It’s that time of year when hearty comfort food reigns. Pot roasts and potatoes, gravy, casseroles, roast chicken. And with these meals comes the classic “leftovers” dish…pot pie.
No galley chef likes to keep leftovers in the ice box for too long. Stored food gets banged around, tipped over, leaks, and ultimately falls to the bottom of the ice box where it grows unrecognizable and forgotten. That is, until it’s discovered by your captain rooting for his last remaining beer. Don’t let that happen. Take your roast chicken and vegetables and throw them into a pot pie. Or start from scratch.
Chicken Pot Pie
1 large cooked chicken breast, shredded
3 carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 1/2 cups chicken broth (from bouillon if needed)
2 teaspoons Herbs of Provence
Fresh ground black pepper
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon shortening
3 tablespoons very cold water
Chop the carrots, onions and celery. Cook the chicken breasts, if you’re not using left overs, by chopping into chunks and sauteing. Shred the chicken meat.
Melt the butter in a large sauce pan and saute the carrots, celery and onion until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir flour, herbs and pepper into the vegetables.
To save space on a sailboat, I like to make my chicken broth from bouillon. I prefer the paste to the cubes. You can store the little jars of “Better Than Bouillon” in your icebox after use. They take up far less room and weight than canned broth. All the better, make your own broth from your leftover chicken carcass.
Add chicken broth to the vegetable mixture and stir until thick. Add shredded chicken. Turn burner to low and let simmer for 5 minutes. If you have left over gravy from a roast chicken meal, feel free to add that as well. Cover the pot, turn off your burner and set aside while you make the pastry. (The pastry can also be made ahead of time, wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in your icebox.)
Light your galley oven and preheat to 375 degrees. (or somewhere between 350 – 400 degrees)
For the pastry: Cut flour and salt into shortening with a fork until it resembles course gravel. Gradually add ice cold water and mix until it forms a stiff ball.
Knead a few times with your hands. The less kneading, the flakier the crust (but the more difficult and delicate it is to roll out!) Roll into a ball on a large, well floured surface.
If you don’t have a rolling pin on board…which I have never had…roll the pastry out with a cold, dry, well-floured bottle. Wine bottles work great. The final pastry should be rolled out slightly larger than the diameter of the pie pan.
Pour your chicken mixture into a deep dish pie pan.
Carefully fold the pastry in half, lifting one side onto the other. Then gently lift and place the pastry onto the dish and unfold. (there are more pastry directions in Bourbon Pecan Pie and Jamaican Meat Patties for reference) Since my dish wasn’t filled to the top with the mixture I tucked the pastry edges inside the dish and sprinkle a few more Herbs of Provence on the top. You can let your pastry droop over the outside of the pan as well, or pinch and flute it against the pie pan. If you have a perfectly seal pastry (unlike mine today; don’t look too closely ; ) you will need to poke holes in the top to let loose the steam as it cooks.
Place the pie in your preheated oven and cook for 45-60 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Let rest for 10 minutes or so before serving.
Comfort food at its best. And right from a sailboat galley!