When I was growing up, birthdays in our family came with certain privileges. Most importantly, my brother usually had to do my chores for me (and, of course, I did his when his birthday came around). One day without anyone breathing down my neck for doing a sketchy job of picking up the dog poop was always a good thing. Especially since my birthday is in February, a time of year when picking up the dog poop usually involved finding it hidden in the snow and kicking the frozen piles with your boot until they dislodged enough to scoop them up and throw them away.
During our homeschool years, sometimes we even convinced Mom to excuse us from school if it was our birthday. This did not always succeed, but it was always worth trying for.
Another privilege of birthdays was choosing what we got to have for birthday dinner. For me, it was generally one of two items: Parmesan chicken or this chicken pot pie. It still is, actually–my parents came up for my birthday last year, and this is what I made while they were here, because it’s one of my favorite foods in the whole world.
Chicken Pot Pie
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/3 cup chopped onion (my mom says this is optional but I’m not sure why you wouldn’t use it)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
2 cups cut-up cooked chicken
1 cooked, diced potato
Assorted vegetables (whatever you have on hand or prefer)
1 double pie crust, uncooked
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Blend in flour, onion, salt, and pepper. Cook and stir over low heat until smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat; stir in broth and milk. Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils. Cook, stirring, one minute. Stir in chicken and veggies. Pour into uncooked pie crust and cover with top crust. Cut several slits to vent. Bake at 425 for 30-35 minutes. You may wish to cover the edges with foil to keep them from browning too quickly. Also, it’s not a bad idea to put a cookie sheet or something underneath to catch drips if it runs over.
Notes: I didn’t have cooked chicken or chicken broth on hand, so I took two raw chicken breast and covered with water, then simmered with some celery, onion, salt, and pepper for about an hour. This gave me 2+ cups cooked chicken + about a quart of chicken broth. I microwaved the potato, since I didn’t have that on hand either.
For veggies, I used 2 sliced carrots and about half a cup each of frozen peas and frozen corn. You can use whatever you like and have on hand.
Notes on pie crust: It is, in my opinion, perfectly acceptable to use a store-bought refrigerated pie crust (like Pillsbury’s) for something like this, especially if you are in a time crunch. However, if you have the time, nothing is as delicious as real home made pie crust. I made a big batch of pie dough a while back and froze it in single-crust portions, so all I had to do was thaw it and roll it out. This was almost as speedy as using store-bought pie crust and way tastier. Besides, it also resulted in pie crust cookies–you know, when you take the extra pie crust and roll it out and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and cut it into strips and bake it?
Note after eating this pie for dinner: My stomach is so happy right now.
One more note because apparently I like notes: I’ve realized, over the last several years of reading cookbooks and such, that apparently when most people talk about or write about chicken pot pie, they are referring to something that does not have a bottom crust, only a top. However, we’ve always made chicken pot pie with 2 crusts and quite honestly, I think the more pie crust in this world, the better.