February 15, 2011

Nicole’s Deconstructed Chicken Pot Pie Fingers for the Little Ones {Naptime Tales from the Trenches}

 Chicken Pot Pie

This is the latest installment of my Tales from the Trenches Series. An ongoing series where friends and readers share their stories and recipes about the great food they fit into family life. We all have tips and tricks to share with each other: when we cook, what we cook and how we cook the delicious food we love to eat. If you are interested in contributing a story and recipe please feel free to contact me. Today my friend Nicole is sharing her recipe for Chicken Pot Pie that she has deconstructed to help it appeal to her children. Not only is Nicole a home cook to boot – we regularly swap recipes and you will definitely see a few of hers in the cookbook – but she also runs a full-time business in New York City. She knows a thing or two about preparing food ahead of time, like in the morning before work or making dinners on the weekends and freezing them for the week. Just look at this Pot Pie recipe, it is perfect for children and adults and comes with freezing instructions!

I didn’t grow up in a casserole household.  I think my mother, having experienced her fair share of casseroles as a child (and, I assume, not positively), made a very conscious choice to steer clear of any dishes calling for canned cream of mushroom soup. So, it was more than three years into my marriage to my husband before I made my first foray the world of “one dish wonders” prompted by my husband’s request for chicken pot pie.

When the request came, one cold Sunday afternoon, I admit to feeling stumped. It seemed too easy.  But, as this was a pre-kids, lazy weekend afternoon, I had plenty of time to explore for recipes.  I poured over cookbooks, scanned the internet, and began experimenting that night.

CHicken Pot Pie Fingers

Now, two kids and several iterations of pot pie later, I’ve finally devised a recipe that I can easily manipulate to fit the amount of time that I do – or don’t – have for making this dish.  I’ve made this recipe in several different formats – one large pan, to feed a crowd; individual pot pie dishes for my husband and I, (that can be decorated with small cookie cutter cut-outs from the puff pastry scrapes for holidays like Valentine’s Day, Easter time, Christmas), etc. But my newest version came in an attempt to make the dish more user-friendly for my kids.

Chicken Pot Pie Filling

The basics of the pot pie concept are great for kids, and its fairly easy to get them to eat – but I noticed recently that the individual pot pies were hard for my eldest daughter, Lila, (now four) to manipulate, because she had to wait a while after breaking the shell to let the food cool down to her temperature liking.  So the other night I tried a new experiment using Lila and her friend Will  as my official testers  – and it worked!

We made an inside-out pot pie – assembling the inside ingredients, then baking them on their own. Separately, we rolled out one strip of puff pastry and, using a pizza wheel, cut them into finger length strips, which we then baked for the last 10 minutes on their own.

Once everything was ready, the kids each got their own bowl of the pot pie mixture, properly cooled, and several puff pastry “fingers,” which they used to dip into the mixture and help them scoop.

Which just goes to show you…there’s no one way to make a one-dish wonder.

Recipe

Chicken Pot Pie Fingers

Ingredients

Ingredients:

1 package of frozen puff pastry, thawed and soft to the touch
2 tbsp butter
1 small onion, finely minced
¼ cup white wine (optional)
2 tbsp flour
3-4 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 cup of frozen peas
½ cup chicken stock
1 jar alfredo sauce
2 ½ – 3 ½ cups shredded chicken (great use for leftover roast chickens, but you can also use a store-bought rotisserie)
1 tsp dried tarragon
1 egg, lightly beaten, with drip of water, for wash

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  1. Melt the butter in a large warm skillet.
  2. Once the pan has heated, add the diced onion and sauté until transclucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. If using the wine, add wine after 5 minutes to deglaze the pan.
  4. Then add flour, and stirring constantly, cook another 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add chicken stock and jar of alfredo sauce.  Whisk together, and turn off light.
  6. Meanwhile, bring pan to of water to boil and cook vegetables until just barely al dente (they will cook longer in the oven).  I also find that this recipe is a great way of utilizing additional leftover vegetables – broccoli, green beans and asparagus have all found their way into this from time to time.
  7. When vegetables are cooked, drain and set aside.
  8. Add the shredded chicken, dried tarragon and cooked vegetables to the sauce mixture.
  9. Grease an 8 x 8 casserole dish, and pour ingredients in.  Chicken/vegetable mixture will need to bake for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly bubbling. Put in to oven.
  10. Roll the puff pastry dough (only one sheet is needed if using the inside-out pot pie version) out to a large rectangle, then lightly brush with egg mixture.  Using a pizza wheel, cut pastry into stripes, and then into fingers.
  11. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake the fingers along with the chicken mixture for the last 10 minutes of its baking.
  12. Serve in bowls, with puff pastry fingers on side for dipping.

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

Note: If you are making the regular pot pie, complete instructions 1-9. Then, roll the dough out to fit your pan.  Drape dough over your pan, and gently seal the dough around the edges.  Brush entire top and sides with egg glaze.  Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Note: If you are making individual pans, and wish to freeze some, make the mixture, add to your ramekin, and allow to cool.  When fully cooled, cover with saran wrap first, then tin foil (will help prevent erosion of tin foil and will better protect your food – just don’t forget to remove saran wrap before baking!)

Naptime Stopwatch

20 minutes prep time.

Naptime Reviews

If the kids like it, it’s a hit!

  • Cookincanuck

    My kids are big pot pie fans and they would love this fun take on the classic recipe.

  • Marla {family fresh cooking}

    This is a great take on chicken pot pie. We would all love it over here :)

  • http://www.whatmegansmaking.com megan @ whatmegansmaking

    what a good idea! And this meal looks so so good :)

  • http://www.dinnerwiththeshivers.blogspot.com Jessica

    Stumbled across your blog, and just wanted to say this looks so good! I just made chicken pot pie recently, and this would have gone over even better with the kids. Thanks for sharing!

    Jessica
    http://www.dinnerwiththeshivers.blogspot.com

  • http://stopdropandblog.com FireMom

    We’re huge chicken pot pie fans, but this seems like a fun little twist. I’ll try to go this route next time. Thank you!