Eats & Drinks | Catastrophe Kitchen | Perfect Pot Pie
This recipe requires the cooking “skills” of a 1960s Microwave Queen/King (dare I say Prince?). Seriously, we are going to make a pot pie that is creamy and savory and heart-warming and soul-satisfying—the best you’ve ever had—all while using a microwave. Let me introduce you to my life of lies. “Yes, I did slave over this meal for you. Appreciate me.”
Seriously, though, this pot pie reminds me of the ones I’d get as a child at Baker’s Square (a pie chain [yes, I said pie chain] in Chicago). It’s the best thing in the world. And you can steam your veggies and roast your chicken, but you don’t have to do all that. You can be the one eliciting the jealous side-eye from your neighbor—until you clue them in, because we are all in this together, and shit like this deserves to be broadcast, yo. Help out your fellow man.
You will need:
- 1-9” pie crust (I use this one; you can use a store-bought one and I won’t tell. Also, super secret: I did not have any vodka, so I used gin in my pie dough. It turned out fine!! Catastrophe averted.)
- 3.5 cups cooked chicken, or the meat off one rotisserie chicken (minus drumsticks), chopped
- 2/3 to 1 cup each, frozen or fresh carrots, pearl onions and peas. (I always use fresh carrots and frozen onions/peas)
- 5 oz. unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup flour
- 1.5 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups whipping cream
- 1-2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp ground pepper
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- pinch cayenne
- 1 small bunch fresh thyme or 1 Tbsp dried thyme
- 1-2 bay leaves
This may seem like a lot of ingredients (it totally did when I typed it out), but it really is not. You can do this. Let’s go.
So either make the pie crust or skip that step altogether and buy the ones that come rolled out for you. Keep it in the fridge until you’re ready for it. Set your oven to 425F with a rack roughly in the middle.
I used a rotisserie chicken, fresh carrots, and frozen peas and onions because I am a single working mother at the end of my rope. I’ve done it the long way before, and it honestly doesn’t come out any better (except I am not a fan of frozen, pre-chopped carrots). So either martyr yourself needlessly or take the shortcut like the 21st century beast you are.
I start the carrots first: Cover them generously with water in a large-ish microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup. Put them in the microwave for two minutes.
Start your béchamel. Oh yes, you best believe I said béchamel. That is as French as it comes, and this is a mostly microwaved meal! You are fusioning it like a champ. Béchamel is a fancy French name for white gravy, so don’t get your panties in a bunch—just put your butter in a large saucepan on low. Once it’s melted, dump in your flour and whisk it together. Let it cook on medium-low for a couple of minutes or until it smells nutty.
During this time, the microwave probably beeped. When it beeps, dump your onions into the carrot bowl and nuke it for two more minutes. At the end of those two minutes, you’ll add the peas and go for two minutes more. Toss them in a strainer when they’re done.
Once the flour smells nutty, you can add the broth, cream, herbs, and spices. Turn the heat to medium and whisk them in (in that order).
Let your béchamel cook on medium-low, whisking often, until it thickens and bubbles and you can make a track on the back of your spatula through it with your finger. (Lick your finger. Reconsider sharing this meal with anyone.)
Once the béchamel is bubbly and ready and your veggies are done, you can turn the sauce to all the low while you assemble the pies. I like to put my pot pies in individual ramekins, but you can do one in a 9×9″ or 8×8″ pan or a round, deep-dish pie plate. Ramekins are better because you get a whole entire pie to eat for yourself. So I’ll continue with instructions as though you made the better decision. Divide the chicken and veg between your containers.
(One of them has no onions because the BF refuses to eat them. Don’t even start; I know.)
This is where I take my dough out and roll it to crust thickness (¼ inch or so). Then put your ramekins on the rolled-out dough and use the top of each as a guide for tracing/cutting the dough.
Toss the bay leaves and thyme branches and ladle your super amazing and fancy béchamel on top of the ingredients in the ramekins. You’ll want to use all of it, believe me. Just don’t let it come all the way to the top of the container; leave about ¼ inch of room at the top.
Plop the pastry lids on and slit them a couple of times to vent. Pop the pies in the oven and set your timer for 25 minutes. It should take 25-30 minutes to get the top to start browning, which lets you know it’s ready. All the components are cooked, so you’re really just baking the top. I accidentally left the pies out on the hot oven for a few minutes, which melted some of the butter pockets in the dough and pockmarked my pies. A minor setback! Which you can avoid by putting the pies directly into the oven instead of trying to take photos for your adoring public.
Use this time to clean your kitchen (or drink a glass of wine while someone else cleans it, if you’re lucky enough that you have someone who loves you like XO). Then your meal will be ready and you will have a clean kitchen and basically you’re living the dream.
The pies need to cool at least ten minutes before you attempt eating them or the roof of your mouth will melt like the faces of the Nazis in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Fifteen minutes is probably better.
Dive in. Just luxuriate in it. This is the best thing you’ve ever made. Maybe the best thing you’ve ever had in your mouth. And you used the microwave!! Chuckle to yourself as your family and/or friends festoon you with laurels. Beast mode, unlocked.