Happy Valley Chow

gour-mand (noun): one who is excessively fond of eating and drinking

Chicken Pot Pie

Everybody remembers from their childhood having pot pies for dinner. I'm not even talking about homemade  pot pies either. I'm talking about the individual sized frozen ones that came in an aluminum pie pan. They were often tucked back in the freezer for those nights that nobody felt like cooking. You would toss them in the oven and then flip them over onto your plate in order to get them out of the pie pan. There was nothing special about them, but for some reason, to me at least, they always tasted delicious. This recipe definitely has that nostalgic pot pie taste, but with fresh ingredients. Bon Appétit!


  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 3 medium carrots, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch slices
  • 3 stalks of celery, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 large potato, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 12 Pearl Onions, chopped
  • 24 black peppercorns
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves

  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • generous pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt, or to taste

1 egg, beaten
2 Pie Crust Rounds (store bought or homemade)

Raw Veggies and Aromatics
Place the prepared potatoes, carrots, and onions in a saucepan with the bay leafs, thyme sprigs and peppercorns, then top with water to cover. Heat on a medium-high heat and bring to a simmer, leaving to cook until just tender (8-10 minutes).

Drain the vegetables, and discard the aromatics. Spread out on a large dish and leave on a dish to cool.

Pearl Onions - Potatoes - Carrots - Celery - Chicken
While the other vegetables are cooking, quickly blanch the celery for just over a minute in a large pot of boiling salted water. Drain and cool in a bowl of ice water, then add to the dish of cooling vegetables.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

In a medium saucepan heat the butter over medium heat. Once melted, slowly whisk in the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes (lower the heat to ensure the mixture doesn’t color). Whisk in the milk, adjusting the heat to achieve a gentle simmer, and cook, whisking occasionally, until the sauce has thickened and reduced to roughly 2 cups (30-40 minutes). Make sure you move the whisk over the bottom and corners of the pan to be prevent the béchamel from burning.

Pour the completed béchamel through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. Add the parsley, thyme, and cayenne, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

Béchamel Sauce
Place your first pie crust round into the bottom of a 9-10" pie plate, gently easing the dough into the corners and up the sides. Scatter the vegetables and chicken into the pie crust (you can make one large pie, or several individual servings), and evenly pour the béchamel over the ingredients. Place the second pie crust round over the pie dish and cut off any excess around the edges, firmly pressing down around the rim to secure. Brush the top of the pie lightly with egg wash and cut slits in the top of the pie in order to let excess steam escape.

Veggies, Chicken and Béchamel Sauce in Pie Crust

Pie crust top brushed with beaten egg
Place in the preheated oven (on the lower rack) and bake until golden brown (45-55 minutes). If the crust browns too quickly, cover with aluminium foil. Remove from the oven and leave to rest on a cooling rack for 10 minutes before serving.

Finished Product - Don't mind the poor presentation :)

Kitchen Word of the Day

Béchamel Sauce: Also known as white sauce, is one of the five mother sauces created by Antonin Carême then later reclassified by Auguste Escoffier. It is used in many recipes of Italian cuisine, for example lasagne. It is used as the base for other sauces (such as Mornay sauce, which is Béchamel with cheese). Béchamel Sauce is traditionally made by whisking scalded milk gradually into a white roux (equal parts butter and flour by weight). Another method, considered less traditional, is to whisk kneaded flour-butter (beurre manié) into scalded milk. The thickness of the final sauce depends on the proportions of milk and flour.

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