Chicken pot pie is the ultimate comfort food, a rib-sticking stew topped with a buttery crust that’s the perfect meal for a winter day.

Making the dish involves many basic cooking techniques that, once mastered, will empower cooks to take on even more complex recipes.

To make the dish, you’ll need a 6-quart pot, 8-ounce crocks, butcher’s twine and a food processor.  


Serves 6

For the chicken and broth
2 quarts chicken stock
5 cloves
1 whole onion, peeled and stuck with the cloves
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 quarter-slice of an orange
1 rib of celery, cut into two 5-inch lengths
1 large carrot, peeled, split and cut into 5-inch lengths
1 leek, roots and tops trimmed to leave a 5-inch piece
5 sprigs of thyme
5 bay leaves
3 sprigs of parsley
1 whole chicken, about 2¼ pounds

For the pastry
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
6 ounces cold butter, diced
3 ounces cold water
1 egg, beaten

For the sauce
3 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
Broth from poaching the chicken
½ cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons salt (1 teaspoon if using store-bought broth)
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 pinch cayenne

For the filling
½ cup frozen peas
Carrots and celery from poaching the chicken


Poach the chicken

Bring the stock to a simmer in a 6-quart pot, toss in the onion stuck with cloves, garlic and the orange slice. Using about 8 inches of butcher’s twine, tie the celery, carrot, leek, thyme, bay leaves and parsley stems into a large bundle. Toss it into the pot. Rinse and dry the chicken. Toss it into the pot, breast side up. Reduce heat to the lowest possible simmer and cover the pot with a lid or parchment paper cut to fit inside. Simmer until the entire chicken is cooked through, about 90 minutes.

Take the chicken out of the pot and let it cool, keeping the broth. Save the bundle of vegetables and herbs and the garlic; discard the onion and orange. Cut the string on the bundle, and dice the carrots, leeks and celery, discarding everything else. Remove and dice all of the meat from the chicken and discard the bones. Strain the cooking broth into a pot. Reduce the broth for 20 minutes over low heat to about 3 cups, skimming off any fat.  

Make the pastry

While the chicken is cooking, combine the flour, salt, cold butter and cold water in a food processor and pulse-chop to form a ragged mass. Turn out onto a work surface and gently work the mixture into a dough that is slightly streaked with butter and not tacky to the touch. Dust with an additional tablespoon of flour or two, if necessary. Form the dough into a 1-inch thick disk, about 8 inches in diameter. Wrap the dough and chill it in the refrigerator for an hour. Beat and refrigerate the egg, which will be used later as a wash for the pastry.

See the gallery below for instructions on how to make the sauce and assemble the pot pies.