How to Make the Perfect Pot Pie
Get ready for Rach's chicken pot pie cook-along on Saturday by learning two techniques: poaching chicken and blanching veggies.
Rach is helping us through quarantine with the thing she knows best: food. This Friday, she's hosting a chicken pot pie cook-along to help you make a delicious and comforting dinner. Get ready by learning a couple techniques and stocking up on some ingredients (see bottom). Follow @rachaelray, @rachaelrayshow, and @rachaelraymag on Instagram for more updates (and to send Rach questions you want her to answer while she's cooking)!
Poaching chicken (cooking it slowly in liquid) makes sure that the meat stays tender. This method works with any kind of chicken you've got: boneless, skinless breasts; bone-in skin-on thighs; leg quarters; or a whole bird. The cooking time depends on how much chicken you're cooking and whether it's bone-in or boneless. If you're cooking a couple of medium-size boneless breasts, it'll probably take 10 to 15 minutes. If you're cooking three extra-large bone-in chicken breasts, it will probably take around an hour or maybe a bit longer. The meat is done when it's cooked through, so that's what you're looking for.
Rach's Poached Whole Chicken
Defrost the chicken, pat it dry, and place the whole chicken (or cut it into pieces) in a pot with a carrot, celery, onion, peppercorns, salt, garlic, and fresh or dried herbs. You can use bay leaves, parsley (stems and/or leaves), thyme, dill, tarragon...whatever you like. Add enough water to just to barely cover the chicken. Bring the water to a low boil, then reduce the heat as needed to keep it at a low boil. For a whole chicken, let it go 75 to 90 minutes, turning occasionally. Let the chicken cool completely in the stock. Remove the chicken and set aside until ready to use. Strain the stock and reserve.
DIY Frozen Veggies
If you can get your hands on fresh vegetables right now but you aren't able to cook through them quickly, freezing them ensures that you'll have ingredients at peak freshness for future use.
Rach's DIY Frozen Veggies
Prepare an ice bath. Drop the veg (asparagus, peas, broccolini, green beans, whatever!) in a few inches of boiling salted water. Blanch them until they turn a vibrant green, which shouldn't take more than a minute. Using a strainer, scoop the veggies out and plunge into the ice water. Strain the veggies and transfer them to kitchen towels to dry. Arrange them in a single layer on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper and pop it into the freezer. The reason for separating the vegetables is because you want to freeze each piece completely. If you freeze a whole pile of veggies, you'll end up with one mushed up block of veg. Freezing the vegetables like this means that you can take out and use only as much as you need from the freezer baggie.
What You Need to Make Rach's Chicken Pot Pie
Gather your ingredients now so you're ready for the cook-along!
Chicken: Rach is poaching a whole one, but you can use pieces, breasts, or thighs—whatever you've got!
Basics: Carrots, onions, and celery. Mushrooms, parsnips, fennel, and potatoes work, too.
Bonus: Frozen vegetables. Blanch your favorite spring vegetables like peas and asparagus, or create your own combo.
Flavor boosters: Garlic, Dijon mustard, and herbs. Fresh or dried both work, and you can use any combo of bay, parsley, tarragon, thyme, dill.
Thickener: Butter or oil plus flour or potato starch
Liquid: Milk and/or chicken stock and/or half-and-half, cream, white wine, reserved cooking liquid from poaching chicken…any combo works.
Topper: Defrosted frozen puff pastry. A tube of biscuits works, or you can use your own biscuit mix!
Finishing touch: Egg or egg substitute for egg wash