Chicken Pot Pie

December 21, 2013 in Categories: , , by

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Chicken Pot Pie 1This recipe was inspired by a “cream” sauce that I created for a recipe in The Paleo Approach Cookbook.   Similar to this recipe, the sauce uses cauliflower blended into broth with some herbs to create a thick creamy and delicious sauce.  That recipe has ended up being one of my favorite dishes in the whole book.  When I first tasted that sauce, my brain flooded with ideas for other dishes I could bring this technique to, top among them Chicken Pot Pie…

Chicken Pot Pie wasn’t a meal my mom made very often when we were kids, but whenever I had the opportunity to have it, I enjoyed it.  Chicken Pot Pie is a wonderful way to reinvent chicken or turkey leftovers.  I always roast two chickens at once, and this is an awesome alternative to eating the same meal as leftovers for 4-5 nights!  This recipe calls for cooked, leftover chicken, cut into pieces.  If you want to make it from fresh chicken, simply bake the chicken for 350F until it reaches 160F (how long that takes will depend on how thick your chicken is and whether or not it has bones, or is a whole chicken, etc).

Classically made with a cream sauce, thickened with flour, and lots of potatoes, topped with pie pastry, there’s a few challenges to creating a paleo-friendly version of Chicken Pot Pie.

Even though I had a fantastic strategy to create a creamy sauce, I was still face with a major challenge: the crust.  Until recently, I had yet to figure out how to create a paleo pie crust that could hold together well enough to top a pie (most paleo pie crusts are pinch crusts, where you form the crust right in the pie plate rather than roll it out and then transfer to the pie plate).  Pie crusts are one of those things that I have never enjoyed making.  I’ve never been particularly good (or patient) at making pie crusts, especially when it comes to topping pies.  And I’ve always found making pie crusts to be annoying (at best). But, I still have experimented with different versions periodically over the last couple years.

I finally hit upon a pie crust winner a couple of weeks ago.  The addition of a little starch to almond flour helps the pie crust hold together so much better, plus it improves the flavor and turns this crust from a vessel to a contributing member of the dish.  It’s still a bit finicky and I admit that transferring the crust from parchment or a silicone mat to the top of this pot pie was a little harrowing, but it held together well enough that even I (who has very poor pie pastry skills) was able to make it look pretty good.

Substitutions:  I always get asked about substitutions.   I think that any finely milled nut or seed flour could substitute for the almond flour, but I have not tried (although I have plans to try one with sunflower seed flour over the holidays).  I don’t think it would be easy to substitute coconut flour.  I think that another starch like sweet potato starch or tapioca could substitute for arrowroot powder, but again, I haven’t tried.  I can’t recommend any substitutes for egg whites, but if you try something, feel free to comment on this post and let people know if it works.  You can be creative when it comes to vegetables for the filling though.  If you enjoy peas or green beans in your chicken pot pie (and tolerate them well), then go for it!

AIP modification:  This is delicious even if you skip the egg yolks in the sauce (that’s really about not wanting to throw out the nutrient-rich egg yolks leftover from making the crust) and just go for a crustless version.

This makes 6-8 servings.

Chicken Pot Pie 3

Ingredients (cauliflower sauce):

  • 1 small head cauliflower (5-6 cups florets)
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 egg yolks (leftover from making crust, optional)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  1. Simmer cauliflower and whole clove of garlic in broth in a medium saucepot until cauliflower is soft (about 20 minutes, depending on the size of the florets).
  2. Place cauliflower, broth and garlic in a blender and blend on high for a minute or two until smooth (careful! best to put a tea towel over the top just in case…)
  3. Temper the egg yolks.  Whisk the yolks in a small bowl.  While whisking, add a little of the hot pureed cauliflower.  Then place the tempered yolks back into the blender and blend again for a minute to incorporate.

Ingredients (filing):

  • cauliflower sauce
  • 4 cups chicken pieces, cooked (or substitute turkey) (if you’re using fresh chicken, that’s about 2-2.5 lbs)
  • 3 large carrots, cut into 1/2″ pieces/rounds
  • 4 celery stalks, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 large or 2 small onions, diced
  • 3 cups rutabaga, 1/2″ cubes (you could also use, turnips, radish, kohlrabi or a mix)
  • 1 large green plantain, peeled and cut into 1/2″ or slightly smaller cubes (or substitute parsnips or sweet potato, or 2 more cups of rutabaga)
  • 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
  • 3 Tbsp lard (or other favorite cooking fat)
  1. Heat lard over medium-high heat in a very large frying pan or small stock pot.  Add onion, celery, carrots, and rutabaga.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are cooked al dente, about 20 minutes.
  2. Add plantain and chicken and cook until both are heated through and plantain is starting to soften, about 7-8 more minutes.
  3. Remove from heat.  Stir in cauliflower sauce.  Taste and make sure it’s adequately seasoned.  Stir in additional salt, if needed

Ingredients (crust):

  1. Combine all ingredients and work together to form a dough with your hands.
  2. Channel your inner playdough-loving self, and press into a large rectable about 3/8″-1/2″ thick on a piece of parchment paper or a silicone mat.  This is a little easier if your dough is cold.  You’re aiming for your rectangle to be the same size or slightly longer than the size of your casserole/lasagna dish.  If you make the crust in advance, you can place the dough in the fridge and then press it out when you’re ready, or press it out in advance and then place your whole silicone mat in the fridge until you’re ready.

To put the whole thing together:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Pour the filing into a large rectangular casserole/lasagna pan.
  3. Carefully transfer the pie crust onto the top.  Trim around the edges with a knife and use any leftover crust to form decorations if you want (leaves are classic, but you can be as creative as you want here).  Put a few cuts into the crust for steam to escape.
  4. Place the whole kit and caboodle onto a rimmed baking sheet (in case it boils over while cooking).
  5. Bake for 40 minutes, until crust is golden brown.  Enjoy!

Chicken Pot Pie  | The Paleo Mom

 

 

 

Comments

This looks great, thank you! Just one thing: Is the plantain sliced, cubed, diced? I’m assuming cubed, but wanted to check for sure! Have pre-ordered both your books, can’t wait! Happy Holidays to you and yours!

I just put the “whole caboodle” into the oven, but I just had to comment because the cauliflower broth was just amazing. I never thought I could make a cream of chicken without milk, and you made it happen… brilliant!

Thank you for this recipe! I made this tonight with leftover turkey and had kids hanging around for the oven timer to beep – it smelled so good cooking. Everyone liked it, including my son who is very picky and generally unimpressed with Paleo (he’s turning 13 soon so he gives me teen angst about Paleo every chance he can.) I had some gluten free pie crust leftover that I used for the top. Next time I’ll try your almond flour crust.

It’s like one of those sneaky recipes – the kids don’t know how many vegetables they are eating – and that they are eating plantain, something they otherwise would turn their noses up at.

I bet it would taste great as a beef version with ground beef or leftover chopped steak or roast too.

Would love to hear if you attempt a sunflower seeds version….. not sure about using so much almond flour (would be like eating a whole cup full of almonds! :-S )

This has almond meal in the crust. That’s not AIP safe. Am I missing something? I’m wanting to start AIP and am gathering recipes. I found this one on your AIP list. Thanks for your time and your awesome site.

Hello there…just made this. In the oven as we type. One question, my crust was very crumbly. It would come together, but not hold well and the transfer…well, it is more of a crumbles hen a pie! Any suggestions?

I should have read the comments before I started. Just put it in the oven – my crust was crumbly too, so I ended up sort of pressing it straight on to the top in bits. Looks more like a crumble topping than a pastry. Will have to try more egg whites next time.

I loved this. I have to admit, I’m not an almond flour fan. I tried to make the crust, but mine was crumbly, too. I do now see the advice in the previous comment about letting it sit longer. I think my body doesn’t like it anyway, and I should probably just stop trying… but when I picked off the crust, I loved it, as did my toddler. So if people are worried about AIP (I don’t follow it and don’t know the details), no worries. I added a little more pink salt, but otherwise made this as written (parsnips for plantain). The cauliflower cream sauce is brilliant and the rest of the recipe can be played with to suit tastes. I want to add tarragon or thyme next time and maybe some green vegis like broccoli or green beans. This is perfect for this crazy cold winter and will last us several days. I’m already looking forward to lunch on Tuesday! Thanks!

I had to sub some of the veggies based on what I had. I used sweet potato, carrot, green beans, and peas. I used less almond flour than called for, since I was adding it gradually and it got crumbly way before 4 cups. I squished it out thin between two layers of plastic wrap, and it turned out a lot prettier than I expected.

It took me forever to make this from start to finish, and I think it would have been better with some less-sweet veggies, but it was still pretty good. I severely miss potatoes!! Sweet potatoes just aren’t the same. Thanks for the recipe!

We made this tonight and I got a horrible upset stomach. Then I googled arrowroot and learned that many manufacturers sell tapioca as arrowroot. I pulled out my bag and sure enough, it claims to be arrowroot, the line below says “manihot esculenta”. This translates to TAPIOCA…. Ouch, I cannot digest tapioca. Please be safe in selecting arrowroot and ensure it comes from the actual arrowroot = maranta arundinacea.

I gave a tweaked version of this recipe a try last week and we LOVED it! I didn’t have time to make the crust so we ate the filling as soup. It was delicious, can’t wait to test the crust out next time! Thanks for sharing this yummy recipe!

this was delicious! thanks – i added up the calorie count on myfitnesspal and is estimated: 320 cal, 20 carb, 14 protein, 21 fat per serving. this is with using a sweet potato instead of the plantain. Loved this recipe but definately a sunday afternoon meal – took a while to prepare!! Thanks.!!

Just made this for the second time. I made little pot pies for my kids using ramekins. (and the kids got different veggies as Rutabagas would be a deal breaker for them) I love that I can make this earlier in the day and just heat it up for dinner. Makes a great dinner during sport season. Thanks for another great recipe!! Tina

Forgive this possibly silly question! For the AIP version, is it done after the cauliflower sauce is added to the chicken and veggies, or would I still bake it in a casserole dish for 40 minutes, just without the crust?

I just made this – yum! It was definitely a more time consuming recipe to make. I like the sauce – I think that’s what really sets it off. I used chicken breast I cooked in a pan with lots of seasoning, then shredded.

My dough was really dry… but I didn’t want to mess with it so it ended up being more of a crumble on the top (still yummy!).

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