Sometimes Life Hands You Pot Pies


Props to Devoted Spouse for all the wonderful care he has provided over these last 7 weeks or so – this man has cooked, cleaned, done laundry, listened to me b*tch, watched only the tv shows I wanted to watch because I could only get comfortable in the recliner in the family room, driven me to doctors’ offices, physical therapy appointments, job interviews, the library, Target for more drugs, and the list goes on and on.

Now, some of you know that it’s been something of a comedy of errors around here — about the time my shoulder went south, the oven died a horrible death.  That didn’t bother me too much because with a bum shoulder, who can even pick up a dish to get it in the oven?  Not me.  But, I had great hopes of teaching Devoted Spouse to make yummy baked goods — homemade mac and cheese, chicken casseroles, baked rosemary chicken, you know — all the wonderful things that require an oven.

What we decided on was pot pies.  Pot pies can go in the microwave.  They’re fast, easy, tasty, and there is virtually no clean up.  I have turned into a pot pie monster.  The problem is I discovered that the pot pies I really like (Marie Callender) have about a thousand calories and as many carbs and are off the charts in sodium content.  Dangit all.  Plus they’re expensive.

banquet-pot-pie1So I thought back to my earlier, single, poor days and remembered fondly Swanson’s and Banquet Pot Pies.  Off to Kroger went Devoted Spouse and he came home loaded down with these 69 cent pot pies.  The price alone should have been a red flag, but I’m a bit slow these days.

Can you guess how many peas are in a Swanson’s pot pie?  Two.  Really.  I counted.  Then I went back and re-checked my math since these days on the Valium I can easily make math mistakes.  I was right.  Two peas.  Then I found 4 pieces of carrot, about 5 potatoes, and teeny little chunks of pressed chicken – at least I’m hoping it’s chicken.  Gravy that doesn’t taste like gravy and a ton of crust.  So, I’m going to keep eating them until the freezer is empty and then I’m going to bite the bullet and spend the money on a new oven and THEN here is the recipe from the Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten that I plan on teaching Devoted Spouse how to make:

Ina Garten’s Chicken Pot Pies


  • 3 whole (6 split) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups yellow onions, chopped (2 onions)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups medium-diced carrots, blanched for 2 minutes
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas (2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves

For the pastry:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
  • Flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet and rub them with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cooked through. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove the meat from the bones and discard the skin. Cut the chicken into large dice. You will have 4 to 6 cups of cubed chicken.

In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the bouillon cubes in the stock. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and heavy cream. Add the cubed chicken, carrots, peas, onions and parsley. Mix well.

For the pastry, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the shortening and butter and mix quickly with your fingers until each piece is coated with flour. Pulse 10 times, or until the fat is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water; process only enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together. Dump the dough out onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Divide the filling equally among 4 ovenproof bowls. Divide the dough into quarters and roll each piece into an 8-inch circle. Brush the outside edges of each bowl with the egg wash, then place the dough on top. Trim the circle to 1/2-inch larger than the top of the bowl. Crimp the dough to fold over the side, pressing it to make it stick. Brush the dough with egg wash and make 3 slits in the top. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot .  Yield 4 individual pot pies.

Yes, this is what chicken pot pie should be:  I can’t wait!

8 thoughts on “Sometimes Life Hands You Pot Pies

  1. I WANT ONE!!! They look really good!
    Me Too – I’m looking forward to being able to really bake again.

  2. In the words of my new friend, “Holy Crap, Batman!” Please have him make me one of those scrumptious creations when he’s done with yours. Two peas. LOL

    BTW, if you ever make it to Paula Deen’s Lady and Son’s, the chicken pot pie is to die for.
    It may take a few times, but I know he can do it. I just need to feel better to go pick out the oven (what a chore). Always wanted to try Paula Deen’s restaurants of course that would mean I have to drive to Savannah coz I’m sure as heck not going to fly! One of these days! If I’m lyin’ I’m dyin…there were two measly peas. I hunted and hunted for more.

  3. When you get well, could I borrow devoted spouse for a while? 🙂

    That pot pie looks delish. Can’t wait to see the finished product when DS attempts the feat.
    Honey, if I could rent him out I’d be a very rich woman. Then again someone might keep him and I just can’t have that!

  4. Man that looks good, like I could eat the whole thing. Really though, I must admit, even though there’s nothing inside a Banquet pot pie, I think their crust is pretty good! 🙂
    I agree – it’s not like homemade crust but for some twisted reason I love it – in fact I eat all the insides (including the two peas) and leave the crust for last. Must be a holdover from childhood.

  5. Cronie,
    I can’t believe you counted the # of peas in the Swanson pie! *snort*

    Pot pie is the ultimate comfort food.
    Bon apetit.
    Now my stomach is growling.
    Yes it is and if I don’t get these spasms out of my system soon and get some exercise I will end up weighing 7,354 lbs and have to have the walls of my house cut out to hoist my a$$ outta here! LOL

  6. You were worried about the calories in the Marie Callender pot pies, I’d say that the home made version probably ranks up there as well though it must taste more yummy than the frozen ones. My son loves the cheapie pot pies but then, he doesn’t cook so they are cheap and easy for him. I like pot pie but hubby doesn’t so I have never made one though that recipe sounds great!
    Ina Garten drives me nuts with the ingred she uses – I plan on making some substitutions – like getting rid of the heavy cream for crying out loud – it will be high in calories I imagine but well worth it! I just wish I had a new oven – I had to buy new specs today (dear Gussie how do most people afford glasses these days – it cost me close to $400 what a racket) So the oven will have to wait awhile. Tonight we’re dining on the rest of Devoted Spouse’s “gourmet” hot dogs!

  7. pot pies scare me, I don’t know why. But then again, I have a lot of irrational fears! 🙂
    Is it because you don’t know what lurks underneath the crust in that little plastic dish?? ewww potpie roaches!!! LMAO

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