Chicken-Vegetable Pot Pie with Puff Pastry Crust
As delicious as this pot pie is, it’s hard to believe so much of it comes from the freezer section of the supermarket. Frozen puff pastry makes a delicious, light, and crisp crust with no mixing and no mess. (For the best results, let the frozen pastry thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using it.) Frozen pearl onions eliminate fussy peeling, and frozen artichoke hearts mean not having to deal with the prickly choke.
4 cups homemade or low-salt chicken broth
1-1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 5 thighs)
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 slices bacon, cut cross-wise into 1/4-inch strips
1 medium carrot, cut into medium dice (about 3/4 cup)
1/2 small bulb fennel, cut into medium dice (about 3/4 cup)
1-1/2 cups medium cremini or button mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
1 9-oz. package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed at room temperature and drained if necessary (about 1 cup)
3/4 cup frozen pearl onions, thawed at room temperature
1 medium clove garlic, finely chopped
3 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. finely grated fresh lemon zest
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
6 Tbs. unsalted butter
6 Tbs. all-purpose flour
8 oz. frozen puff pastry, thawed in the refrigerator overnight
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400° F.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the chicken broth to a simmer. Add the chicken thighs, cover, and cook at a gentle simmer over medium-low to low heat, until just cooked through, about 15 minutes (check on the broth periodically, to make sure it’s simmering, not boiling). Transfer the poached chicken to a plate to cool. Boil the broth, uncovered, over medium-high heat until reduced to 2-1/2 cups, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until just barely crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the carrot and fennel to the pan with the bacon and cook until browned in spots, about 2 minutes. Transfer th mixture to a large bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving behind as much fat as possible. Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Add the artichokes, onions, and garlic to the pan and cook until browned in spots, about 2 minutes. Transfer the mushroom mixture to the bowl with the carrot and fennel.
Dice the cooled chicken, discarding any excess fat. Add the diced chicken, parsley, lemon zest, and thyme to the bowl of vegetables.
Melt the butter in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking, until caramel-colored, about 4 minutes. Whisk in the reduced chicken broth and simmer, whisking occasionally, for 15 minutes, to thicken the sauce and cook off the raw flour flavor (adjust the heat as necessary to keep the sauce from cooking too rapidly).
While the sauce simmers, remove the puff pastry from the refrigerator and unfold it on a clean work surface. Trim to an 8-inch square, and then cut that into four 4-inch squares. Transfer the pastry squares to a parchment-lined or lightly oiled baking sheet. Brush the pastry lightly with the egg (you won’t need all of the egg). Bake until puffed and very light golden-brown, about 10 minutes.
When the sauce is done simmering, season it to taste with salt and pepper. Stir the sauce into the chicken and vegetable mixture and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the chicken mixture to an 8-inch square (2-quart) baking dish and arrange the parbaked pastry squares on top. Bake the pot pie until the crust is deeply browned and the filling bubbles around the edges, 15 to 20 minutes.