Posted on 01/21/2014

Photo taken on January 20, 2014

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Chicken Pot Pie Re-imagined

Chicken Pot Pie Re-imagined
It is comfort food weather here. I had an occasion to use up some ingredients collected over the holiday and to also try out a couple of bread-making techniques this last Saturday. I was also too lazy to squeeze in a trip to the store. I don't blame myself too much because it isn't exactly a snap to hit the grocery.

But I did my best at both the dough tricks and my overall vision for this which was to re-imagine chicken pot pie as a pizza pie. When growing up we would have the Swanson frozen chicken pot pies. I loved the intense flavor of the crust which had a crispy outside and was saturated with creamy sauce, speckled with green peas and pieces of orange carrot. Here and there was a scant piece of chicken. Early on it was clear to me that chicken was in the name only. I didn't care.

For this pizza, I replaced the sauce of the chicken pot pie of memory with Joy of Cooking alfredo sauce using some excellent parmigiano-reggiano I had acquired for a dinner for EFJ and CAJ. The green peas got replaced with jarred pesto (nothing like I was able to make in Garden City but did the job) and also with chopped green onion. The chicken was magnified many times using thinly filleted chicken breasts marinaded in seven large minced garlic cloves, sea salt, five peppercorn grind, rosemary, and lemon peel. Grilling would have been a natural for this but I chose to broil so all of the garlic wouldn't get lost in the grill. NLJ carefully placed four thick slices of provolone on the crust to serve as a base for the other toppings. We also used some mozzarella. Because I opted not to go to the store, there were no julienned carrots. I kept returning to the idea of replacing them with sundried tomatoes but it just didn't fit. I remembered too late that I had classic mirepoix in the freezer which would have actually been the ideal start point for this chicken pot pizza pie. This was an exploration so I will try it again probably next Fall.

To get both more flavor and enough bread bulk to soak up the sauce, I made a whole batch of pizza dough for a relatively small pizza and allowed most of the flour and water in the recipe to autolyse for two hours thus making it possible to avoid kneading which reduces flavor. Butter, olive oil, yeast, and the remaining flour and water were pre-fermented for the same period of time making a sponge that was easily five times the height of the original mix of ingredients. Salt was sprinkled in evenly over the top and allowed slow introduction via stand mixer. The dough was kneaded only very lightly. It raised at room temperature for ninety minutes and then a slow rise in the refrigerator. I couldn't taste it but the audience for whom it was intended said the crust did have a lot of flavor and I could tell when cutting it that it sopped up a lot of the sauce.

As I say, I have no idea how this turned out in terms of taste or texture but I know it had to have been fairly decent because the Tinybean rolled out the dough for us and then did the requisite poking with her fingers (we washed hands really good beforehand); she brushed the edges with water so I could seal up a good edge to keep the alfredo sauce fenced in; and after the crust received a quick oven rise, she put the toppings on with the help of Gramma Cinny. The photograph was taken prior to final baking.

Don Conner
Don Conner
Very creative!
3 years ago.