Nothing says comfort food quite like a homemade chicken pie. Roxane Gay shares her favourite recipe from Alison Roman’s cookbook Unfussy Food for Having Friends Over.
“I would love Alison Roman to choose a recipe from her new cookbook,” says Stylist guest editor Roxane Gay. “She’s just great and her recipes are really good.”
When we reach out to her, American cook and food writer Roman is all too happy to oblige.
“Chicken pot pie is a highly underrated food, and one that I crave often,” she says.
“Like all pies, the concept feels kind of fussy (there’s a crust, a filling, you have to assemble it) but this one gets built in one skillet (or dish) and you can even use store-bought puff pastry, so it’s actually pretty easy. Bits of shredded chicken floating in a deeply savoury gravy with torn greens may not look like much, but cover it with a crunchy, golden brown top and she’s a beauty.”
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 30 minutes
INGREDIENTS (serves 4-6)
• 1 kg bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or breasts
• Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
• 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
• 2 leeks, white and light green parts, thinly sliced, or 1 white onion, thinly sliced
• 450g mushrooms, a mix of varieties, cut into bite-sized pieces
• 60g unsalted butter
• 3 tbsps plain flour, plus extra for dusting
• 750ml low-salt chicken stock, plus an extra 250ml if forgoing the cream
• 250ml double cream or crème fraiche (optional)
• 200g fresh greens, such as kale, torn into bite-sized pieces
• 3 tbsps chopped tarragon
• 3 tbsps chopped chives or parsley, tender leaves and stems
• 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed
• 1 large egg, lightly beaten
Step 1: Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
Step 2: Heat the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook until the skin is deeply golden brown and crisped and most of the fat has rendered, 10-12 minutes. Using tongs, flip the chicken and continue to cook until browned and mostly cooked through, another 8-10 minutes.
Step 3: Transfer the chicken to a large plate to rest, leaving all the fat and golden bits behind while you build the rest of the pie.
Step 4: Add the garlic and leek to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the leek is bright green and tender, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and season. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms and leek have started to brown, 8-10 minutes.
Step 5: Add the butter and let it melt, then add the flour and stir to coat the vegetables. Cook just long enough to take the raw floury edge off, but without browning the flour, 2-3 minutes. Add the stock, stirring to scrape up any bits stuck on the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer and season with salt and pepper. If using cream, add it now; if not, add the additional 250ml stock. Season again.
Step 6: Separate the chicken meat from the bones, discarding skin and cartilage. Add the chicken, greens, tarragon and chives to the pan and stir well.
Step 7: Preheat the oven to 215°C/205°C fan/gas mark 7.
Step 8: Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface to a roughly 30cm circle, oval or square, depending on the shape of your pot. Place the dough atop the filling, letting some dough hang over.
Step 9: Use a pastry brush to coat the top of the dough with the beaten egg. Using a sharp paring knife, make a few slits in the centre of the dough to allow some steam to escape (this will properly thicken the filling and keep the crust flaky). Bake until the pastry is deeply golden brown (the colour of a good croissant) and the filling is bubbling up, 45-55 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.
From Nothing Fancy: Unfussy Food For Having Friends Over by Alison Roman (£22, Hardie Grant), out now.
Photography: Michael Graydon and Nikole Herriott
Jenny Tregoning is deputy production editor and food editor at Stylist, where she combines her love of grammar with lusting over images of food