Chicken Pot Pie With A Twist

To appropriately make a chicken pot pie, you must start with an appropriate chicken!

You can choose your apparatus to cook both the chicken and the pie, but I use my BGE herein.

I've been using applewood a lot lately for smoke on the Big Green Egg, especially when I'm cooking poultry.  Whatever type wood you choose, it's just a new flavor which we are enjoying for a while.

I'm not big on the various premixed poultry seasonings out there.  I mix up my own, but for this pot pie bird, I simply sprinkled on some lemon pepper and sea salt.  I'm using other ingredients in the pie which have their own flavors which I'm going for in taste, so I don't want to start messing them up by seasoning the chicken too much.  You can't go wrong with lemon pepper and salt, however.

You'll notice the giblets (gizzards and livers) on the grill bed.  Most people throw those away, but they are the most flavorful part of the entire chicken.  Especially when they have taken on a little smoke from the BGE.  Keep an eye on them, however.  They will be done long before the bird.  Nice little cook's tidbit to enjoy while you are into the cooking. No one has to know...

I set my BGE up on indirect heat, and since I was going for done chicken which will be cooked further to tenderness in the pot pie, I cooked at around 350 degrees.  Took about an hour.  (Expect the same in a regular oven.)  Take the guesswork out, however.  I set my iGrill2 probe to be just in the middle of the breast, and about an inch from the middle of the back, which is the thickest area of the bird, so the last to be done.  Notice the nice brown patina on the finished bird.  When your meat thermometer indicates your bird is at temperature, retire it to a plate and the kitchen for it to have a bit of a rest.

I always cook chicken with the skin on, because that holds in the moisture and makes for a much more tender product.  Since we are going to pull this bird for the pie, so ahead and use your tongs and a knife to cut and pull off all of the skin.  It's served its purpose, and taking it off will help the bird to rest better and cool a bit faster.  If you'd like, you can also make a few cross cuts in the breasts to allow the heat to escape faster.  Remember, you have to get in there to shred this meat, so you want to get it cooled as soon as you can.
Make your own choice as to how fine you pull the meat, but I prefer to have some substance in the size when it goes into the pie.  I have found that if you chop it, mince it, or otherwise make it small, your pie comes out looking like you use Swanson's Canned Chicken, so keep some substance in the size of your 'morsels.'

Now we start the mix of our filling...

In a mixing bowl, combine 3-15 ounce cans of VegeAll mixed vegetables, and two cans of cream of mushroom soup.  Add in your chicken.  Add about a teaspoon and a half of Sea Salt and pepper to taste, and mix well.  I prefer fresh ground pepper, but suit yourself.  Now here is the secret ingredient, and I'm only mentioning it once!  A package of chicken flavored Ramen Soup noodles.  Break them completely up in the package, throw away the seasoning package, and mix well into your chicken soup mixture.  Trust me on this.  SSSSHHHH.  It's VERY IMPORTANT that no one sees you add this ingredient.  It's OUR LITTLE SECRET.  Don't tell a soul...  

I actually made two pies in this session, and you will (should) as well!  

Here's the rub.  As good as it tastes, it's always better to give than receive, and who would want to receive a part of a chicken pot pie!  Just call some random person and tell them you are bringing their dinner (or dinner for the next evening).  It refrigerates well!

If you are into making your own crusts, that's fine by me, but I concentrate more on tastes, aromas, etc., and leave the little points like pie crusts to the pros.  Refrigerated dairy 2-pack pie crusts by Pillsbury.  DO NOT buy store brands.  You can trust certain names, and you don't want to mess up all of your hard work on flavor by an incidental that tastes like it came out of a junkyard dumpster.  Trust me on this.

Line your pan with the dough, and using a sharp paring knife, bring the crust just up and over the lip of the bowl.   Add in your chicken veggie mix to about a half inch from the top, and smooth level with the back of your tongs or a spoon.  Have you noticed this tong fetish by now?

Using the second pie crust from the package, carefully lay it over your pan of absolute goodness.  Using that same paring knife, hold it vertical to the side of the pan and cut off the excess all of the way around.  

Next, using a fork, seal the pie all way around, pressing to seal the bottom crust to the top crust.  Last step of prep is to put plenty of air holes in the pie by 'forking' it.  Don't worry about having too many holes.  The worry is more to not have enough holes.  The more holes, the less that the 'innards' tend to bubble out.
Here you can see that shapes of pans may vary, but any shape of pan containing a fresh chicken pot about to be pie looks awesome!

Now we are either on the BGE or in the oven at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.  Using the BGE, I had set it up for indirect heat.  Direct heat would just be too much to avoid a burnt bottom shell.  You'll just have to trust me on this point... Unless you really think that you just have to try it for yourself.  Forewarned.  Smile.  Same instructions for a conventional oven.

After about 30 minutes, start your 5 minute interval checks for doneness.  Just so we all understand, everything inside is already cooked before we started, so as to the contents, we are just basically heating and tenderizing.  What we are looking for here is our presentation  - the just perfectly browned crust!  You are the sole decider of when your pies are done, so pick your color of perfection, and remove to the kitchen counter to rest when you feel like it.   But...

... At 30 minutes, melt about a half stick of butter and get your basting brush ready.  When you take the pie out to rest, brush it with the melted butter.
Always cook on the BGE with multiple tasks in mind.  The tin foiled 'thingies' are two sweet potatoes, but that's a completely separate blog...

Time to set the table while your pie rests for about 10 minutes.  

I recommend placing the pie in front of you on the table, and with a large, and I mean LARGE, serving spoon, ask one by one for everyone's plate, serving them a LARGE portion.







One 6-7 pound broiler chicken
3-15 ounce cans of Vege-All
2-15 ounce cans of Cream of Mushroom Soup
Sea Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper
2 packages Pilsbury Refrigerated Pie Crusts (2 shells per pack)
1 package of chicken flavor Ramen Soup Noodles
1/2 stick of butter


After removing the giblets from your bird, with whatever method you prefer, cook the whole chicken to internal temperature of 170 degrees, then remove to the counter to rest for about 10 minutes.

Line two 8 inch pie pans with a pie crust, and trim sides to just lip to and over the top of the pan.  

In a mixing bowl, combine the Vege-All, Cream of Mushroom soup.  Add about a teaspoon and a half of salt, and add pepper until it looks to your preference.  

Using your tongs, 'tear' the chicken meat off of the carcass.  You are looking for nice sized morsels of meat, not a canned chicken look, so have a go at it.  Careful to note that you don't get any gristle, fat, nor bone into your pulled chicken.  It's good to pull it onto a separate plate, then with your hands, transfer the chicken meat to your veggie mix.  After adding the chicken, mix all well.

Transfer the chicken/veggie mixture to each pan, to about 1/4-12 inch from the top.  Cover each pie with a remaining crust, and using a knife held vertically, trim off all excess all the way around.  Using a fork, pinch all of the way around the pie, to form a seal.

Transfer your pies to a 350 degree oven for about 35-40 minutes.  At approximately 30 minutes, begin your 5 minute interval 'appearance' test.  You want a golden brown crust.  That's your only concern.  Everything in the pie was pre-cooked when it went in.  You're just heating it up, so concentrate on a color which you like for the crust, and remove from the oven to rest.  Immediately upon removal, brush melted butter over the top of the crust.

After about a 10 minute rest, you are ready to serve.

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