I hope your Pi day was full of the best of the best - whether for you that meant a traditional fruit-filled gluten free pastry or a more modern twist like a pizza pie (with my favorite Against the Grain premade pizza, peut-être?). My celebration started on Sunday, but after taking so much time to make my pie I had zero energy to write about it that night or in time to post it Monday. So here it is now! My very difficult but completely delicious and possibly worth it although I've sworn to never make it again gluten free Chicken Pot Pie!
I had found this recipe earlier in the day from a tweet linking to a Jamie Oliver post. I ignored the warning label that the difficulty was "Showing Off" (at my own peril) and decided that I would make this recipe - with so few ingredients, how could it be hard? Ha. Ha. Ha. (Evil Kerry really reveled in Optimistic Kerry's pain).
The recipe itself seems straightforward, but you have to start off by converting British units to how we cook in the US (don't worry, I've done it below for you!). Then come the silly things - I have a mini food processor but not a full size one, so I could do a little work in that before I decided to transfer to my stand mixer to add the other ingredients that wouldn't fit - very messy when gluten free flour is involved. Since I didn't want to clean a pie pan (on top of every cooking utensil I have in the house, as I soon learned), I halved the pie recipe and just placed it on the top, using 9 inch foil pans with a bit of Crisco as the base. This worked really well! If you're feeling like a Cooking Queen/King/Royal though feel free to go all the way.
I tried a bit of the pastry crust before it spent some time in the fridge, and I was disappointed. I really started to talk up how lousy that part would be, and became quite the Debbie Downer about the whole affair. Unfortunately (fortunately?), the crust tasted delicious when it came out of the oven, and this was one of the best things I've made. If only I hadn't promised I would never make it again...
The recipe mentions that you could use precooked chicken, but being a complete idiot I figured it couldn't take that much time/be that hard to follow the recipe exactly. I also didn't trust rotisserie chicken at the store to be gluten free, and what was the point of making a pot pie *gluten free* if it potentially wasn't? It was also insanely delicious chicken, so if you have an afternoon where you're snowed in, or realize you hate everyone you know, this is the full-day recipe that will make you a star chef to your family or those other people you've decided you hate but for some reason have decided to feed.
For the crust, I used about a cup of gluten free flour that I'd kept in an airtight container in the freezer from the America's Test Kitchen How Can It Be Gluten Free Volume 2. I'm sure any flour you have would be successful here!
Without further ado, my version of Jamie Oliver's blog's recipe. Strap on your running shoes and here we go!
Total Time: 4 hours
For the Pie:
- 4 chicken thighs
- 2 large leeks, saving and washing some of the green tops as well as the white bottoms
- 1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- 5 sprigs of thyme
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large carrots
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 5 oz crème fraîche
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch (recipe says cornflour but I didn't want to buy it when I knew cornstarch and water would thicken just as well!)
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the Pastry
- 1 cup gluten free flour (I used ATK's All Purpose Flour Blend recipe)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon gluten free xantham gum - I didn't have any and didn't realize until too late, so I omitted it and had no issues (there wasn't any in my flour blend either); as a bonus there was no gross xantham gum taste!
- 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded - use a bag of shredded or a food processor on a block of cheese, which was my method
- 7/8 of a stick of butter, cold and cut into cubes
- 2 eggs - one whole and one just yolk with water for glaze the crust
- 1 tablespoon gluten free whole grain mustard
- 1 tablespoons crème fraîche
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- Prep the goods! Thoroughly wash and dry the leeks - I cut off the tip-tops of each, then worked with the still-green-but-not-as-dirty middle parts remaining before digging in separately to the white pieces. I recommend washing them by hand then cutting the green parts into large pieces then the white parts into tiny pieces and washing them separately in a salad spinner. Wash, peel and slice carrots, and start thawing frozen peas.
- In a large pot, add chicken and top with the green leek pieces, black peppercorns, and 3 sprigs of thyme. Cover with water about an inch above the chicken and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer (just below medium for me), and cover so there's just a little gap for air to escape for an hour.
- While your chicken is simmering, start in on your pastry crust. If you're a genius pull our your bag of shredded cheddar and skip to the next step, otherwise take a few pieces off a block and run them through a food processor (or mini processor if you felt like suffering Kerry-style). Put in a bowl to use next.
- To a food processor or well-covered stand mixer (seriously this shit will fly everywhere), blend together your flour, xantham gum and salt, then add in your cheddar and butter. Pulse or blend on high until everything is totally incorporated.
- In a separate bowl, stir together one egg, mustard, crème fraîche and water with a fork until combined, then slowly pour into the flour mix while it's running on low. Continue to run until the mixture becomes a soft dough, then roll out onto a large piece of plastic wrap in a shape slightly larger than your pie cover (I used the pie cover as my guide), and shape plastic wrap tightly around dough. Place in fridge until firm.
- Right about now your chicken should be ready to strain, so pull out your leeks and thyme and place your chicken in a medium pot, then strain the broth into the pot. Bring the pot to medium heat and boil for about 30 minutes, when the broth will reduce by half and smell delish.
- Start washing your dishes! You've collected a whole bunch right about now and god only knows you don't want to save them for later.
- Take chicken pot off heat and leave to cool for a few minutes, until you can start pulling out the chicken and shredding it into a bowl. I used tongs to pull out the chicken, and it was so tender and delicious (tenderrr, if you ever watched "Recess" in the '90s, below) that the meat literally fell off the bone and I just used two forks to break it down a bit. Do whatever you need to to attain the same result.
- In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add in white leeks and the rest of your thyme, along with carrots and peas. Cover and cook on medium-low for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add in shredded chicken, along with crème fraîche and a cup of your stock. In a small cup, combine cornstarch and cold water, stirring with a fork until combined and all lumps are removed, the pour half into the pan. Heat through on medium low until the sauce thickens and everything is incorporated, about 5 minutes, adding more cornstarch mixture if necessary. Season with s&p to taste.
- Line 9 inch foil pan (or real pan if you're a glutton for punishment) with a bit of Crisco or other gluten free vegetable shortening. Pour in pie mixture, and top with pie crust from the fridge. Crimp edges of crust over the pan and cut some lines to let out steam, then mix egg yolk and cold water and brush some over the top of the crust.
- Preheat oven to 400, and place pie to rest in the fridge for 10 minutes. Add a bit more egg wash once your 10 minutes are up.
- Bake for 35 minutes, then let cool for 5 before serving.
CONGRATS! You've made it out alive. Pour a glass of white wine and celebrate your culinary skills. You're a real maverick.