Nothing beats Grandma’s cooking. The aroma in the air, the time spent with family and the taste of a homemade comfort dish are what inspired Alyssa Petty to get started in the culinary business.
“I like to spend time baking with my grandmother (Mema), and we came up with this recipe for mini chicken pot pies, so it is very special to me,” Petty says.
Petty chose to feature her grandma’s mini chicken pot pie recipe because it is a simple, yet warming food perfect for fall.
Petty uses an old-fashioned recipe from the 1950s and modifies it to achieve a delicious flaky crust.
“It is what makes it so yummy,” Petty says.
About the chef
Alyssa Petty is a fourth semester student in the Johnson County Community College Chef Apprentice and Hospitality Management Program. She works in customer service at Price Chopper. Her ambition is to own a bakery someday with her grandmother and share all the delicious recipes they make together.
About the column
Cooking 101 is an occasional column exclusive to The Star designed to introduce home cooks to basic cooking techniques. The recipe, food styling and photography are a joint project between culinary students and instructors at Johnson County Community College’s Hospitality Management Program.
About the food stylist
Kaarin Nelson works with the chef and photographer to prop and arrange the best shot. She is a fourth-semester interior design student at JCCC.
Mini Chicken Pot Pies With Savory Crust
Makes 6 servings
For the filling:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups warm chicken stock
1 (4- to 5-pound) whole roasted chicken, cooled, deboned and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 cup peas
1 1/4 cup diced carrots
1 1/2 cup green beans, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
For the pie crust:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup butter-flavored shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
5 to 6 tablespoons ice water
3 to 4 cups medium diced russet potatoes
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
To make the filling: In a medium-sized pot melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add flour and stir with a whisk to create a roux. Continue whisking until the roux takes on a slightly golden brown color. Whisk in the warm chicken stock and simmer until the sauce starts to thicken.
Fold in chicken, peas, carrots and green beans and set aside.
To make the crust: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a sheet pan, place six tins, spacing them evenly.
In a large bowl, mix the flour and shortening until it looks like cornmeal using a pastry blender or two knives. Add the salt, Parmesan cheese, parsley and Italian seasoning, and stir until evenly distributed. Add water and continue mixing until a dough forms. Gather it into a ball. Wrap in waxed paper and place in the refrigerator to chill for 20 to 30 minutes
Dust the surface of the counter and rolling pin with flour. Take about a palm size (or a little more) of dough. Roll the dough in a circular motion, until it is about twice the size of the opening of the pie tin. Carefully slide the crust over the pie pan, making sure there is a little overhang. Repeat the process to form bottom crusts for all 6 pies.
Fill each pie with a scoop of chicken and vegetable filling.
With remaining dough, roll out a top crust about the size of the opening of the pie. Cut off extra crust hanging out and crimp the sides with fingers or use a fork and gently press along the edge of pie. Put a couple of small cuts on top for pie to ventilate when cooking. Repeat the process to seal top crust on all 6 pies.
Bake pies for 30 to 40 minutes. Allow pies to cool at least 10 minutes before serving.
Optional garnishes: In a medium-sized pot, boil potatoes until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the water and mash them like you would for mashed potatoes. Spoon mashed potatoes on plate
In a medium-sized sauté pan, caramelize the onions, about 30 minutes, or more. When the onions are reduced to a rich brown and syrupy consistency, add the mushrooms and cook until tender, then top pies with the caramelized mixture.
Per serving, without optional garnishes: 686 calories (50 percent from fat), 37 grams total fat (1 gram saturated), 104 milligrams cholesterol, 45 grams carbohydrates, 40 grams protein, 1,437 milligrams sodium, 5 grams dietary fiber.