Chicken pot pie is true comfort food. The flaky crust paired with the creamy chicken and vegetable filling is one hearty meal. And most people I know agree: When it comes to pot pie, the crust is the best part.
If you want to make it in advance, there are several ways to make and freeze so you don’t end up with a soggy crust or a thin filling.
It’s like lasagne: You can make, bake, cool and freeze. Or you can make, assemble and freeze. Either way, when you’re ready to cook, there’s no need to thaw. Just add a good 15-20 minutes of extra baking time.
Another way is to just make the filling, cool it and store in freezer bags. This way, you can make several batches of filling and place the bags flat in the freezer. If you make your own dough for the crust, you can make it, shape it into a disk and freeze it, too. Thaw the filling and dough overnight. You can roll out the dough for the bottom crust, add the filling and then finish with the top crust in the time it takes to preheat the oven.
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To freeze an unbaked pot pie, assemble it in a pie plate or dish. Place it in the freezer, dish and all. Once frozen, pop it out of the pie plate, wrap in foil and then in freezer-quality plastic wrap. Freeze up to 3 months. When ready to bake, unwrap it and place it back in the pie plate. Brush the top with an egg wash and place in a 375-degree oven. For unbaked pot pie, allow at least 50 minutes to fully cook. If the edges brown too much, cover with strips of foil.
To freeze an already baked chicken pot pie, cool it completely after baking. Once cool, follow the same instructions as above. To reheat, there’s no need to thaw it. Reheat in 375-degree oven for about 35 minutes.
Puff-Pastry Chicken Pot Pie
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup chopped onion
2 to 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth or stock
1 cup reduced-fat milk
2 cups frozen peas and carrots
2 cups cubed or shredded cooked chicken
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon Morton Nature’s Seasons seasoning blend
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place 6 (6- to 8-ounce) ramekins on a baking sheet. Set aside.
In a saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onion and saute until it is just turning golden. Sprinkle in 2 tablespoons flour and cook 1 minute. Whisk in the broth and milk. Cook on medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture has thickened. Add the peas and carrots, chicken, thyme, seasoning blend, salt and black pepper to taste. Cook about 5 minutes. If mixture is too thin, scoop out some of the liquid into a small bowl and mix in the remaining 1 tablespoon of flour. Stir back into the sauce and heat a few more minutes to thicken.
Divide the mixture into the ramekins. Cut out puff pastry rounds to just fit over the filling. Brush the top with egg wash.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until pastry round is puffed and golden brown, and the filling is bubbly.
Remove from oven and serve, or cool and freeze.
Yield: 6 servings.