That’s where this variation on the chicken pot pie steps in. The filling of diced chicken and vegetables comes together fairly quickly — chopping the chicken is the most time-consuming part.
Once the filling is made, it can then be spooned into a ramekin and topped with squares of layered phyllo and baked in about 15 minutes. I bake off one or two for a single night’s meal for me and my husband. I tuck the filling and phyllo in the refrigerator and then, I take a break, skipping a night or two, before reheating the filling, scooping it into ramekins again, freshly layering with phyllo and baking the second batch.
That break can be all I need to appreciate the dish again. It’s leftovers, yes, but because it is freshly baked, it doesn’t feel that way.
The chicken mixture is easy to use in other ways, too. It is great spooned over egg noodles or cubed potatoes. (It also can be made into a full-size pie with traditional dough; see NOTE).
To jazz up this version, I added a splash of Worcestershire sauce and sherry, which I highly recommend.
When I’m in a hurry, I toss in frozen vegetables, but I’ve found this dish is a great way to use up leftover roasted veggies, too.
The recipe is easy to alter flavor-wise, as well by subbing in other seasonings and herbs.
For example, cut the thyme, nutmeg and sherry and take it in another direction by adding a seeded, diced a jalapeño with 1/4 teaspoon chili powder, cumin, oregano and some fresh cilantro for a Mexican-style pie; or maybe mince a couple of garlic cloves and a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger and add that with a splash of white wine, a few sliced scallions and water chestnuts.
I’ve found myself returning to this pantry-friendly preparation again and again, scanning my spice rack and crisper drawers to shift the flavors to suit my mood.
It’s my antidote to the tired-of-cooking, but still longing for warm-from-the-oven comfort food conundrum. It’s pretty, too.
Make ahead: The filling can be made up to 3 days in advance. If the filling is chilled, warm it and then fill the ramekins before baking.
Notes: This filling also works well in a whole pot pie. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Make or buy 2 savory pie doughs. Roll out both doughs on a lightly floured surface to about 13-inch circles. Line a 9-inch, deep-dish glass or aluminum pie plate with one of the doughs. Spoon the warm filling into the crust-lined dish. Gently drape the second crust over the filling, trimming away any excess and sealing and crimping the edges. Cut four 1-inch slits into the top dough. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake for an additional 15 minutes, checking after 10 minutes, until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbly. If the crust begins to brown too quickly, cover the crust edge with strips of foil. Let stand for at least 5 minutes before serving.
If you like your chicken pot pie creamier, you can use up to 1 cup of sour cream in the filling.
- 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 medium yellow or white onion (about 10 ounces), halved and thinly sliced
- 1 (10- or 12-ounce) bag frozen mixed vegetables (2 to 2 1/2 cups), defrosted
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, plus more as needed
- 2 cups no-sodium chicken broth, divided
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup sour cream, plus more as needed
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)
- 1 tablespoon dry sherry (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt, plus more as needed
- Canola oil, or any neutral oil, for greasing ramekin
- 6 (9-by-14-inch) sheets phyllo dough, defrosted (follow package directions)
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees.
In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 teaspoons of oil until shimmering. Add the chicken and cook, stirring often, until it turns white, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
Reduce the heat to medium, and add the remaining oil and the onions. Cook, stirring, until slightly softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the vegetables, thyme, nutmeg and cayenne and cook, stirring occasionally, until hot, 2 to 4 minutes.
Add 1 3/4 cups of broth to the skillet and bring to a boil.
In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining broth and the cornstarch, then whisk both into the broth in the skillet. Return the mixture to a boil and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes.
Turn off the heat and return the chicken to the skillet. Add the sour cream, Worcestershire sauce (if using), sherry (if using) and salt, and stir to combine. Taste, and adjust the sour cream, salt and cayenne as desired.
Grease four 10- to 12-ounce ovenproof baking dishes by lightly brushing with oil. When ready to bake, fill each ramekin with 1 cup to 1 1/4 cups of chicken mixture.
Divide the phyllo into 2 stacks of 3 three sheets each, coating each sheet lightly with the cooking spray before stacking. Cut each stack in half crosswise to create 4 stacks. Drape one stack over each baking dish, tucking in any overhanging edges.
Place the pot pies on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Bake 12 to 15 minutes (check after 12 minutes,) or until the filling is bubbly and the tops turn golden.
Let rest for 2 minutes before serving. Serve hot.
Calories: 427; Total Fat: 15 g; Saturated Fat: 5 g; Cholesterol: 88 mg; Sodium: 510 mg; Carbohydrates: 41 g; Dietary Fiber: 5 g; Sugar: 4 g; Protein: 32 g.
Recipe from recipes editor Ann Maloney.