Sub-freezing temperatures, gale force winds, snow, rain, and sleet (both here and in Ireland) are cause for heavy doses of comfort food. I’ve been checking out recipes from my previous cookbooks and ran across quite a few for chicken pot pies with a number of variations. I tried this one last night that includes ham and leeks and found it to be the perfect remedy for a cold and dreary night. It can be made in one large casserole dish, in individual casseroles, or used as a filling for vol-au-vents, puff pastry shells that are filled with creamy mixtures of meat, seafood, or vegetables.
Chicken, Ham, and Leek Pot Pie
3 cups homemade chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 small potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-in. pieces
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 small leeks, white part only, washed and sliced
1 small onion, chopped
4 large white mushrooms, diced
4 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 cup cooked chicken, cut into 1/2-in. pieces
1 cup cooked ham, diced
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1 tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Pinch of dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed according to package directions
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Butter a 9-in. deep-dish pie pan or six (1 cup) individual casserole dishes or ramekins.
2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring the stock or broth, celery, and potatoes to a boil. Reduce heat and then simmer for about 8 minutes, or until the potatoes are slightly tender. Add the carrots and cook for about 10 minute longer, or until all the vegetables are tender. Drain and reserve the broth; reserve the vegetables.
3. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the leeks, onion, and mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft but not browned.
4. Stir in the flour, and then whisk in 1 cup reserved stock and the half and half. Cook, whisking constantly, for about 4 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.
5. Stir in the reserved vegetables, chicken, ham, peas, parsley, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper and, if too thick, add the remaining reserved stock. Spoon the mixture into the prepared dish(s).
6. Dust a work surface with flour. Roll out the puff pastry and cut to fit the dishes and brush the pastry with egg wash. Put the dish(s) on a baking sheet and cut a few slits in each crust to release the steam. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed and golden.
7. Remove the pie(s) from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes on a wire rack before serving.