Let's chat for a bit about making a recipe the first time exactly as it's written versus adapting it to your taste and ingredient availability. You can probably tell which side of the argument I fall on just from that comment. There are those who believe it is insulting to the writer of the recipe to make changes the first time through. Then, there are those of us who believe a recipe is a suggestion. I substitute freely. Now, that being said, there are recipes like La Brea Tar Pit Chicken Wings that I make exactly as the recipe says. Baked goods typically fall into that category. On the other end of the scale, there are recipes like Wolfgang Puck's Chicken Pot Pie that cause ruminations about multiple combinations. This recipe is the result of one of those.
Early in the weekend I make my menu for the week. I typically ask Connie if there's anything he's hungry for. Most weeks there isn't. This week he wanted something baked. Maybe lasagna or ziti. Oh, how about chicken pot pie, he says. Ok, that's easy enough to do. Is it ok if it's chicken mushroom pot pie instead of traditional? Sure. That'd be great, he says. So, a mix of mushrooms goes on the grocery list. And a rotisserie chicken. And, a bag of frozen pearl onions. Then, I looked at my original post and started thinking how I wanted to change the recipe. Parmesan or gruyere instead of cheddar. Tarragon instead of chives and thyme. White wine and gruyere added into the sauce.
An aside here. There are so many other possible combinations. Saltimbocca with sage and some ham added in. Curry and lemon juice. Red wine instead of white. Swiss cheese and a different white wine with peas and carrots and mushrooms. Pork and potatoes and carrots with rose. One of those dishes where you can make lists of meats, vegetables, cheeses, wines and herbs and combine to your heart's content.
What did we think? My tongue is still dancing. The flavor combination was wonderful. Connie wanted a bottom crust. I didn't but made one for him. Next time, I'll cut the pastry recipe by 2/3rd's and just top the pot pie. I find the bottom crust to be gooey no matter how well the top is baked.
Chicken Mushroom Pot Pie
You can see I was thinking about adding asparagus too...
For the pastry:
2 c flour
1 T snipped fresh tarragon
6 oz unsalted butter
1 c shredded gruyere cheese
2 large egg yolks
6 T heavy cream
For the chicken and mushrooms:
8 oz sliced white button mushrooms
8 oz frozen pearl onions
for the sauce:
6 T unsalted butter
1/4 c flour
1/2 c white wine
1 c chicken broth
1 c shredded gruyere
1/2 c heavy cream
1 t minced fresh tarragon
for the pastry:
Put the flour into a large bowl. Cut the butter into slices about 1/4" thick. Put the butter into the flour and cut it in. I prefer to do this by hand because I have more control over the size of the butter. You need to have pea-sized pieces of butter. Add the cheese and tarragon and mix it gently. Whisk the egg yolks with 5 T of the cream. Add that to the flour mixture and mix. If the dough comes together easily, you don't have to add the other tablespoon of cream. If it doesn't add the cream. Refrigerate the dough until you're ready to use it.
For the chicken and vegetables:
Use half of a rotisserie chicken. Cube the meat. Chop the mushrooms then saute them in about a tablespoon of olive oil. Add pearl onions. Set the filling mixture aside.
For the sauce:
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Stir in the flour and allow it to cook on medium heat for about five minutes. Slowly stir in the white wine then the chicken broth. Stir regularly until the mixture is thickened. Stir in the cheese, cream and tarragon.
Time to put the pot pie together:
Mix the chicken, mushrooms and onions with the cheese sauce. Roll out the crust.
You have two choices here. I prefer just a top crust. Connie likes a bottom and top crust. So, roll whichever you want. Either line a casserole with a bottom crust
then pour in the chicken mixture or just pour in the chicken mixture.
Cover it with the top crust. Crimp the edges. Bake at 400 for 45-60 minutes or until the top crust is browned and the filling is bubbling.
Thanks to Wolfgang Puck for his wonderful chicken pot pie recipe. I'm loving all the variations I'm coming up with!