Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Freezer Chicken Pot Pies

During my month of Kissing the TV Goodbye I wrote about how I made 12 chicken pot pies for the freezer and I thought I would share the recipe. They do require a little work, but are so worth it in the end. They are delicious, the meat is fresh and unprocessed, I know how much sodium is in them, and I can eat the gravy. Yumm-O!

Freezer Chicken Pot Pies
from: Cooks Country February/March 2007
printed with permission

1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil
5 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped fine
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 celery rib, chopped fine
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp minced fresh thyme (I used 1/8 tsp dried thyme and 1 tsp dried parsley)
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 (15-oz) boxes Pillsbury Ready to Roll Pie Crust (is the recommended brand of Cook's Country)
1 large egg, beaten, plus 1 large egg, beaten for baking
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
6 (2-cup) disposable aluminum loaf pans
  1. To make ahead: Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tbsp oil in large Dutch oven over high heat until just smoking. Cook chicken until well browned, about 2 1/2 minutes per side. Add broth and bring to boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until chicken is cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer chicken to large plate and strain broth into bowl.
  2. Melt butter with remaining 1 tbsp oil in now empty Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook onion, carrots, celery, and 1/4 tsp salt until lightly browned and softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add flour, and cook 1 minute. Whisk in reserved broth, milk, and thyme and simmer until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, using 2 forks, shred chicken into bite-sized pieces. Off heat, add chicken and lemon juice to sauce and season with salt and pepper. Transfer filling to medium blow and cool until just warm. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, about 1 hour.
  4. Unwrap and unroll pie crusts onto lightly floured counter. Glue 2 crusts together using 1 beaten egg. Repeat with remaining 2 crusts. Using loaf pan as a stencil, cut out 6 pastry toppings. Stir frozen peas into cold filling and divide mixture among the 6 disposable loaf pans. Top with pastry and use fork to seal edges. using paring knife, make 3 steam vents in each crust. Tightly wrap each loaf pan in 2 layers of plastic wrap and 1 layer of aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 2 months.
  5. When ready to serve: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Unwrap frozen pot pies and arrange on rimmed baking sheet. Brush crusts with egg, cover with foil, and bake 40 minutes. Uncover and bake until crusts are golden brown, about 35 minutes. Let pot pies rest 10 minutes before serving.

My Tips:
  • don't oversalt - taste as you go
  • I usually don't cook my veggies very long in step #2, that way they stay a little more firm after the pot pie is baked
  • write the "date to be eaten by" on the aluminum foil
  • reuse the foil to bake them
  • use an address label with the information in step #5 and put on each pot pie in the freezer, that way you don't have to look up the instructions every time you want to make one (or if you give them away the baking info is right there)

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