Comfort food in this house is no joke. When we are feeling sick or down, food comes to the rescue, and while sometimes it comes in the form of a greasy white bag burger or THE most delicious Salvadorian pupusas from the spot down the street, it most likely will come from my kitchen.
In my home, dinner usually begins with onions. In the early days, Bae would say “I don’t like onions.” I looked at her like, “stop right there” with a crazy sideways stare. I told her if she didn’t like them, she was going to have to eat them anyway because I will never compromise flavor like that. I had to shut that down, and she quickly realized the error of her ways.
For my chicken pot pie, the absolute comfort food, the culinary flavor foundation of mirepoix—onions, carrots, celery is the first to hit the hot oil with a sizzle. Now that the season has cooled our incredibly hot September, I can turn on the oven and this is usually one of the first things I make. A combination of chicken, butternut squash, potatoes, and green beans is held together with a creamy gravy made of chicken stock, flour and butter and is topped with a thick crust.
I read the other day that when a baby is learning how to eat solid foods, the scent of the food boosts baby’s brain activity and that got me thinking…just this week I’ve made pot pie, apple pie, sopes (corn four cakes topped with beans and veggies), applesauce for the baby, and each dish has left our kitchen smelling amazing. I can only hope that this constant surprise of new smells for him imparts a love of food and cooking for him.
Gluten Free Chicken Pot Pie
Makes 1, 9” deep dish pie
For the crust
(because this is a gluten free house, I make this with Cup4Cup all-purpose flour. Feel free to use your favorite crust, either homemade or store bought!)
2 cups Cup4Cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
½ tsp granulated garlic
½ tsp granulated onion
¼ tsp black pepper
1 stick unsalted butter, cold and cubed
2 eggs, cold and lightly beaten
- In a stand mixer, add the flour, salt, sugar, and seasoning and mix on low speed until combined.
- Add the butter and continue mixing on low speed until the butter breaks up into marble sized chunks and then turn up the speed to medium. Continue mixing until the butter is about the size of peas.
- Add the eggs and mix at medium speed until combined. Pour the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead softly until a cohesive dough forms. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
This dough will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 2 months. Thaw before rolling, but always keep it cold.
For the Filling
2 Tbsp olive oil
½ cup yellow onions, medium dice
½ cup celery, medium dice
1 cup carrots, peeled, large dice
1½ cups butternut squash, peeled, large dice
1½ cups small white potatoes, quartered
1 cup green beans, ends trimmed and cut 1½ inch pieces
2 cloves garlic
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups chicken stock
1½ Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp Cup4Cup flour
2 cups shredded chicken (I used rotisserie chicken from the grocery store)
Egg wash—one egg beaten with about 1 Tbsp of water
Preheat the oven to 375°
- In a 4 quart sauce pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onions. Cook until just beginning to brown and add the celery and carrots, add a generous pinch of salt and a pinch of black pepper. Stir frequently.
- Add the butternut squash and cook for 2 minutes or until the mixture is very hot. Add the potatoes and season again with salt. Cook this, stirring occasionally until the butternut squash has softened slightly and the potatoes are very hot.
- Stir in the green beans and garlic and cook until you can smell the aroma of the garlic and the green beans are bright green, but still crisp. Add ¼ cup of stock and cover. Cook covered until all the vegetables are softened.
- Remove the lid and stir in the butter, then after the butter has melted sprinkle in the flour evenly until everything is coated. Stir in the chicken. Add the remaining stock ½ cup, stirring constantly allowing the mixture to thicken to your liking.
The contents of the pie are cooked completely, including the gravy, but it will continue to thicken in the oven slightly. Feel free to add up to an additional ¼ cup of stock if you prefer a runnier gravy.
- Roll the chilled dough to about 1/8” in a circle the best you can. Identify the center of the dough and cut a hole in it with a small round cutter and reserve the circle piece. If you feel uncertain about this step, simply skip it and use a knife to cut vents into it once it is on the pie.
- Brush a light coating of egg wash onto the edge of the pie plate with your fingers or with a pastry brush and pour the filling into a 9-inch, deep dish pie plate and top with the dough. Trim away the excess, leaving about 1 inch of over-hang, then tuck the ends under. Crimp the edges with a fork or with your fingers.
- Brush the entire pie with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sea salt, or kosher salt. If you cut a circle in the dough, place the circle right next to the open hole, or slice 3, 2-inch vents into the crust.
- Bake on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet for 20-25 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Rotate in the oven about 15 minutes into baking.