Well, we finally got a bit of snow this past week: a couple of inches evenly spaced to have just enough time to melt in between snowfalls. Thankfully, things didn’t get too icy. Considering the season has been positively balmy, it was a welcome bit of change. I had the day off during the first snowfall and was struck by a cooking binge. The end of the day found me with roasted banana bread and chicken pot pie topped with gluten-free puff pastry, with the dinner rounded out by new potatoes, green beans, and kale chips. Yes, at the end of the day, I had plenty of dishes…but that doesn’t guarantee that they all came out well. My “banana bread” was a ruin. The taste was similar to what you might expect, but only if you could ignore the texture, which was remarkably akin to play dough.
I had decided to try a new flour mixture, lured by the promise of sorghum flour and millet flour, two of my favorite whole grain flours. But while I was measuring in he various ingredients, tiny alarm bells began to ring. Over half the mixture is starches? Millet is the same weight as rice flour and sorghum nearly there…they can’t need that much balance. Isn’t it supposed to be 60/40 grains-to-starches, max? An entire quarter of the mix is potato flour…? And there was the trouble. Too much starches, specifically potato starch. Of lately, I’ve been using more of it, because I love the elasticity it adds, but too much of the starch, at the least, means baked goods that rise beautifully in the oven, only to sink and shrink as they cool. At the worst, it means playdough banana bread.
Undaunted by the failed banana bread, I figured I would try my hand at Nicole’s Gluten-Free Puff Pastry. This rolling and turning business couldn’t be that hard…right? Truth be told, I’m not sure if I did it right, but there was a lot of rolling and folding and chilling and pressing that left me with a (fairly) manageable dough with the butter well-incorporated. And since I had puff pastry, I might as well make some Chicken Pot Pie for the pastry dough to top. It’s only logical.
Lucky for me (and M) my first attempt at Chicken Pot Pie turned out much better than my banana bread. Truth be told, the puff pastry didn’t puff much, but it did make an extra-buttery, beautifully crunchy top shell. My recipe for Chicken Pot Pie is inspired by Ina Garten’s–her’s was the first I stumbled upon that seemed classic. But Ina’s recipe is huge (even though it claims to feed four), so I immediately cut it down. And I didn’t have all of the ingredients. It all worked out in my favor, though. Instead of 1 1/2 sticks of butter and 1/4 cup of heavy cream, my gravy gets by on a bit of oil, a splash of milk, and only two tablespoons of butter. Let’s just put the pie crusts out of our heads, for the moment. But quite seriously, if you need a dairy free recipe as well, and already have a reliable dairy-free pie crust up your sleeve, this recipe is a cinch to adapt! Chock full of vegetables and warmed gently by spices, it was the perfect dinner for the day of our first snow.
Gluten-Free Chicken Pot Pie
- 1 prepared batch of uncooked pie dough or puff pastry, chilled
- 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or 2 BL, SL chicken breasts)
- 2 1/2 c. low-sodium chicken stock
- 1 chicken bouillon cube (I used a packet of Trader Joe’s Better Than Bouillon)–make sure the brand is GF
- 4 Tbsp olive oil or canola oil
- 2 Tbsp butter, divided
- 2 small (or 1 large) onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup gluten free flour mix (I used 2 parts white rice flour to 1 part cornstarch–just trade off spoonfuls, it doesn’t need to be exact)
- 2 Tbsp milk or cream
- 1 c. chopped carrots, par-cooked (confession: I tossed mine in the microwave for 2-3 minutes)
- 1/2 c. celery, finely chopped
- 1/2 (heaping) c. frozen peas (about 5 oz or half a bag)
- 1 c. frozen pearl onions
- 1 Tbsp rosemary
- 1 tsp. poultry seasoning
- 1 tsp. minced garlic
- 1 tsp. paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 egg, beaten with 1 Tbsp of water for an eggwash
If pan-frying the chicken, heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a large saucepan. Add chicken and cook over medium heat for about 20-30 minutes or until browned and cooked through. If roasting chicken, preheat oven to 350 degree F, lightly rub chicken with olive oil and roast for 35-45 minutes until cooked through. Sprinkle cooked meat with salt and pepper and set aside to cool. Turn the oven up to 375 degrees F. Place your crust dough on the counter to come to room temperature.
While the chicken is cooking, chop all vegetables and measure out the flour mix. Pour the chicken stock into a small pot and heat until simmering. Add the olive oil and chopped onion to the saucepan where you cooked the chicken (or scrape a bit of the brown tasty bits from the roasting pan into a new saucepan). Cook over medium-low heat until the onion turns translucent, about 10 minutes. Melt in 1 Tbsp of butter and then turn the heat to low. Add the flour and stir constantly for about 2 minutes, scraping up all of the sauce from the bottom of the pan until the roux turns golden brown. Add the chicken stock and continue to stir until thoroughly combined. Simmer over low heat for 1-2 minutes, until thickened. Add milk, rosemary, poultry seasoning, garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper and stir until well incorporated. Add in carrots, celery, peas, and pearl onions. Cube the cooled chicken and add to the vegetables. Mix well.
Pour the mixture into a large casserole dish or into 4-6 individual, oven-proof dishes. Smooth the top and sprinkle over a pinch each of salt and pepper. Roll out the dough to about 1/4-1/3 inch thick, larger than the top of your dish(es). Mix the egg and water together into an egg wash and rub some of the wash all along the edge of the dish. This will help the crust stick. Place the dough over your casserole, pressing it gently to the sides of the dish to seal it. Brush the entire top with egg wash and cut a slit or three to allow the steam to escape. Place the casserole dish onto a jelly roll pan (a baking sheet with a low rim) to save your oven from any drips. Place into the preheated oven and cook for 1 hour, until pie crust is golden and crisp and the gravy is bubbling.