Mini Chicken Pot Pies

assembled pies before baking

Something about fall always makes me want to cook. Especially comfort food.

This weekend I decided to try making chicken pot pie from scratch. I had seen this recipe on RecipeZaar a while back, with hundreds of rave reviews. It didn’t sound difficult, but there were a lot of steps involved so this was definitely a weekend project.

The original recipe makes 1 or 2 large pies, with a top crust only. I decided instead to buy disposable miniature pie tins and make mini two-crust pies, some of which would be frozen for future dinners. Jason loves to make fun of me for all the stuff I like to make ahead and freeze for later (spaghetti sauce, meatballs, etc). He calls me a grandma. If I had a deep freezer in my garage, we would have all SORTS of pre-made frozen meals! Someday.

So for this pot pie recipe, my first step was to assemble the crusts. I used Pillsbury refrigerator pie crusts. Sure I could make my own crust, but these store bought ones taste just fine to me, so why put in the extra effort?

First I rolled out a single pie crust to make it just a little bit bigger. I used the plastic lids that came with the pie tins as a “cookie cutter” to cut out the top crusts. I managed to get 2 stamped out of one crust, and then I re-rolled the scraps to form the 3rd crust. For the bottom crusts, I used a small plate and traced around it with a knife. It had to be a bit larger than the top crusts to fit inside the pie tins. Then I set all of these pieces aside in the fridge for later. Sorry I don’t have a photo of this step! By the way, I ended up using 2 boxes of pie crust (with 2 single crusts per box) to add up to the 6 mini pies.

For the chicken, I bought a whole pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. And then I tore all the meat off in pretty large chunks… I’d say this added up to roughly the 4 cups the recipe called for (or more). Next time I might try just poaching a few chicken breasts in chicken broth with a bay leaf, and then dicing that up. It probably would be easier.

roasted chicken

Next I diced up all the veggies. I cut the celery and carrots and onions in about 1/2 inch pieces. The yukon gold potatoes I cut in much larger chunks, because I didn’t want them to just blend into the mixture once cooked… I wanted solid pieces of potato. This ended up being the perfect size. They were cooked all the way through, but distinct bites of potato. Yum.

diced veggies

You can see the stack of pie crusts in the background here.

sauteed veggies

Next I sauteed all the veggies in butter for about 10 minutes over medium heat. Yay, an excuse to use my new Le Creuset french oven! It worked perfectly for this task.

sauteed veggies

Yum veggies. I should mention that I actually put the carrots in the pot a few minutes before the other veggies. Since they are a bit crunchier than the other stuff, I wanted to make sure they had extra time to cook all the way through.

After sauteing the veggies the next step was to add 1/2 cup of flour and stir everything together, cooking for 1 minute. This thickens the sauce. Following that, I added 2 cups chicken stock, 1 cup half-and-half. I also added salt, pepper, and about half a teaspoon of dried thyme at this point. The thyme isn’t in the recipe, but I thought it would give it extra flavor. Next time I might even add a little more.

The pie filling simmered for maybe 8-10 minutes over medium heat. I stirred it pretty frequently to make sure nothing was sticking to the bottom… and it thickened up very nicely. At the end of simmering, I stirred in the chicken and about half a can of peas.

filling pot pies

Next I divided the mixture between the 6 mini pie shells. It was just the right amount. And it smelled SO GOOD.

Then I covered each pie with a top crust, with a little heart-shaped hole cut in the center for steam ventilation. How cute am I? ;) I pressed the edges together and then crimped with a fork. And this is what they looked like:

assembled pies before baking

At this point, 3 went into the oven on a large cookie sheet, and the other 3 went into the freezer for a future meal. We are going to have those this week when my mom comes over for Survivor night.

I baked the pies for 50 minutes at 375. They came out perfectly… and wouldn’t you know it, we forgot to take a picture of the baked pies. Oops. Guess we were too hungry. It was like almost 9pm by then! Just imagine the above photo but with a perfect golden brown crust. :)

I’ll definitely be making these again. Jason has already put in a request that I make turkey pot pies with Thanksgiving leftovers.

I’m thinking next time I will skip the bottom crust and only put a top crust on each one. That will save a lot of calories (they’ll still be evil, of course). Jason really wanted 2 crusts. I think the top would be plenty though. I might even try this with milk instead of half and half… I saw some reviews on the recipe saying they did this and it turned out plenty creamy. I might also try topping them with puff pastry instead of pie crust.

Leave a comment if you try this recipe! Or if you have any other pot pie recipes to share.


2 Comments so far

  1. Jenn 
    October 13th, 2009 9:30 pm

    I actually made chicken pot pie tonight! For a super fast week night meal I use chicken and veggies I cooked over the weekend, extras made while cooking something else, and warmed up. The recipe I use looks very similar to yours, only I usually just dice up pieces of puff pastry into tiny crouton type pieces instead of the traditional pie crust top.

  2. kari 
    October 14th, 2009 6:17 am

    Yummy…going to have to try it out!!

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