight, put the pie on the baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes. Otherwise, put it in the fridge and bake it tomorrow. (Protip: the baking sheet is to protect your oven in case the pie overflows. Cleaning an oven isn’t quite as hard as it sounds, but it’s not something you want to do if you can avoid it.)
  16. Let the pie cool for about 10–15 minutes before serving.

Storage:

If you’re cooking for fewer than about six people, you will have leftovers. This is good. You’ve got lunch or dinner taken care of for at least a day or two. Cover whatever doesn’t get eaten that night in aluminum foil and stick it in the fridge. If you still have any left after a week, transfer it to Tupperware and stick it in the freezer until you’re not sick of it any more, then leave it in the fridge overnight to thaw before reheating.

Reheating:

If you have a toaster oven, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, spray some cooking spray on it, drop a slice of pie on the foil, and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes. If you only have a microwave, put a slice in a bowl or on a plate and cover it with a MOIST paper towel (to protect your microwave from splatters) and microwave for about 2–3 minutes.

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