Freeze It Fresh : Chicken Pot Pies

Chicken Pot Pie

Fall has arrived in the Pacific Northwest inspiring me once again to prepare for the chilly winter months ahead. There’s something about getting our freezer and pantry fully stocked that makes me look forward to winter with all of it’s festivities, cozy meals and conversations around our kitchen table.

This last Saturday morning was grey and drizzly…..the perfect day to spend time cooking up a storm for later. Investment cooking saves time and money and allows us to eat healthy when life just gets too busy.
One of our favorite comfort foods to put up en masse is homemade chicken pot pie. It makes sense to make a large batch because it doesn’t take much longer to make 10 as it does 1. So…why not?

Tonight we popped one in the oven after work (it had thawed all day in the fridge). I threw together a fresh salad and dinner was served!

I used onions, carrots and potatoes from our garden to make this large batch. Talk about dining on a dime! Here’s how it’s done:

I baked 7 chicken breasts and 2 thighs sprinkled with garlic and curry powders, kosher salt, and baked them until tender then prepped them for the filling

Chicken Pot Pie (makes 8-10 pies depending on sizes)12 cups cooked chicken in 2 inch pieces (I baked chicken seasoned with curry and garlic but you can use a rotisseried chicken)

2 tablespoons olive oil

6 cups onions cut in 1 inch wedges

4 cups celery chopped coarsely

10 cups chopped carrots in 1 inch pieces

10-12 cups gold yukon potatoes chopped in 1-2 inch chunks

2 tablespoons curry powder

1 tablespoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons sea salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 quarts stock, chicken or vegetable

2 quarts water

1 ½ cups cold water

1 ¼ cups unbleached white flour

personal preference has me cutting the veggies in large pieces for the filling

In a 17 quart stock pot, heat the oil on a medium flame, add onions and sauté until translucent. Add the celery and carrots, stirring to coat. Cover and let vegetables “roast” on a medium flame until fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 3 – 4 minutes.

Add potatoes, sea salt, garlic and curry powders, pepper and liquids.

* Something to always consider when making a sauce with vegetables and meat in it, is you want the liquid level to be just under the level of vegetables. That way you can avoid making your sauce too soupy.

Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn heat down to a simmer; let simmer for 5 minutes. The root vegetables should be tender enough to pierce with a toothpick but still firm. Add chicken.

In a quart jar with a good fitting lid, combine cold water and flour. Screw on the lid and shake vigorously getting out all lumps. Add the flour mixture into the simmering pot of chicken and vegetables, stirring until mixture thickens. Remove from the stove.

17 quart stock pot full of thickened chicken pot pie filling

Have your casserole pans clean and ready. They don’t need to be greased. Choose fairly shallow baking dishes. I love the disposable ones from the dollar store which I end up reusing repeatedly. I make a variety of sizes keeping in mind one or two maybe be given away to other families in need of a meal, for whatever reason.

these pans are at most 2 inches deep

Pour filling into each pan, filling it almost full. Let cool. At this point you may want to cover with saran wrap and refrigerate and come back later on to do the crust. Oh, and yes, I only put a top crust on these pies.

Once the crust is on the pies, cover again with reused saran wrap and freeze. When solid, cover and seal with aluminum foil, label, and stack in the freezer.

To bake: thaw in the refrigerator for 6 – 8 hours. Bake uncovered @ 375 for 45 minutes or until bubbly! Yum!!

Coconut Oil Pie Crust

1 1/4 c. whole wheat pastry flour

1 1/4 c. unbleached white flour

1 t. sea salt

1 c. coconut oil at room temp. (you want it solid and it liquifies at 76 degrees)

1 egg

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

cold water

In a medium sized bowl toss together flours and salt. Add solid coconut oil and cut in thoroughly with a pastry blender.

coconut oil makes an excellent choice for pie crust in place of butter or shortenong

Make sure oil and flour mixture are well combined.

In a 1 cup measuring cup, crack the egg, add vinegar and beat together with a fork. Add enough cold water to make 1/2 cup. Add all at once to the flour mixture combining with a fork until well moistened and forms a ball. Do not overmix!

Roll out between 2 pieces of seran wrap on a damp surface. Makes four single crusts or 2 double crusts.

remove the top saran sheet, peel bottom saran off of counter and invert pie crust over filling

inverting pie dough over filling with the help of plastic wrap remove plastic wrap and save for later – trim crustpulling off the plastic wrap

I doubled this recipe for the above quantity of chicken pot pies. Notice the smallest “pie” in the photo above where I used leaf cut outs for the top crust? That was my solution to running out of dough…..hey! It worked 🙂

Looking ahead, I’m excited for my Seasonal Desserts Class where we will be making this Plum Tart – along with a few other tasty treats!

 

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5 Comments on “Freeze It Fresh : Chicken Pot Pies”

  1. Amy, you made it look so easy. I really enjoyed the desserts cooking class and learning healthier versions of these delicious pies. I’ll have to look for those alternative sweeteners you mentioned and try making one of the desserts for one of our holiday seasons coming up.

  2. I live in a small town in the mountains of Costa Rica where canned tuna is considered “convenience food”. I make and sell potpies to the expats here and have a couple of tricks for in bulk frozen pies.

    I bake my whole chickens (heck, I raise my chickens, not from scratch, though, I feed them bananas; scratch costs money.) let them cool and remove the meat to chill . All the skin and bones go in the stockpot for about an hour. Then I strain the broth. Solids become dogfood.

    Veggies next, chop the slowest cooking ones into the boiling broth first, like greenbeans, then carrots, etc. Potatoes last of all and only for a couple of minutes. Yes, the yellow ones are best for freezing. Strain all the veggies out.

    Here’s the trick and the reason for all that straining. After you dump in your thickener, flour/cornstarch/ yuca and water or what ever and your gravy is thoroughly cooked, COOL IT, then WHIP THE HECK OUT OF IT. Unbeaten gravy doesn’t freeze well at all.
    Chill the filling completely so it doesn’t toughen the crust. I like a double crust and so do my customers, but even a single crust will loose flakiness if you put it on hot filling.

    Seasoning is a matter of personal taste, I put a few herbs and some coarse ground pepper in the crust.

    1. Thanks! Great ideas. I agree that the filling should be cooled before topping it with a crust. So are your veggies then pureed? I’d love to come visit and taste one of your amazing pies 🙂 Nevermind my question about the pureed veggies…i re=read your comment and see where you strain your veggies before whipping the gravy. Okay, now I get it. Yummy! Thanks again for your input. How many pies do you make at a time?

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