Chicken Pot Pie

I don’t know about you, but after those cinnamon rolls yesterday, I’m feeling a little food guilt.  That’s why today I’m going to share a recipe that is just as comforting and tasty, but much, MUCH better for you.  I can hear you already – WAIT! What part of a cream and butter laden filling surrounded by flaky pie crust is good for you?!  And that, my friends, is where I correct you.  There is no milk or cream in this recipe.  The only flour is in the single layer of pie crust (which, by the way, can be omitted.  This recipe is FANTASTIC as a creamy chicken stew).  If you’re thinking there is no way a pot pie can taste good without the cream, just hang with me.  I promise if you make and eat this recipe you won’t even miss it.

Start by browning up some chicken.  I like boneless skinless breasts, but you can use whatever your favorite is.  When the chicken is brown and cooked through, set it aside to rest.

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Smash some garlic. Dice an onion and some celery. I toss it in the same pan I browned my chicken in with just a little extra butter or oil.

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While the onion and celery cook down, rough chop and entire head of cauliflower.  That’s right, I said cauliflower.  I don’t even like cauliflower. Just keep going.  You’ll be glad you did. When the onion is soft, add the cauliflower to the pot.

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Cover this whole mix with chicken broth.  I’m sure I’ll get some flack for this, but I used boxed broth for this recipe.  Sometimes I’m just plain out of homemade and don’t have the stuff to make more.  There’s enough going on in this recipe, that there is very little difference.  Use whichever you have.  Put a lid on it and let it simmer for at least 20 minutes.  The cauliflower should break apart when you touch it with a fork.  Dump the entire contents of the pot into a blender and puree until completely smooth and thick.

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Now, tell me that doesn’t look like a rich, creamy, buttery pot pie sauce to you.  I dice my chicken up while the cauliflower is simmering.  I also dice up some carrots.  Return the cauliflower sauce to the pan.  Add chicken, carrots and peas.  Season.

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I like to serve this in individual ramekins.  It keeps me honest about serving sizes.  But, fi you want to make it in a big dish, that’s fine too.  Filling in first.  Top with a single layer of pie crust.  Probably my biggest secret is that I don’t make pie crust.  It never turns out well and I get frustrated.  So, make your own if you want or grab a box of premade crust the next time you’re at the store.  I promise, I won’t judge. And, so you know, these 5 ramekins did not use all the filling.  I poured the rest in a 9″ round cake pan, topped it with a crust and took it to some friends for their dinner.

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Do be sure you cut some vent holes in the crust before you bake it.  About 15 minutes later, the crust will be golden and the filing will be bubbly. And yes, those are initials on the top of those pot pies.  I know I’m a dork.  Don’t rub it in.

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Serve with a spoon – and a salad if you must. (Sorry about the lighting on this picture.  I was too busy eating to pay attention to the light).

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Recipe:

1-2 Tablespoons butter or oil

1 pound chicken

2 stalks celery

1 medium onion

3 cloves garlic

1 head cauliflower

1 32 ounce box low sodium chicken broth

1 cup frozen peas

1 cup diced carrots

1/2 teaspoon parsley

salt and pepper

Prepared pie crust

Heat 1 Tablespoon butter or oil in a large soup pot.  Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.  Cook chicken until brown and cooked through.  Set aside to rest.

While chicken is cooking, dice onion and celery.  Smash garlic and discard peels. Add onion, celery and garlic to soup pot where chicken was cooked.  Add extra butter or oil if necessary.  Sautee until onions are tender.

While onion, celery and garlic are cooking, rough chop a medium sized head of cauliflower.  Add to pot with onion, celery and garlic.  Cover with broth.  Put a lid on the pot and simmer for at least 20 minutes or until cauliflower is very tender.  Cube your chicken while this is cooking. Also, this is a good time to preheat your oven to 450*.

Transfer cauliflower mixture to a blender and puree until completely smooth and thick. (You could use an immersion blender if you want, I just don’t have one). Return to pot.  Add carrots, peas, chicken and parsley.  Stir and taste for seasoning.  Add salt and pepper if necessary.

Scoop filling into individual dishes or pour into a large baking dish.  Top with prepared pie crust.  Use a paring knife to cut a few vent holes in the top of the pie crust near the middle.  Bake at 450* for 15 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

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