It’s hard to believe it’s November already. With daytime temperatures still in the low 80s here in Dallas, it’s not exactly comfort food weather. (Not that I’m complaining!) My dinner choice for last night was classic comfort food, though, with a twist – Lighter Chicken Potpie from the October 2007 issue of Everyday Food.
We had movie plans with friends in the afternoon, so I did some of the food prep ahead of time. I baked and shredded two bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves and sliced up four carrots and an onion in the morning. When dinnertime rolled around, I cooked up the carrots, onions, and some thyme in olive oil for about 9 minutes. I added 1/4 cup flour, cooked the mixture for a minute, and then gradually added 2 1/2 cups of milk.
Once that came to a simmer and thickened up a bit, I removed it from the heat and stirred in 10 oz. frozen (but thawed) peas, my pre-cooked chicken, and 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice. Then, everything went into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate.
This is where things went a bit awry.
I haven’t worked with phyllo dough in a long time. A long, long time. I seriously think I was a junior in college, making Dr. O-To-Be phyllo cups with chocolate mousse for Valentine’s Day or something. Ancient history.
Anyway, I managed to forget about the fact that phyllo needs to be THAWED before it can be handled effectively. A quick review of the ingredient list would’ve reminded me (“6 phyllo sheets, thawed”) , but I skimmed right over it. Phyllo takes two hours to thaw on the counter top, and I was about 15 minutes away from needing to use it in the recipe. Not good. In a mild state of panic, I decided to put the packaged dough in a sink full of lukewarm water.
It actually worked out OK, though the very bottom edge of the dough ended up a bit soggy. The dough thawed enough to be rolled out, and I cut a stack of six sheets into an 11-inch circle. Every second sheet was brushed with 1 teaspoon olive oil, and then the phyllo stack topped off the pie.
After 20 minutes in in oven at 400 F and 15 minutes of cool time, dinner was served.
This picture isn’t the best – sorry. I discovered last night that olive oil and flash photography don’t mix well. I needed that extra hour of daylight in the evening.
All in all, the potpie turned out pretty well, though. It was thick and hearty, even with the lightened filling and crust. I’ll make it again, though probably not for company.
TIPS: Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are familiar and easy. If you’ve never worked with bone-in, skin-on breasts, though, I’d highly recommend giving it a whirl. The meat stays incredibly moist, and you can just discard the skin after cooking to keep things light.
Remember to thaw your phyllo! 🙂
Recipe link: Lighter Chicken Potpie