Indy Iron Pot Pie

As a kid one of my favorite meals was a frozen Swanson’s chicken Pot Pie.  I didn’t analyze it, I just wolfed it down.  Nice gravy with a good balance of meat and veggies.  Crust top and bottom.

As I got older I noticed a disturbing trend in food.  The candy bars I bought weren’t as big, somehow they had shrunk.  Then eight months later they would be back to their normal size, but marketed as “30% more candy!”… at an increased cost.  Pretty slick.  I knew what was going on and it didn’t really bother me.  After all, a Milky Way still tasted the same no matter what size it was or how much it cost.  But then these slicksters started messing with my entrée.
Over time my pot pie became smaller; then less chicken; then less carrot.  Finally (unbelievably!) they removed the pie crust from the tin, leaving only the top crust.  Did they think I wouldn’t notice?  Where were the disclaimers on the packaging?  How could this happen?  I moved on to the frozen Stouffer’s Pot Pie which was better, but it just didn’t have that, I don’t know, that  je ne sais quoi.  In subsequent years I even fell to the lure of the Maria Callender’s pie.  It left me bitter and unfulfilled.
Regardless of my feelings about this travesty I knew my only recourse was to (gulp) make my own pot pie.  I knew it wasn’t difficult, yet I never got around to it, at least until now.
It should be noted right off the bat that Pot Pie’s should be made with leftovers whenever possible.  The further into cooking I delve the more I’ve come to realize that the liquid you create has a lot to do with the final product.  When you begin making homemade soups you start to realize that many of the opening steps are the same for sauces and gravies.  Well, no big surprise there.  If you’re like me on Thanksgiving you eye up that gravy boat and think “Yep, I could just put that spout right up to my lips and take a swig!”.  I never did of course, but I do like gravies and sauces.  If I were to place some stock in a pot and add leftovers from the table, then thicken the soup with that same gravy; well, no one would even blink.
Indy Pot Pies

Indy Iron Pot Pies

Here is my first ever Pot Pie recipe for you.  Dare I say it’s better than the pie of my childhood… but then, homemade is always better.  I cheated on the pie crust, so you can too.  We can get 2 10 inch pie crusts in the freezer section for $3.50.  I just tear them apart and use them for my own culinary purposes.  I used four small Lodge cast iron pans for these pies.  Cast iron is great, use it whenever you need consistent heat.  These small ones are great for individual servings.  The chicken was leftover marinaded chicken thighs,  Use any leftover chicken you have on hand.  The gravy comes from a roux that you’ll create.
Grocery store pie crusts, thawed
3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs- cooked and diced
4 scallions (green onions), diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 medium size carrots, diced
2 tbsp butter + 1 additional tbsp butter
2 ounces milk or half-and-half
8 ounces chicken stock
Half ounce red or white wine
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
garlic powder
In a medium size pan melt 2 tbsp butter over medium high heat.  drop in the diced scallions and onion.  Stir and sweat the onions until they’re soft and translucent.  Remove them to a large bowl and set aside.  Now drop one tbsp butter into the pan; melt, then add one tbsp flour with some salt and pepper.  Stir until you have a brown paste (the roux), then introduce about 2 ounces of chicken stock slowly.  At this point you will need to stir constantly, so keep your milk and your chicken stock nearby.  As the liquid gets incorporated add the milk and the stock a bit at a time (be patient) and continue stirring.  Add liquid until you get the consistency you want for your pot pie gravy.  If you end up with any “flour lumps” you can use an immersion blender to smooth out the gravy.  Remove from heat and pour the gravy into the large bowl with the onions.  Stir and set aside.
Pour any remaining stock you have (or 2 ounces of water and stock) into the same pan.  Over medium heat add the carrots and a dash of kosher salt, bring to a simmer then stir in the wine.  Cook the carrots until they are softened but not mushy.  Remove from heat and stir the carrots into your gravy.  Now simply mix all the prepared ingredients together, and we’ll move on to preparing the crusts for the individual pies.  ** NOTE- you can do all of the filling prep work in advance and refrigerate the filling for a day.  
I kept the pretty edges!

I kept the pretty edges!

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Carefully break the pie crust into suitable sizes for your small pans.  Notice that my pie crust came in a sturdy aluminum pie pan.  The pie pans are now used at my grilling station, they’re perfect for prep work, or if I need to set food right on the coals.  Poke small holes into the crust with a fork, then place the pans into your hot oven for about 10 minutes to par-bake the bottom crust.
Add the filling and place a piece of dough over the top and put 3 small slits into the top with a sharp knife (I ran our of dough after making four pot pies, so I simply made some tasty bread crumbs for the top).    Place the pies on a baking sheet and pop them into the hot oven for about 30 minutes.  Enjoy!  ~TH~

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