A few months ago I found this gluten-free pot pie at Target, and I took one to work for lunch. When I opened it I saw that the “crust” was just on top, and that is was rather simple and bland. I checked the ingredients and discovered it wasn’t anything more than a thin dough made from cornmeal. Pffff I can do that.
Taking inspiration from Ina, I set out to make my own chicken pot pie. I basically halved her pastry dough recipe, but did it with cornmeal and buckwheat flour. You could use a gf blend if you don’t have buckwheat, but I think something along the lines of sorghum, millet or oat might work best here. (And, as usual, no xanthan gum.)
1 cup of cornmeal/flour
1/2 cup of buckwheat flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup of shortening, cut into quarters
4 tablespoons of butter, cut into quarters
1/3 cup of cold water
Oil, for brushing the top
GF flour, for rolling out dough
1.5 pounds of chicken (I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts)
3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
3 celery stalks, diced (and by celery I really mean english peas, but I didn’t have any)
1 small onion, diced
4 tablespoons of butter
1/4 cup of gf flour blend (or just rice flour)
2.5-3 cups of chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon of parsley or oregano
Salt and pepper, to taste
So, this recipe has three moving parts, which you can do in whatever order works best for you:
1. Cook the chicken (and thaw if needed)
2. Make the crust
3. Make the filling
Preheat oven to 375.
Since my chicken was frozen (because planning ahead is silly), I started with defrosting it in the microwave and got to work on my dough (but if your chicken is thawed, I would recommend putting it in the oven first). I put all dry ingredients in my Ninja and gave it a few pulses. Then I added the quartered butter and shortening and gave it a few more pulses. Then I added in the water a little at a time through that little lid on the top, pulsing in between each addition. It’ll still look like sand, but should just start coming together. Don’t be tempted to add more water, because when you dump it out into a bowl and knead it with your hands, you’ll eventually get it all together.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge.
Now my chicken is ready. Lightly oil a sheetpan and place the chicken on it. Rub the top side with oil and generously season with salt and pepper. Flip and repeat. Cover with tin foil and bake until just barely cooked through (the time will depend on the cut of chicken you used). You do want to undercook the chicken slightly here because it will be baking in the oven for another hour.
While the chicken is cooking, cook the diced onions in a deep pot on medium-low heat with the 4 tablespoons of butter, until translucent (10 minutes). Add the 1/4 cup of gf flour and, stirring constantly, cook for 2 minutes. Then add the 2.5 cups of chicken broth and simmer, stirring, until thickened. Add the carrots and celery (or peas) and seasonings, and reduce the heat to low while your chicken finishes cooking and/or you prepare the dough. (If you think your filling isn’t thick enough, you can make a corn starch slurry by dissolving a few tablespoons of cornstarch in a few tablespoons of chicken stock, and then pour into the filling and stir until combined.)
Sprinkle a gf flour on a smooth surface and roll out the dough (it’s easiest if you put a piece of plastic wrap on top). Use whatever baking vessel you’ve chosen to cut out a shape to fit the top of your pies, like below. I used 2 ramekins (for easy lunches) and a small, round glass baking dish (to share with Marco for dinner).
Remove your chicken from the oven (but leave it on) and dice into 1/2 chunks (roughly). Add to your filling on the stove and stir to combine. You should have enough liquid to just cover all of your veggies and chicken, add more chicken stock if needed.
Pour a little bit of olive oil onto a plate, and dip your ramekins/baking dishes in them to grease the tops, where the crust will touch the dishes. Then fill each with your chicken-veggie mix, just to the tops. Place their respective crusts onto each, and use a knife to make 3 slits across the tops. Brush generously with olive oil and sprinkle a little sea salt on top.
Place on a rimmed sheetpan (they’ll ooooooze) and bake for an hour, until the crusts have just browned. Remove and let cool for at least 15 minutes before you dig into these bad boys.