Chicken Pot Pie with Savory Crumble Topping

Chicken Pot Pie is such comfort food for me.  Sunday night is the perfect night to make it – you have lots of time, and it makes the entire house smell good.  Sometimes though I like to make a pot pie during the week – it is such a wonderful weeknight treat – especially when you make a can make a homemade topping that is delicious.  I have lots of recipes for short-cut toppings – but usually those end up using a boxed puffed pastry or a boxed filo dough.  Don’t get me wrong, those recipes are delicious, and I wouldn’t think twice about using them – but sometimes you are looking for something a little more special.

My husband invited a co-worker to dinner one night who was visiting from out of town.  He enjoys food like we do, so I wanted to make something that he would enjoy.  I saw this recipe in Cook’s Illustrated, and I couldn’t wait to make it.  The problem is that I couldn’t just make it for my husband and I – we would be eating it all week – and I wasn’t convinced that my kids would enjoy it.  I finally had my chance – with two big eaters and me, I was sure we would get through a lot of it.

It was fantastic – the crumbles were delicious, and the sauce had just the right amount of flavor – it definitely tasted like I had been making it all day – but in fact, I worked all day – and started this meal at 6pm.  Cook’s Illustrated pulled through again – I will definitely make this again, and maybe even for my kids too…

Ingredients:

Filling

  • 1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into slices
  • 2 small celery ribs, chopped fine
  • 1 pkg mushrooms, washed and sliced
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 4 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 3/4 cup frozen baby peas

Crumble Topping

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 6 tbsp butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, chilled
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp heavy cream

Preparation

Preheat oven to 450.

For the chicken:  Bring the chicken and broth to a simmer in a covered Dutch oven over medium heat.  Cook until chicken is done, then transfer chicken to a bowl.  Pour the broth through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl and save.

For the topping:  Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper in a large bowl.  Sprinkle the butter pieces in and incorporate with your fingers until it resembles coarse cornmeal.  Stir in the parmesan, then add the cream and stir until just combined.  Place on a lined, rimmed baking sheet and bake 10-13 minutes until becoming fragrant and browning.  Set aside.

For the filling:  Heat 1 tbsp oil in the empty Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the onion, carrots, celery, 1/4 tsp salt and  1/4 tsp pepper and stir well.  Cook until vegetables are tender, and while they are cooking, shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces.  Transfer cooked vegetables to the bowl with the chicken and set aside. 

Heat the remaining oil in the pot and then add mushrooms, cover and cook until mushrooms have released their juices, about 5 minutes.  Remove cover and stir in the soy sauce and tomato paste.  Cook, stirring until the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are browned.  Transfer the mushrooms to the bowl with the chicken and veggies. 

Heat butter in the pot and when the foaming subsides, add the flour and cook for one minute, stirring.  Slowly whisk in the reserved chicken broth and milk.  Bring to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan to get those browned bits up.  Simmer about a minute.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, then remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and parsley.  Stir in chicken and vegetable mixture and pease into the sauce.  Pour into a greased 13×9 baking dish and sprinkle crumble topping evenly over the top.  Bake until filling is bubbling and topping is well browned, about 12-15 minutes.

Serves 6-8

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Chicken Pot Pie with Savory Crumble Topping

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