By Emily Earhart
23 Jan

Food For and From the Heart: New Year Comfort Food

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Happy New Year! 

Usually, this is the time of year when we’re working on new promises to ourselves—trying to eat less of this and more of that. This year isn’t feeling very typical so far, is it? If you’re like me, you’re finding yourself not necessarily eating loads of green smoothies this year but rather, finding ways to comfort yourself with food in as healthy of a way as possible. Here’s what I’ve found myself making week after week in 2021. In this atypical year, let’s promise to be kind to ourselves and others! 

White Chicken Pot Pie
Makes 1 10-inch double-crust savory pie (6 servings)

Chicken pot pie was my ultimate comfort food growing up. This wholesome take on the classic recipe uses only breast meat and the filling is light and not greasy. Make the crust and/or the filling ahead of time to make it a quicker weekday meal. Reward yourself with this pie!

Ingredients:

Crust:

2 ¼ c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. sugar, optional

14 Tbsp. shortening (or ½ butter, ½ shortening)

6-8 Tbsp. ice-cold water

1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

Filling:

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 ½ lb.)

3 c. chicken stock, low sodium

1 c. white wine

2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

1 bay leaf

1 thyme sprig

1 rosemary sprig

½ c. unsalted butter or olive oil

2 leeks, thinly sliced

1 shallot, thinly sliced (or onion)

½ c. all-purpose flour

1 c. half & half, optional

2 carrots, peeled and sliced

1 medium potato, peeled and diced

1 c. frozen peas

Kosher salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

Egg for egg wash

Instructions:

For pie dough:

-Combine flour, salt and sugar in a medium bowl. Combine ice water and red wine vinegar in a small bowl and set aside. Cut shortening into flour until the mixture resembles super coarse cornmeal. Add ice-cold liquid one tablespoon at a time and gently mix the dough until it comes together.

-Divide dough into two rounds and wrap in plastic wrap. Let chill in the fridge for at least an hour, or up to 3 days prior to rolling out.

For filling:

-In a medium pot over medium heat, combine chicken, stock, wine, garlic, bay leaf, thyme and rosemary and bring to a simmer. Cook until no longer pink (10-15 minutes). Transfer to a plate and let it cool completely. Strain and reserve liquid (you should have about 2 ¾ cups). Once the chicken is cool, shred or chop into bite-sized pieces. Then, set aside.

-Melt 4 tablespoons butter (or olive oil) in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and shallots and cook until softened (about 5 minutes). Melt in 4 more tablespoons of butter (or olive oil). Stir in ½ c. flour, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. SLOWLY whisk in the strained stock and cream (if using), stirring constantly as the mixture thickens. Add more chicken stock if the mixture is too thick. Season with salt and pepper and return to a simmer.

-Add carrots and potato to the filling mixture and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Stir in chicken and peas. The filling can be made ahead up to this point and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Assembly:

-Roll out bottom pie crust and line a 10-inch deep dish pie pan. Roll out top crust and place on a plate, covered in plastic wrap. Chill both crusts in the fridge before assembling.

-Fill the prepared pie pan with filling. Place top crust on top and seal the crusts together with your preferred crimping style. Make slits in top crusts to allow steam to escape. Brush the top crust with egg wash or cream before placing it in the oven.

-Bake the pie in a preheated 375°F oven for 35-45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling through the steam vents.

-Let sit for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Enjoy alongside a green salad. The completed pie will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days. Enjoy!

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