Chicken Pot Pie


I'm sorry for the gap in my posts.  Last Monday, my father passed away after a nearly 2 year battle with stage IV lung cancer.  As you could probably imagine, I haven't felt much like cooking this past week.  Within hours of hearing the news, friends of the family started dropping off food to my mother left and right.  We ended up with so many meat trays that I don't think I could ever look at lunch meat again in my life!  To break up the monotony of meat sandwiches (with a side of meat), Joel cooked a nice pot pie dinner on Tuesday that he found in The Essential New York Times Cook Book and brought it to my mom's for all of us.  It was an absolutely welcomed change of pace for us, and it was a really comforting meal in this time of sorrow.

1 1/2 pounds Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
2 cups Chicken Broth
4 tablespoons Butter
1 Onion, chopped
1/2 pound Red Potatoes, cut into 1/3 inch dice
8 Baby Carrots, peeled and halved lengthwise
1/2 cup Frozen Peas
1/4 pound Yellow Squash, halved
1/4 pound Zucchini
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper
6 tablespoons Flour
1 1/4 cups Milk
3/4 cup Heavy Cream
4 drops Tabasco Sauce
2 tablespoons Dry Sherry
2 tablespoons Mixed Herbs, chopped (parsley, chives, thyme)
1 (17.3 ounce) package Frozen Puff Pastry, thawed
1 Egg, lightly beaten

Place the chicken and broth in a large saucepan and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the chicken in cooked through, 15-20 minutes.  Remove from the heat and strain, reserving the stock.  Set the meat aside to cool.  Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and potatoes and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes.  Do not let them brown.  Add the carrots, peas, squash, and zucchini and cook until the vegetables just become tender, 6-7 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.  Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan over low heat.  Add the flour and cook, stirring for about 1 minute.  Slowly whisk in the reserved chicken broth.  Whisk in the milk and cream.  Raise the heat to medium and continue whisking until the mixture boils.  Remove from the heat and stir in the Tabasco, sherry, and herbs.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces.  Combine the chicken, cooked vegetables, and cream sauce in a bowl, then divide the mixture into 6 ovenproof bowls with a capacity of at least 2 cups each.  (The pot pies can be prepared to this point ahead and refrigerated for up to 24 hours).  Heat the oven to 400 degrees.  On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry dough out to a thickness of 1/4 inch.  Cut out 6 circles of pastry just slightly bigger than the diameter of your bowls.  Fit the pastry over the tops of the bowls, brush them lightly with the beaten egg, and use the tip of a knife to poke a few holes in the pastry.  Bake until the tops have browned and the filling bubbles, about 25 minutes.