Talk about comfort food. Instead of making another humdrum casserole, win accolades with the tantalizing aroma of an old-fashioned chicken pot pie.
Here are two versions, one deluxe and one low-fat, with all the butter and cream left out.Instead of adding calories from a double crust, dig out a deep-dish pie plate (10-inch round). Fill nearly to the brim with a savory chicken and vegetable mixture. Then add a top crust subtly flavored with cream cheese and dillweed.
Deep down under, tender morsels of white-meat chicken are bathed in a silky sauce made from chicken broth and light cream. Dry mustard and white pepper add zing. Plump mushrooms, crunchy green peas and bits of smoky ham join a medley of finely chopped seasoning vegetables: carrot, onion and red bell pepper.
To save time, skip the from-scratch top crust and use a refrigerated pie crust ready to unfold. Add diced cream cheese to the chicken mixture, and lightly sprinkle the bottom surface of the crust with dillweed.
The low-fat version has a less lush filling and a simple oil crust. Either pie can be made with turkey or chicken breast.
Chicken Pot Pie with Cream Cheese Crust
1/2 cup each finely chopped onion, carrot, red bell pepper
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can chicken broth
1/2 cup half-and-half cream
3 cups cooked chicken breast, diced
1 cup diced cooked ham
1 cup frozen peas
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon dried dillweed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter or margarine
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese
4 to 5 tablespoons ice water Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Prep time: 1 hour
Bake time: 50 minutes
In medium saucepan, saute onion, carrot, bell pepper and mushrooms in 3 tablespoons butter until vegetables are crisp-tender. Combine 1/2 cup flour, dry mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper; stir into vegetable mixture.
Gradually add broth and half-and-half, stirring until smooth. Cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in chicken, ham and peas. Blend well and spoon mixture into a 10-inch round deep-dish pie dish. Set aside.
For crust, have oven preheating to 375 degrees. In large mixing bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, dillweed and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cut in cold butter and cream cheese (both cut into slivers) with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add ice water, a tablespoon at a time, tossing mixture with a fork until mixture is moistened and will hold together. Gather dough and flatten. Roll on a lightly floured surface to form a 12-inch circle.
Cut slits in pastry and place over filling in pie dish. Seal and flute edge of pastry to rim of dish.
To prevent overbrowning, loosely crimp narrow strips of foil around rim of pastry. Place dish on baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes on middle oven rack. Remove foil. Bake 20 to 25 minutes more or until crust is golden and filling bubbly. - Recipe adapted from White Lily flour company
Low-fat Chicken Pot Pie
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup hot chicken broth
2 cups cooked chicken or turkey breast, skin removed and cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 cup diced celery
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen pearl onions, thawed
1/2 cup evaporated skim milk
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon each dried thyme, salt, freshly ground pepper
1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup oil
3 tablespoons skim milk Yield: 6 servings
Prep time: 30 minutes
Bake time: 40 minutes
Heat a small saucepan of water to boiling. Add carrots and blanch 3 minutes; drain and set aside.
In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Saute until softened. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute. Gradually whisk in chicken broth and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in chicken, celery, peas, pearl onions, skim milk (undiluted) and seasonings.
Spoon into deep 9- or regular 10-inch pie plate.
For the crust, combine flour and salt in a medium bowl. Blend oil and skim milk in small bowl; add to flour mixture. Stir with fork until dough forms a ball. Press dough ball between hands to form a 5- to 6-inch "pancake." Roll pancake between unfloured sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap. Peel off top sheet of waxed paper or plastic wrap and place pie crust on top of filling.
Trim and flute edges. Bake in a 375-degree F oven until pastry is golden brown, about 40 to 45 minutes.