Put your fall haul of apples and cider to good use in Rach's sweet-savory twist on skillet chicken pot pie.
"These are prepared in individual skillets but it can also be prepared, of course, in one large skillet," Rach says. "The pastry may just take a bit longer too crisp at the center. Any entrée-size casseroles or large deep ramekins may also be used for this method."
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 large onion (or 2 medium), chopped
- 2 ribs celery with leafy tops, chopped
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons thyme, chopped
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 2 crisp apples, such as Honeycrisp or Gala, peeled, quartered, cored and chopped
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice (squeeze over apples when you chop them)
- 3 tablespoons flour, plus more to dust and roll the pastry dough
- ½ cup cloudy apple cider or hard cider
- 3 cups homemade or store-bought chicken stock or bone broth
- ½ cup heavy cream, optional
- About ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground or grated nutmeg
- White pepper or finely ground black pepper
- 1 poached (reserve stock) or rotisserie chicken, pull or chop the meat into small pieces and discard bones and skin
- 1 round teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 package puff pastry, defrosted in the refrigerator 2 hours before preparation
- 1 egg
- 1 to 1 ½ cups grated white sharp cheddar cheese, optional
- Parsley, finely chopped, to serve
Preheat oven to 375°F with rack at center oven.
Prepare chicken by deboning and removing skin, then chopping or pulling meat.
Place a pile of small cast iron skillets on stove next to skillet if you’re making individual pies.
Heat a large deep skillet or, if making this dish in one pan, a large cast iron skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Melt butter and when it foams, add onions, celery, bay, thyme and zest, season with salt, then let them sweat and soften a bit 3 to 4 minutes, stirring often, then add apples and stir a few minutes more. Sprinkle flour over the pan and stir a minute or 2, add cider and stir to fully incorporate, add stock and simmer at a low bubble to thicken, about 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce heat to simmer, add heavy cream, if using, add nutmeg and pepper to taste, thicken a bit, stir in chicken, add Dijon and remove from heat.
Roll out dough a bit on floured surface and cut as needed to top small pans or 1 large pan.
Beat egg with a splash water for egg wash.
Fill small pans, if using, with filling.
Cover pans or pan with dough and lightly brush with egg wash and cut a few vents in pastry. Bake until pastry begins to puff, about 18 to 22 minutes. If using cheddar, remove from oven, top with cheddar and bake until deeply golden brown, about another 4 to 5 minutes.
Serve individual pans on larger plates as under-liners or on trivets—those skillets are hot! Serve a large pan from center table, scoring the pastry as you serve into shallow bowls. Top with parsley.