While the recipe revamp and opinions below are my own, I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias® and Tyson. #cbias #SocialFabric #MealsTogether
Earlier this week I started a series of posts about bowls full of happy. Many of our favorite dinners around my house can be consumed from a bowl. Actually, I could eat a Ruth’s Chris filet mignon from a bowl if I had to, so really, anything could be consumed from a bowl.
Today I’d like to talk about the ever so humble pot pie. I don’t remember pot pie as being a staple while growing up. At least, not in the sense that my mom’s Swiss steak or spaghetti was. I do think my dad would buy those little $.99 pot pies at the store. You know the ones that burn your poor tongue into oblivion if you don’t let it cool for at least 2 hours? Yeah, those guys. They are okay, but they aren’t outstanding and they certainly don’t make my bowl happy, at the very least, they don’t make me happy.
Sometime during my first year out of college, I saw an episode of Good Eats where Alton Brown was improving upon the church pot luck buffet. One of dishes of choice was a chicken pot pie. His pot pie included curry. I LOVE curry. It also didn’t involve a pie crust but instead puff pastry. I LOVE puff pastry. I knew this dish was about to be my new crush.
Indeed, it was.
It was the kind of crush that I loved from afar and when I finally got the chance to go on a date, one thing annoyed me.
That dang puff pastry.
It didn’t turn out like his… twice. I gave up after two attempts and brought in the ever so trusty pie crust. I also don’t stay very consistent on the type of chicken I put in (I’ve even made this with leftover Thanksgiving turkey). Sometimes I use chicken tenders leftover from another meal, or I boil some, or I bake some, or I have leftover fried chicken from a late night, “I was weak” run to Popeyes or KFC. This time I thought I would try out using frozen chicken nuggets.
Tyson Foods has a new product out called Tyson Crispy Bites. These guys are geared towards adults, but honestly, I don’t know why. My kid self would have LOVED a plate of these. They are quite delicious albeit a bit sweeter than a standard nugget, but not like honey sweet (i.e. – they still work in savory applications). I found a big bag of these at my local Sam’s Club and thought I’d try them out. I actually use leftover fried chicken in a few applications so having nuggets in my freezer on standby wouldn’t be a bad thing. Need a quick dinner? Bam. Tyson Crispy Bites and a salad. Need a semi-homemade dinner? Bam. Chicken pot pie! Really, these are going to be a versatile addition to my freezer full of “I work late and need a quick dinner” food.
WAIT, I know what you’re doing right now. You’re judging me for buying a chicken nugget from the freezer section. Hold on a minute, let me ‘splain. Tyson has completely revamped these nuggets to appeal to us adults (or those of us trying to pass as adults). They have less breading than their regular nuggets (yay, I hate when a nugget has more breading than protein). They are 100% all natural (which is good, especially if you’ve read that nasty rumor about a certain fast food joint’s nuggets melting… yes, melting – see, 100% natural sounds pretty amazing right now). They also aren’t pressed chicken in the shape of a nugget, this is the real deal. So, stop giving me that look. I know you have one of those $1.50 frozen pizzas sitting in your freezer.
Don’t deny it. If you do, I’ll say you’re fibbing.
Here’s the process. Prepare your taste buds, this one is outstanding!
Adapted from original recipe found here. Even though I use pie crust instead of the puff pastry, all other measurements and items stay the same… except the oil, you’ll see that below. My recommendation is to print off the original recipe and then follow my directions along side of it. Make sense? Good, let’s get started.
First of all, cook the Tyson Crispy Bites per the instructions on the package. If you don’t and your pot pie is terrible, I’m not to blame. I know a lot of people out there don’t follow directions, so I wanted to make that clear! Once cooked and cooled, dice it up into bite sized pieces. Maybe eat one or two nuggets in case you’re like me and cooked too many. Life is hard, chicken nuggets make a good appetizer.
Also, if you’re going to make your own pie dough, you might want to do that now. Make enough for two bits of pastry, one on bottom and one on top. I make my life easy and get a refrigerated dough. It’s easier and tastes pretty darned delicious. No need to reinvent the wheel when I’m trying to make this recipe nice and easy.
Next, I toss the frozen veggies with whatever oil I have. The recipe calls for canola oil but I stock vegetable oil and those two are so similar that I don’t notice a difference. Don’t use olive oil. You might think you’re being fancy, but this is pot pie, not coq au vin. After tossing the veggies with the oil, I spread them out on a pan (that is a well used pan in the picture, it’s proof that I cook a LOT, that kind of proof is a good thing) and stick them in the oven to do their browning.
Next I saute up my onions and celery per the instructions in the recipe and I heat up the broth and milk, also per the recipe. Is it starting to smell good in your house? It’s about to get even better. My favorite step is the curry step. YUM YUM YUM! I love this smell. LOVE it. Sometimes I sneak curry into oven fries or fried potatoes. I don’t sneak it into pancakes or anything like that (although, that sounds interesting… maybe for another post).
Here’s where I keep following the recipe to a T. Again, follow along at the link above. No need to double up on the details here.
Are you at the step where Alton pours the mixture into the baking dish? Then STOP. This is where I stray the most. Get out a pie plate (I like my standard Pyrex one and have found it works the best, but use whichever pie plate works best for you). Line the plate with one piece of your pie crust. Fill the crust with all the good stuff that makes up the filling. Use all of it, make sure it mounds in the plate, the pie is better that way. Then cover it with your other crust. You can pinch the edges or use a fork to make it pretty. Or you can just press it together. In the end, it tastes the same. Also, vent the crust. I do this by slicing 5 small vents in a star pattern on top of my pie. Do it how you like. It’s not rocket science.
Well, maybe not rocket science but don’t go all Edward Scissorhands on your pie. While Johnny Depp is totally adorbs in that movie, we all saw what happened to the waterbed, did we not? Lesson learned.
Cook it based on the temperature on the pie crust box but the time listed on the recipe (I’ll give you a hint, it’s 425 degrees for 25 minutes).
After it has baked, let it cool for about 10 minutes to set.
Put that pie in a bowl and LOVE it. It’s good. We eat it a lot. We also love it as leftovers. It’s just that good (which is saying something because we are terrible at reheating food).
Here’s a tip, it’s really good with extra sharp white cheddar cheese.
And iced tea.
Just look at it… mmmm…
Now that you have tried it, don’t you feel better knowing you can make a delicious and unique pot pie with something straight out of your freezer? No having to butcher a chicken from the back yard, I don’t even think I’d have the stomach for that. Just head up to your local Sam’s Club, head to the freezer section (the chicken freezer section, not the meat freezer section, apparently, in Sam’s world, chicken is different than meat… or maybe that’s just unique to my Sam’s Club) and snatch up a bag of these nuggets. They might cost a few dollars more than their regular nuggets but trust me, it’s worth it. These guys are good.
What’s your favorite recipe that uses something a little “non-traditional”? Do you have a favorite recipe that uses cake mix and diet soda? Favorite recipe for the use of wonton wrappers? I’d love to hear how you take something made for one purpose and turn it into something completely different. Please share in the comment section.