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Pot Pie with All the Trimmings, Light on the Fat

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Chicken pot pie – the ultimate comfort food.  A rich, buttery crust that gives way to mounds of silky chicken and vegetables.  Ahhhhh.  Nothing better, especially if the chicken comes from a great provider like None Such Farm.

I originally set out to top my pot pie with biscuits, a variation on the flat crust that I’m accustomed to but doesn’t require so much rolling.  Then I started looking at recipes and, surprise surprise, every recipe required a stick of butter or shortening equivalent.  SCREEEECH! A definite setback on our plans to look good for the destination wedding we have planned for in the spring.  Although I will admit we have had many others, a good reason why I don’t usually post people pictures on this blog!

How to get that crispy topping without the  extra 10 or so grams of fat per serving (more like 20 since we can’t help ourselves from eating twice the amount we’re supposed to)?  Multi-grain bread.  It provides enough crust to satisfy the soft/crunchy contrast so outstanding in pot pie, without making you miss the scads of butter.

“Lighter” Chicken Pot Pie
Original Recipe

1.5 lbs skinless chicken breast, poached (recipe follows), cut into 1 inch chunks
1 cup carrots, 1/2 inch dice
2 celery stalks, 1/2 inch dice
1 medium onion, 1/2 inch dice
2 T fresh parsley or 1 inch dried
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cups skim milk
2 cups reserved poaching liquid, or chicken broth
1/4 cup flour + 1/2 cup milk, whisked until smooth (slurry)
1 cup frozen peas (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste

3 slices multi-grain bread, torn into 1-inch cubes
1 T butter, melted with 2 T olive oil

Butter a 10-inch pie plate.  Toss bread pieces with butter and oil.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat 1 T olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add carrots, celery, and onion.  Cook, stirring, until onion is translucent but not brown.  Stir in milk, poaching liquid/broth and nutmeg.  Increase heat to medium high and bring to a simmer.  Whisk in the slurry and cook until thickened.  Add the chicken and peas (if using).  Pour filling into the pie plate and place on cookie sheet to catch drips.  Place bread pieces evenly over the filling.

Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes or until filling is bubbling and crust is golden brown.  If the crust is browning too quickly, place a piece of foil over the top.

Cool slightly to let filling rethicken.  Serve!

Poached Chicken

1.5 lbs of boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
3 carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces
2 celery stalks, peeled and cut into large pieces
1 onion, cut in quarters

Fill a pan with enough water to cover 3/4 the thickness of the chicken breasts.  Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Add all the ingredients and bring back to a gentle simmer.  Turn the chicken over, cover, and remove from heat.  Let sit 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.  Discard the vegetables.  Cube for use in the pot pie and freeze the poaching liquid for the future.

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