Personal Chicken Pot Pies
Every Wednesday, my grandma would drive up town to the local deli and order homemade chicken pot pies. These personal pot pies in their own metal tin tray sold out the same day. If you wanted more than one (or any at all), you had to call in advance to hold them.
These were my earliest memories of trying chicken pot pies. The Deli’s pot pies had a thick top crust and was filled with peas, carrots, and chunks of chicken.
My Uncle Anthony, however, makes my favorite chicken pot pie — a recipe that is 90% butter and heavy cream, with a garlic and pearl onion filling.
So when my best friends Abbi and Dave asked me to make a chicken pot pie recipe, I decided to do some research. What were the popular recipes online saying?
Well, most recipes I read called for crust made with shortening (which I am not a fan of) — or fillings with chives and cheddar cheese.
I wasn’t looking to re-invent the chicken pot pie recipe. I wanted the classic, homey flavors of rosemary and potatoes, cream filling and a buttery crust. In the end, I made my own version of what I could remember of my uncle’s recipe.
The History of Chicken Pot Pie
Weird chive-recipes aside, I’ve read online that chicken pot pies are a sub-category of savory meat pies that have a top crust.
Pot pies, apparently, originated in Greece (spanakopita: spinach pie with a phyllo crust) — but it was the Romans who added the top crust to the recipe, making it the popular pot pie we know today.
The 16th century English had their own meat pies filled with pork, lamb, and other game. The settlers brought pot pies to the U.S., with a recipe in American Cookery in 1796 featuring chicken pot pies.
My Chicken Pot Pie Recipe
Ingredients for a Homemade Chicken Pot Pie
I used the recipe from my strawberry and cream hand pies to make the dough. Feel free to use premade, store-bought dough to save yourself some time.
As for the ingredients, most of these vegetables you would have on-hand. I only had to go to the store to by the pint of heavy cream and a sleeve of the pearl onions.
You can use frozen pearl onions which are already peeled. This will save you at least a half-an-hour of peeling their transparent skins. You can also substitute the pearl onion for diced yellow or white onion. The onions boost the filling’s flavor. I prefer the small bites of pearl onion, just like my uncle makes, so that’s why I used them.
Feel free to be creative with your measurements for the seasoning. You can put whatever you want in the filling — even chives, apparently. I stuck with the classics, thinking that parsley, fresh garlic, salt and pepper, and a sprinkle of thyme would be nice.
Use my measurements to get you started. Since I made this recipe up, there’s room for improvement, even when adding more seasoning. Feel free to work with your flavor preferences and play around with your seasoning. If you’re nervous about “messing up” just don’t add too much salt. You can always add that after you’ve cooked your pot pies.
Personal Chicken Pot Pie Instructions
You’ll spend most of your time chopping and dicing your ingredients into bite-sized pieces. Once you do, you use one pot to cook the filling.
I cooked everything long enough that the flavors would begin to gel together. Remember though, you’re also baking it in the oven. The hardest part about cooking a chicken pot pie is to get the filling cooked enough to eat, but al dente enough that it won’t turn to mush when baking.
The most important step to worry about when making your filling is the following:
Did you cook your chicken completely?
Did you thicken your cream sauce?
If you’ve accomplished these two items, your personal chicken pot pie should be a success. The vegetables in the filling (specifically the potatoes, onions, and carrots), will still be crunchy when you scoop them into their dishes. Poke them with a fork to confirm. They will finish cooking when you bake them in the oven.
Your Chicken Pot Pie Crust
Another important note when preparing your pot pie is to make sure your dough for the crust is cold. This will prevent it from sticking and ripping as you work with it.
I made my crust and kept it in the refrigerator while I was making the filling. Then I rolled it out and cut it to fit each personal pot pie. Remember to poke holes in your crust so that the interior steam can get out while baking.
The Final Product
I’m happy with how my personal chicken pot pies came out. I thought they looked adorable with their little containers and wicker mats. The cream sauce came together well. By the end of the baking time, the vegetables were tender (but not mushy) and was more than enough for dinner.
I prefer only having a top crust, since baking a bottom crust is an extra cooking step (and it can sometimes be soggy anyway).
I put an egg-wash on top of the crust. Even with some extra baking time, the crust didn’t turn the gorgeous golden-brown that a store-bought crust may. It was cooked through, and did have nice air pockets. I may try to add more butter to my crust recipe to see if that makes it even more delicious.
Servings and Storage
This recipe made four of these brown, personal-sized crocks, and one medium-large style white crock. There was enough personal pot pies for my sister and I to have them as a meal, and then for my dad and I to take one to work the next day.
I let the pot pies sit out until they cooled enough to cover and refrigerate. I’m sure you could probably wrap them well with tin foil and freeze to have as another meal. I would have to test how the crust is when doing so, and if it maintains its flakiness.
Intermediate: I’m not categorizing this pot pie recipe as beginner, because there is some cooking-instincts required when making the crust and filling (and knowing when it’s done). The fact that my recipe is a custom version with the freedom to add what you want for the seasoning, also makes this a bit above “beginners.” But, I would encourage you to try it any way! The one-skillet and use of every day vegetables makes this a great introductory recipe to add to everyday meals.
The core ingredients are every day household items you probably already have in your cabinet. Apart from the onions and cream, which you can substitute for other items (like milk and a roux or yellow onion).
There was a lot of prep involved with this recipe. From start to finish (plus filming time) — I was about three hours. This is partially because I cook slower while filming. But consider the hour of baking, plus chopping the vegetables, cooking the filling, etc.
I recommend you make this recipe in stages — one night you make the dough, another night you chop all the vegetables, etc. That way, the night that you want to have it for dinner, the cooking time will be shorter. All you’ll have to do is put it in a pan, thicken the cream sauce, and put it in your oven-safe dishes to bake.
8/10: Personally, I would’ve liked more of a garlicky flavor (the way my uncle makes his cream sauce). I added a ton of black pepper and a touch of salt after my pot pie came out of the oven. I would also try using fresh herbs instead of dried, as I know they influenced my cream sauce, but I felt like I could’ve used more flavor. Though I will add, that the extra pot pie I took for lunch the next day had more distinct flavors than hot-from-the-oven. I recommend you let them cool slightly before serving, so that you can enjoy the flavors.
K. Martinelli Makes Personal Chicken Pot Pies
Thanks for Watching
Do you have a favorite chicken pot pie recipe? Or ingredient recommendation? Tell me about it in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!