Recipe #3 – French Chicken Pot Pie

French Chicken Pot Pie from Make It Ahead

On Friday I decided to make another recipe from one of Ina’s cookbooks. The meal I made it for would be dinner so I paged my way through the “Dinner” sections of each of her eleven cookbooks until something caught my eye. I eventually found the French Chicken Pot Pie.

I went to the grocery store, found the leeks and mushrooms and opted for the a roll of the Pillsbury biscuit dough over the boxes of puff pastry as she suggested (I wanted to save a few bucks!), and I went home.

This was the first time that I can recall in which I cooked with leeks. And it was interesting. Every time I watch a chef on TV cook with leeks they say something like “You need to wash leeks really well because they are so sandy and dirty.” Remembering this, I was prepared for a mess of sand and dirt, but thankfully that wasn’t the case. These leeks were relatively clean and required only minimal additional cleaning.

The hardest part about this recipe was all the prep work. First you have to cook the chicken in the oven, then wait for it to cool to shred it by hand to get the pieces of chicken that will be “pie friendly.” Then you need to cut carrots, mushrooms, and the leeks into bite-sized pieces (half-inch dice). All of these cutting took some time and was probably the most time-consuming aspect of the recipe.

Finally, my mise en place was done and I was ready to cook. I followed the recipe diligently and when it came time to add the tarragon (after more knife work), the kitchen almost immediately smelled wonderful and I felt like I had just walked into a fancy-smanzy restaurant.

Ina’s original recipe calls to make individual portions of the pie in two-cup bowls that are oven-safe. While cute, it isn’t very practical. So I poured the mixture into a 13-by-9 baking dish and rolled the biscuit dough over it. I still brushed it with an egg wash and some salt and pepper, and it looked amazing!

While it baked, the house filled with wonderful smells of chicken, leeks, carrots, tarragon — and yes, Pillsbury biscuits.

Finally, the time came to eat the pie. I let it sit for a few minutes after removing it from the oven and it was worth it!

Upon having my first bite I immediately thought, “All the prep work was worth it!”

We had leftovers and I think the pie even tasted better the following day. Overall, it wasn’t all that much work (if you get over the chopping) and totally worth the effort!!

Sadly, the only photo I have of it is while the contents of the mixture was simmering on my stove, but the picture wouldn’t do it justice anyway. I highly recommend you try to this one for dinner soon.


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