Chicken “Pan” Pie
What do I do with all these leftovers? This is a question I ask myself about three times a week. In summertime I usually answer that question by making a salad. Now that it is September and the weather has broken…that is to say it was 54° in St. Louis this morning, I feel like baking again.
I have a leftover half of a roasted chicken, some left over portions of veggies, and a pie crust in the ‘fridge I made a couple of days ago that I never used because it was too hot. Today, this meal was inspired by all these variables serendipitously becoming available… especially the cooler weather.
The crust is an easy home made one that takes no time to whip up and the filling to this “chicken pan pie” is a mixture of sauteed vegetables including:
- One red onion peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
- 2 ribs of celery in tiny dice
- 2 medium carrots peeled and thinly sliced with the peeler
- a small head of broccoli well chopped
- 1/3 cup frozen green beans cut in half inch pieces
- 1/3 cup frozen peas
I decided to put the crust into a well seasoned 9″ cast iron skillet. It has a good depth for all these vegetables as well as several other advantages. I made enough dough for a top and bottom crust.
In a large non-stick skillet I cooked all these chopped veggies in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once the veggies began to brown up nicely, I put them off to the side in a bowl. I then sprinkled about 1/4 cup all purpose flour over the chicken pieces and tossed it around in another bowl. With the chicken well coated in flour, I dumped it into my skillet with a knob of butter and stirred it around to get the chicken warmed. In the bowl the chicken was in I made a slurry of an additional 1/2 cup flour, 1/cup water, 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. I poured that in the skillet, stirring until all the sauce thickened then added the veggies back in and continued stirring until everything was well mixed.
Everything was added to the pie crust I prepared earlier in the pan. I quickly rolled out the top crust, placed it over the chicken and veggies, crimped the edges together, made deep slits to vent steam while baking, and put it into a preheated 400° oven for 35 minutes or so. When the crust was golden brown on the edges I knew the pie would be done nicely.
I chose a cast iron skillet to bake for several reasons: Cooking in cast iron actually adds iron to your diet, it has a handle for easy removal from the oven, and being a very dark color helps the crust become very crispy on the bottom. That is a big plus when you are baking a pie with a highly liquid filling. I take every opportunity to use my cast iron ware because the more it is used, the more non-stick it becomes. A well seasoned skillet makes for an easy clean-up. After a while cast iron can almost be wiped clean. I found this one at a rummage sale and the seasoning work was already done. I love that it was only a dollar. The food I cook in it comes out tasting like a million bucks!