I think I understand what he meant. It's nice to have warm pastry crust covering a bowl of savoury, creamy chicken with chunky vegetables. As long as the vegetables are not cooked to death, I can see myself enjoying it too, despite feeling barely lukewarm for chicken pot pie.
My assignment: read up chicken pot pie recipes by the usual suspects, then see if I could come up with my own version. Not too fatty and more importantly not time-consuming. Flipping back and forth between cookbooks and websites, I compared, in particular, the roux, combination of ingredients, sequence, choice of pastry and the oven settings.
The recipes I compared had different approaches in making the sauce. One way is to prepare the sauce separately. That too, could be before or after the ingredients are taken care of. I chose to make the sauce sometime after the parboiling, blanching and draining of vegetables. As for the stock, don't feel bad using stock cubes or powder, just as long as you choose one that is free of MSG and preferably organic.
Lastly, this recipe makes four hearty servings enough as a meal by itself. Otherwise a simple tossed salad would accompany this rather well too. For us, I only had one serving of it for evaluation while JL had the other three. I was reluctant to leave the assembled pot pies in the fridge, and don't want to know what might happen to the unbaked puff pastry after three nights. So I baked all four of them, and on subsequent evenings, reheated JL's serving in the oven at 120°C for 20 minutes.
And don't worry about crimping the pastry perfectly. It is what's inside that counts the most. Remember to transfer the pastry from the freezer to the fridge to defrost overnight. Then you won't waste a minute waiting to roll it out.
2 carrots, cut into 2-cm chunks
2 celery stalks, cut into 2-cm chunks
1 cup frozen peas
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
600 ml vegetable stock
100 ml cream
1 small rotisserie chicken, skin and bones discarded, torn in shreds
1 tablespoon fresh English parsley, chopped
1 packet puff pastry (500 g), defrosted
1 egg, beaten
Parboil the carrots in a medium pot with salted water for 10 minutes. In the 8th minute, add celery. In the 9th, add frozen peas. Empty the pot into a colander under cold running water. Drain off the water and set the vegetables aside.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan. When it stops bubbling, add the onion and garlic, stirring it till the onion has softened. Add the flour and continue to stir with the onion until it no longer smells of raw flour. Add the stock gradually and keep stirring so that there are no clumps. Add the cream and stir thoroughly, bringing it to the boil.
Add the carrots, celery, peas, chicken and parsley, and mix thoroughly. Turn off the heat and divide the mixture among four individual oven-proof bowls. Then set these aside to work on the pastry.
Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and filling is hot. Leave to stand for a few minutes before serving.