Nothing reminds me of grandma’s house more than a piping hot chicken pot pie, fresh from the oven. Grandma’s chicken pot pies always had a golden brown layer of the most perfect flaky pastry. It was so much fun to break into the crust with a fork (or a spoon), to reveal tender bites of chicken, perfectly cooked veggies, and a sauce so good I could drink it with a straw. Does it get any better than that?
I still crave the comfort of a chicken pot pie — especially as the weather gets colder. Digging into this dish is like a warm hug on a cool evening. If only all my hugs could come in the form of fresh pies! And better yet, this recipe is a total crowd pleaser, so I know everyone will be licking their plate clean.
Grandma used to spend hours building the most tender pastry crusts. She’d do them in large batches — making plenty of freezer-ready savory and sweet pies for the month. It was a full-day activity for her. I take a clever shortcut (sorry grandma!). The end result is just as delicious, but takes a fraction of the time. Which means healthy, home-cooked dinners on a weeknight. And, did I mention this shortcut also significantly cuts down on the fat?
Phyllo dough is the perfect weeknight trick to getting a tender, flaky crust for your chicken pot pie with minimal effort. Phyllo dough (also look for spelt filo dough) is typically sold frozen. All you need to do is let it defrost in the fridge overnight, or if you forget, leave it out on the counter to thaw for an hour or two before making dinner. Unlike puff pastry or traditional pie crusts, phyllo has a lot less fat in the dough. To build up layers, you’ll brush the paper-thin sheets with a small amount of olive oil to help them stick together as they bake. You’ll still get all the satisfaction of a crispy, flaky crust — just without gobs of butter. Count me in. As an added bonus, you’ll have plenty of phyllo sheets leftover from this recipe, which you can save for another chicken pot pie (or two) in the coming weeks. Once you taste this dish, you’ll definitely want to make it again and again!
Chicken Pot Pie with Phyllo Topping
Total Time: 1 hr. 17 min.
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cooking Time: 57 min.
Yield: 6 servings, about 1 cup each
6 tsp. olive oil, divided use
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
4 oz. sliced mushrooms
2 Tbsp. whole wheat flour
1½ cups reduced fat (2%) milk
1 cup low-sodium organic chicken broth
½ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
½ tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
¾ cup frozen green peas
¾ cup cubed cooked sweet potatoes
2¼ cups cubed cooked chicken breast (approx. 12 oz.)
6 sheets phyllo dough (each approx. 12 x 17-inches), thawed, covered in a
slightly damp towel
1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
2. Heat 2 tsp. oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
3. Add onion and carrots; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent.
4. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 6 minutes, or until mushrooms are soft and most of the liquid has evaporated.
5. Add 1 tsp. oil; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
6. Add flour; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until flour and oil form a paste.
7. Slowly add milk, broth, salt, pepper, and thyme. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low.
8. Add peas, sweet potatoes, and chicken; cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes.
9. Place chicken mixture in a 2½-quart baking dish. Set aside.
10. Place phyllo on work surface. Keeping the original stack covered, remove one sheet at a time and quickly brush with remaining 3 tsp. oil. Cut oiled stack of phyllo into quarters. Place phyllo loosely on top of chicken mixture; covering evenly.
11. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until chicken mixture is bubbling and phyllo dough is golden brown.
12. Serve immediately.
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Photographs by Anguel Dimov