So, you cooked a chicken, or made boneless chicken breasts on the grill and you now find yourself the proud owner of more leftovers than you can imagine. Or maybe you only have a small amount of leftover chicken and want to make it into something different.
Here’s my suggestion. Look around. Open the pantry or the cupboard doors and see what you have on hand. Take a peak in the fridge and see what other leftovers you might have that need to be used.
I had leftover chicken and an extra pie crust that originally I was saving to experiment with a fruit pie/cheesecake type thing but really, I was more in the mood to make something with the chicken at this point. I had some frozen corn, mushrooms that needed to be used and some roasted vegetables which included sweet potato and carrot. I had baby carrots, onion, celery, and garlic. Any idea what I decided to make? Chicken pot pie. Okay, so I didn’t have peas and I added in some things that you might not normally find in a run of the mill chicken pot pie. Guess what? I’m not a run of the mill type of cook. Maybe that is why I get such happy, contented reviews.
Turn the ho-hum into oh-yum!
All I needed to do was take small saucepan and add a small pat of butter. Cook the onion and celery to your desired doneness. Don’t let anyone tell you to cook it for 4 minutes or 6 minutes or whatnot. Baloney. Stir it here and there and keep an eye on it while you are cutting up other things. When it looks done to you, somewhere between translucent and brown, then add in some garlic if you wish. Let is cook for a minute or two and then add in a cup or two (depends on how “gravy” you want your pie gravy to be, less liquid, thicker gravy) of chicken stock, or water, or water with chicken bullion and toss in the diced carrots. Let the carrots soften and take the pot off the burner. On another burner simply take about 2 Tablespoons of butter, melt it and add in about 2 Tablespoons of flour. Mix it together thoroughly and temporarily remove from the heat. Add in some of the stock, mix well, add in more liquid, mix, until all the liquid is mixed in. If you don’t want it to be lumpy, make sure you mix well as you slowly add the liquid.
This is where I took my pie crust and added all the chicken and vegetables. I mixed them in a bowl prior to putting them in the pie shell. I ended up with chicken, boiled diced baby carrot/celery/onion/garlic mix, mushrooms, frozen corn, roasted carrots and roasted sweet potatoes. I put it all in the pie shell and poured the gravy over top. I had enough leftover pie shell to roll out a thin top crust, topped it and popped it in the oven for 40 minutes at 375. The time is approximate as I checked it every 4 or 5 minutes after 30. I might’ve left it in the oven for 42 minutes. So shoot me. Here is when your brain comes in handy. If it looks lightly browned and smells done, it’s probably done. The chicken is leftover and already cooked so it’s basically a matter of cooking the shell and warming the insides and having them set. Use your eyes and your nose to determine if it is done or needs more time. I once followed a recipe for something that said it should be done in 30 minutes. I don’t know who was wrong, me or the other cook but that item took twice as long as it was supposed to. Did I panic? No. Did I curse the recipe? Oh, yeah. But I learned a good lesson – to follow my senses as opposed to senselessly following a recipe.
But back to my pot pie. After I took it out of the oven, I let it sit for 10 minutes before serving. I would suggest a nice green salad as an accompaniment but I’ll let you decide if you wish to add anything. A sprig of something green on the side of the plate for presentation would be lovely.
This is what I served for dinner one leftover night. I apologized that the gravy wasn’t thicker in the pie and said I would do better next time. He said that was fantastic! Fantastic? “Well, yeah,” says he. “if this is something for which you feel the need to apologize, I can’t wait to see your next attempt.”
No finer compliment was ever uttered. My leftover leftovers went to work for lunch the next day. Go me.
Did I mention I’ve never made chicken pot pie before?
Cook well and Peace