Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, recently published her ninth book of fresh, seasonal recipes polished to perfection. Make It Ahead is everything you love about Garten’s produce-friendly, anyone-can-make-it cuisine with prep done beforehand so you can get out of the kitchen and into your salad right on time.
I believe in mastering one recipe and then making variations. This is a twist on a classic American pot pie but dressed up for company. It has French ingredients, like leeks and tarragon, and I use puff pastry to make the crust easy!
- 4 split (2 whole) chicken breasts, bone-in and skin-on (2 1/2 pounds)
- Good olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
- 4 leeks, chopped, white and light-green parts only (should come out to 4 cups)
- 5 carrots, 1/2-inch diced (should come out to 2 cups)
- 4 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, stems discarded; sliced
- 1/4 cup minced fresh tarragon leaves
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups good chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 6 tablespoons cream sherry
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas, such as Bird's Eye Garden Peas
- 3 sheets frozen puff pastry, such as Pepperidge Farm (2 boxes), defrosted
- 1 extra-large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
- Fleur de sel
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, place on a sheet pan, brush with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Roast for 35 minutes, until cooked through. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
- Discard the skin and bones and cut the meat in 3/4-inch dice. You should have about 5 cups of chicken.
- Meanwhile, heat the butter in a medium heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, such as Le Creuset.
- Add the leeks and carrots and sauté over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until they begin to soften.
- Add the garlic, mushrooms and tarragon and cook for 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle on the flour and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
- Add the chicken stock and sherry, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes, until the mixture is slightly thickened.
- Add the cream, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the frozen peas and chicken, taste for seasonings, and pour the mixture into six (2-cup) ovenproof serving bowls.
- Raise the oven to 400°F.
- On a lightly floured board, roll each pastry to an 11-inch square.
- Cut out 2 circles from each sheet of pastry that are each 1/2 inch larger than the rim of the bowl.
- Brush the outer edges of the bowls with the egg wash.
- Place a pastry circle over each bowl, adhering it with the egg wash.
- Brush the pastry with egg wash and sprinkle with fleur de sel and pepper.
- Make three 1-inch slits in each pastry for steam to escape.
- Refrigerate the pot pies for at least 30 minutes.
- Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Serve hot.
Note: The egg wash both affixes the pastry to the dish and makes a lovely browned crust.
Make it ahead: Assemble the pot pies completely, cover tightly, and refrigerate for up to a day or freeze for up to a month. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator (if frozen) and bake before serving.
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