Laurie Notaro Gets Cozy with a Chicken Pot Pie

This week in Phoenix New Times, Laurie Notaro tells us what she really thinks about some high falutin' culinary trends. Turns out the Eugene, Oregon-based author returns to her hometown of Phoenix when she gets the chance, and heads straight to Rosita's. Or Mrs. White's. Anyplace they don't serve nettles. Here on Chow Bella she's sharing her rocky relationship with pot pie -- and her favorite recipe for the dish. No pig lips included.

Laurie Notaro

​The first memory I have of any pot pie was feeling my stomach curdle when my mother would draw a cookie sheet out of the oven with five gurgling Banquet individual-sized tins on them, spilling and bubbling their drippy innards all over their insufficiently sealed tops.

They were my sister's favorite meal, and we had them on her birthday, on the night once a week when she got to pick what we were having for dinner, or when they were on sale three for a dollar at Basha's. Which was often.

I hated pot pies, mainly because I think they tasted like they were 33 cents each and had ingredients in them that had been frozen longer than I had been alive. I hated the bendy carrots and the mushy peas. I don't think I was the only one who hated them either, due to the fact I know I couldn't be the only one who thought that pot pies always looked to me as if someone had sneezed repeatedly on an otherwise happily available pie crust.

As an adult, I rarely saw a pot pie on a menu unless I was at Claim Jumper and wanted a snot pot as big as my bathtub. My scorn for pot pies remained, and I rarely gave them a second thought.

Until Carla Hall changed all that with her ecstatic pot pie hissy fit on Top Chef All Stars last season. Not only did she get my attention, but she did for pot pies what Oprah did for Dickens--brought them back into the spotlight and made them trendy again.

Carla's pot pie looked so good I sought out the recipe online, and combined with Ina Garten's recipe (Carla's called for additionally baking a cloche for the pot pie with a tin foil ball form underneath, and I'm sorry, but if I'm going to make a hat, it's going to be for me, not for my dinner), you, too, can have a pot pie on your table tonight with half an hour of prep and an hour of baking time if you cheat a little. It's simple, marvelously delicious and comes out to only a little more than .33 apiece (considering inflation), it just doesn't taste like it. I've made it four times now, worked out the kinks and never once felt my stomach curdle.

I swear you'll have the happiest of hissy fits. Thank you, Carla.

Get the recipe after the jump.



by Chef Carla Hall/Ina Garten

Makes 4 good-sized servings (one 8-9 inch pot pie or four individual pot pies)

One package/two sheets of prepared Pie Crust /pastry dough for crust on bottom and top
Or Ina Garten's pastry recipe, which should be doubled for crust on bottom and top:

* 3 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
* 1/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
* 1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water
* 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
For the pastry, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the shortening and butter and mix quickly with your fingers until each piece is coated with flour. Pulse 10 times, or until the fat is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water; process only enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together. Dump the dough out onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

More or less Carla Hall's Chicken Filling/Veloute

* 2 chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on, roasted or boiled, then shredded or diced (a store bought rotisserie chicken is excellent for this; use the chicken itself for filling and the remainder can be used for homemade stock)
* 3 tablespoons olive oil
* Kosher salt
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade or 2 cans canned
* 2 chicken bouillon cubes or 1 tsp of Better that Bouillon Chicken base
* ½ yellow onions, chopped
* 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/4 cup heavy cream
* 2 diced carrots, blanched for 2 minutes in stock
*2 celery stalks, diced
* 1 cup frozen peas (2 cups)
* 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
2 sprigs rosemary
1 sprig sage
1 bay leaf

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
With kitchen twine, tie rosemary and sage in a bundle. In a sauce pan, it to chicken stock, bouillon or chicken base, diced carrots, bay leaf and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce simmer for 10 minutes. While chicken stock is boiling, heat olive oil at medium high in sauce pan and add diced onions and celery until onions become tender and transparent, about 10 minutes. Stir in flour a little at a time, making a base for a roux, until smooth. Remove herb bundle from stock, remove bay leaf; add stock to the roux/onion/celery mixture, a cup at a time. It will thicken quickly. Add heavy cream, stir thoroughly until. Add chicken, parsley, and peas. Simmer for 10 minutes.

While veloute is simmering, divide each pastry sheet/dough batch into quarters and roll each piece into an 8-inch circle. Divide the filling equally among 4 ovenproof bowls, presssing dough on bottom of dish, then add filling/veloute. Brush the outside edges of each bowl with the egg wash, then place the additional pastry on top. Crimp the dough to fold over the side, pressing it with fork to make it stick. Brush the dough with egg wash and make 3 slits in the top. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.

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