Chicken Pie with Potato-Rutabaga Crust

chicken pie with potato-rutabaga crustHaving been surrounded all afternoon by the aroma of the chicken stock simmering in the kitchen I just had to make chicken for dinner; and it had to incorporate some of that stock. What I came up with is a bit like a chicken version of shepherd’s pie. The filling is similar to a classic chicken fricassee and for the topping I combined potatoes with rutabagas for a little extra flavor. If you do not like rutabaga just use more potatoes. The only flavoring besides the meat and vegetables is a bit of tarragon—a must for real fricassee. Fresh is best but I made do with dried. You could use other herbs in addition to or instead of tarragon if you prefer—thyme would be good. The one essential ingredient is a rich chicken stock. If you have no homemade stock I suggest buying a good salt-free stock and boiling it to concentrate by half.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • ½ pound rutabaga, peeled and cubed
  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • 10 to 12 ounces chicken breast cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, about ½ pound, peeled and cut into ¼-inch rounds
  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 2 to 4 ounces mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp. flour, I use white rice flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper

Method

Preheat oven to 350°F (325° for convection). Bring a pot of water to a boil and put in the rutabaga. Boil gently for 5 minutes then add the potatoes and continue to cook for another 10 minutes or until the vegetables can be pierced easily with a small knife. Drain, leaving about ¼ cup of water behind. Set aside.

Lightly oil an 8-inch pie pan. Heat about 1 Tbsp. each of olive oil and butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken well on all sides, about 4 or 5 minutes. Using tongs, remove to the pie pan leaving as much fat behind as possible.

Reduce heat to medium then add the onion and carrots to the pan. Sauté until the carrots are softened and the onion begins to color, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute or two then add the peas. If using frozen just toss until they are thawed. Turn the vegetables into the pie pan and spread over the chicken.

Melt 1 Tbsp. of butter in the pan and add the mushrooms. Sauté for a few minutes until they begin to give up their liquid. Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and stir to make roux, adding a bit of olive oil if needed. Add the chicken stock a bit at a time and stir in well. Cook down to the consistency of heavy cream. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Pour over the chicken and vegetable. Mash the potatoes and rutabagas with a bit of butter, season with salt and pepper to taste, and spread over the top. Dot with butter and bake for 30 to 45 minutes.

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