Homemade Chicken Pot Pie

So, like, my grandpa died today.

Hmmm. This calls for some comfort food.

It's one of those sort of philosophical deaths, where you know you will miss this person terribly in your life. But you also know that he was ready, that it was time, and that it was peaceful.

Those things are a blessing. We should count blessings in the face of death when they are to be had, am I right?

So here are some, in the form of some things I remember about him.

He always, always had classical music playing in his house on his big ol' boombox. It was usually from CDs he'd ordered off the TV, and it made me want to take up ordering CDs off the TV.

He loved his big ol' boombox, and his motorcycles, and his computer although it continuously stumped him. He loved technology and wires and things that connect.

He loved motorcycles.

He loved my grandma, and he loved to embarrass her by open flirting and innuendo long into their 70's.

He loved his second wife, whom he married several years after my grandma passed away. She had a huge crush on him when they were in high school, and somehow, after their mutual marriages had ended separately, life brought them back together. They got married in their 80s.

He gardened, and he grew apples. We loved to visit in the fall because we would always come home with boxes of small, unbelievably flavorful apples as well as carrots, corn, and whatever else he had conjured up from the ground that year.

He was a good grandpa, and a good example. He was kind and generous (mostly), and patient with the various illnesses of his later years.

Love you, grampa. This chicken pot pie is dedicated to you.

For this post, I made a chicken pot pie with sour cream and chive biscuits. I thought about calling this post "Yummiest dinner, laziest pictures". This dinner went so fast, I barely snapped these five shots off before it was down our gullets. It was filling and warming and comforting, the chive biscuits I made to go with it didn't even get into the shot.

It was improved also, I think, by the fact that I took an extra day to make some fresh chicken stock. Gravy with fresh stock is out of this world. The recipe would work, however, with whatever kind of stock you have on hand (I have plenty of colored foil cubes in my pantry, no judgments here).

Chicken Pot Pie

I am going to write this post as I made it, including the stock and crust. If, however, you are pinched for time, you can easily skip those steps with instant stock and pre-made crust, not to mention boneless breasts or even pre-cooked chicken. Do what you have to do to enjoy homemade chicken pot pie! It is worth it.

1 whole chicken, broiler or fryer
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup frozen green peas
1/2 cup sliced celery
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste
1 teaspoon thyme
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1 3/4 cups chicken broth (you will prepare this yourself)
2/3 cup milk
2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts

Remove chicken from wrapping, and wash in cold water. Be sure to remove the neck and liver, usually inside the body cavity. Set them aside for later stock. Place the chicken, carrots, green peas, celery, salt, black pepper, and thyme into a large saucepan or stockpot and cover with water. Raise to a boil, then lower heat and boil for 30 minutes to 1 hour, turning the chicken occasionally. Chicken is done when meat separates easily from bone and the juices run clear.

Drain chicken - save boiling water for stock purposes, and separate cooked vegetables. It's best to store them in the refrigerator, you won't need them for a while. Remove meat from the bones, and chop into cubes or small pieces. Place in the refrigerator.

Once the carcass is stripped (it's getting real here, I know), put the bones, skin, and boiling water back into the large saucepan or stockpot. Add a few garlic cloves, some extra celery, and maybe an onion. Bring to a boil, then set to simmer. Leave it for at least three hours, and up to seven.

In the meantime, make the pie crust. Make this pie crust, but without the sugar. Double the recipe so you have enough. Leave it in the fridge until you are ready.

When all your ingredients are ready (crust, chicken, stock, and vegetables), you're ready to go.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and celery seed. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Stir in reserved vegetables and chopped chicken. Remove from heat and set aside.

Roll out your pie crusts. If you want to make a normal 9" pie, line your pie plate with one of the crusts, top with chicken mixture, and then top with second crust. Or do like I did and put the chicken mixture in the bottom of a 9x13" pan and top it with both crusts. This second method doesn't look so pretty, but you will have a lot of chicken mixture that may not fit perfectly into a 9" plate.

At any rate, place the chicken mixture in the bottom of your chosen dish, either over pie crust or straight onto the pan. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Go totally ga ga.


Justin Pack said...

this was stunningly good...
a mess to clean up however

Lena said...

Oh Anna, I am so sorry about your grandpa. Some times I think that death gets harder to handle the older we get. My grandpa died when I was 7 and I barely remember the funeral, but when my great grandma (and idol) died when I was 15? I still get messed up thinking about it. I can't even imagine what I will be like when my surviving grandparents go. I am glad you had some comfort food to help you through it.

Evelyn said...

I'm sorry for you to lose your grandpa, but I'm also happy for your grandpa to have been able to go peacefully as you said. He sounds a lot like my grandpa, especially the apple trees!!

This looks really good, and I love that you make your own stock...you're right, it's SO much better that way!

Vee said...

oh man, my condolences about your grandpa. My grandpa died at the end of may too, he was in a lot of pain. Our grandpas are probably scrappin it up in grandpa heaven.

The comfort food looks delightful.
Miiiss yoou. xo.

Eftychia said...

This chicken pot pie sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing!

LynnieBee said...

I'm so sorry for your loss :( *hugs* I just found your guest post over at Eat the Damn Cake, and I enjoyed it very much :) Your food blog looks great too:) I'm of a like mind :) Visit me at http://www.thekitchenismycanvas.blogspot.com

Foodie Friends?

LynnieBee said...

Sorry, broken link, let's try that again 0_o


jeannesioux said...

I sort of like days like this where dinner takes most of the day...not that you are cooking all that much, but you do need a day at home to process it all. And this is definitely "comfort food." Yummy.

It sounds like you had a wonderful grandpa, and people from Logan know how to have a nice big garden. I too have wonderful memories of this as well. Logan was a nice place to spend a few childhood years.

Cakebrain said...

My condolences for your loss. I think your chicken pot pie is a perfect tribute to him; symbolizing comfort, warmth and home.

a. maren said...

thank you all for your kind comments and condolences. they are much appreciated.