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Chicken Pot Pie with Fennel and Mushrooms in a Potato Bowl

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Serves 6

  • by David Burke from Fine Cooking
    Issue 110

In this riff on the classic pot pie, a "bowl" of buttery whipped potatoes replaces the traditional pastry crust, while the stew gets sophisticated flavor from fennel and exotic mushrooms. Roasted baby carrots make a striking topper.  

 

For the stew
  • 1-1/2 lb. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups lower-salt chicken broth
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms, such as oyster, hen of the woods, or chanterelles
  • 1-1/2 cups small-diced fennel (from 1 small bulb)
  • 1 cup small-diced carrot
  • 1 cup fresh pearl onions, peeled, or frozen pearl onions, thawed
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 1 oz. (2 Tbs.) unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs. thinly sliced fresh chives
For the baby carrots
  • 16 baby carrots with tops, peeled and trimmed with 1/2 inch of the tops intact
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • Kosher salt
For the whipped potatoes
  • 3 lb. russet potatoes (about 4 medium)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter, softened
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.

Make the stew

Season the chicken with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Heat the oil in a 10- to 11-inch straight-sided sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken, flipping once, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Reduce the heat to medium and whisk the flour into the fat in the pan. Cook, whisking, for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the broth and bring to a simmer. Return the chicken to the pan, reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and simmer gently, turning once, until the chicken is very tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a clean plate and let cool briefly.

Meanwhile, stir the mushrooms, fennel, carrot, onions, and thyme into the sauce. Cover and simmer until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the mustard and butter, and keep warm.

When the chicken is cool enough to handle, pull the meat from the bones, shred into bite-size pieces (discard the skin and bones), and add to the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper and keep warm.

Roast the carrots

Put the carrots on a small rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil and season with 1/4 tsp. salt. Roast the carrots until tender and lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Keep warm.

Make the whipped potatoes

Peel and quarter the potatoes. Put them in a 4-quart saucepan; add enough water to cover and 4 tsp. salt. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Uncover, reduce the heat as needed to keep the water from boiling over, and cook until tender when pierced with a fork, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain well. Return the potatoes to the pot over medium heat and stir occasionally until they no longer steam profusely (a little steam is fine), about 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until steaming, about 2 minutes. Keep warm.

With an electric hand mixer on medium-low speed, beat the potatoes until they’re broken up, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the hot milk and the butter, and beat on high speed, scraping the sides and bottom of the pot occasionally, until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes (the potatoes should be fairly stiff, but add the remaining milk if needed). Season to taste with salt and pepper and keep warm.

Assemble
Tip:
To pipe whipped potatoes into a bowl shape, the potatoes need to be stiff, but not too stiff. Try piping a little bit of potato into a circle, and if it’s too stiff to do so easily, add a bit more milk to the remaining potatoes before proceeding.

Spoon the whipped potatoes into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip (Ateco #806). Pipe the potatoes to form “bowls” on each of 6 plates; the bowls should be about 3 inches in diameter and about 2-1/2 inches tall. Spoon the chicken stew into the bowls and garnish with the roasted baby carrots and the chives.

Serving Suggestions

Start the meal off with Mixed Greens with Goat Cheese & Orange-Fennel Seed Vinaigrette and serve Dark Chocolate-Olive Oil Cake for dessert.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 591; Fat (g): 32; Fat Calories (kcal): 281; Saturated Fat (g): 13; Protein (g): 21; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 13; Carbohydrates (g): 58; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3; Sodium (mg): 681; Cholesterol (mg): 92; Fiber (g): 7;

Photo: Scott Phillips

My husband, who generally doesn't like mustard, loved this sauce. It's a great meal for a special occasion.

My husband, who generally doesn't like mustard, loved this sauce. It's a great meal for a special occasion.

This recipe rates 5 stars on flavor, but you have to be very skilled with a pastry bag to make the potato bowl. The next time I make this (and I will definitely make this again) I will just make a shepherd's pie out of it, dot the top with butter and broil it until browned. That will do just fine!

Fantastic recipe. Easy to prepare and very unique flavor. We enjoyed it very much. Read my full review at; http://www.takingonmagazines.com/2011/04/chicken-pot-pie-with-fennel-and.html

It was actually not a lot of work for the end results.Kids got a kick out of it and the hubby LOVED it. I followed the recipe exactly except forgot the butter and mustard at the finish. I may not pipe the bowls next time, but the chicken recipe was perfect.

AMAZING! A new favorite of mine...I used fennel seed (because I didn't have fresh) and chicken breast, and cippoline onions....this is delicious and so easy! Also, I used Yukon gold potatoes and just heaped them into a bowl and placed the stew on top. Truly delicious and not difficult!

very very good...... choose good mashing potatoes- the texture is key

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