When it’s cold and snowing it’s nice to know that you can go to your own freezer and pull out a quick comforting meal. These chicken pot pies in small ramekins are just the ticket!
I don’t make a bottom crust for these because #1 it reduces the calories, #2 the bottom crust always gets sogbog and #3 they’re easier and quicker to make plus you just don’t miss it.
All you do is bung some boneless, skinless chicken thighs into your crock pot and let them cook a couple of hours on high then add some cut up veg- onions, potatoes, carrots, celery, fennel, turnips, leeks, parsnips-whatever you have and whatever you like. Add a bay leaf or other herbs, a bit of salt and pepper and let it all cook away until it’s cooked through and the veg are al dente.
You can even put the chicken and veg all in together if you won’t be around to add them later.
When all is cooked, drain the chicken and veg then shred the chicken and stir in a little bechamel (or plain white sauce) to coat everything and make a sauce for the pot pie. Fill 6 ounce ramekins with the mixture, cut rounds (or even squares) of pie dough to cover the top, press around the edges to seal, cut a few vent holes for the steam to escape, place on a parchment lined tray to catch any overspill and then bake them immediately in a 375F oven until the pie crust is puffed and golden and the filling is bubbly- about 30 minutes. I bake these quite often in my little counter top Cuisinart Convection/Toaster oven.
Or let the filling cool, fill then top the ramekins with the pie dough and freeze them for future use. To bake the frozen pot pies- don’t thaw tthem- just add a bit of cooking time.
These are great because you can put what you like into them -just to your own taste, the crust tastes better and also you don’t have a lot of the fillers and trans-fats that commercial products often have in them. You can make them vegetarian by using seitan or tofu or just plain vegetables.
I usually make 8 or 10 of these, cook a couple for our dinner immediately and freeze the rest for a fairly quick no fuss dinner – just add a salad and a glass of wine and we’re eating in almost no time at all.
I usually have some kind of leftover pie crust in the freezer from another dish to use but here is a recipe for corn meal pate brisee again that works great with these. And as if I haven’t put the recipe for bechamel on here many times before here it is again:
for the Bechamel:
- 2 cups milk
- 2 small bay leaves
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon season/garlic salt
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 Tablespoons half and half cream
Heat the milk with the bay leaves until just coming to the boil. I do this in a 2 cup Pyrex glass measuring cup in the microwave for ease. In a medium heavy bottomed (preferably copper clad) sauce pan heat the butter until melted and bubbling. Add the flour and season salt and stir until a paste forms. Remove the bay leaves from the hot milk and add the milk to the flour paste in the sauce pan. Stir constantly with a whisk until slightly thickened. Mix the egg yolk with the half and half and add to the mixture in the pan stirring as you add to incorporate it without making scrambled eggs. Cook until thickened.
Corn Meal Pie Dough or Pate Brisee:
- 2 cups AP flour
- 1/2 cup of cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 pound fresh butter, cold and cut into small bits
- 1/3 cup iced water as needed
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flour, corn meal, salt and sugar together until combined. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Turn the machine to full “on” and add the iced water in a slow steady stream, adding only enough to make the dough come together. Process as little as possible. Place a two large squares of plastic wrap on your counter. Turn 1/2 of the dough out onto each. Using the plastic wrap form each into a disk and place in the fridge for an hour.
Another amalgamation meal! 🙂