Thomas Keller’s Chicken Pot Pie

Thomas Keller’s Chicken Pot Pie

Last Christmas, I received a signed copy of Thomas Keller’s cookbook from Ad Hoc, his Napa Valley restaurant where everything is home cooking served family style. I am a huge admirer of Chef Keller, and also own the French Laundry cookbook…which despite all my cooking experience, is a bit complicated for home cooking. I love reading it, but admittedly haven’t cooked from it.  Ad Hoc, on the other hand, really is approachable home cooking. I’ve now made several things from the book, and highly recommend it!

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Last night, I decided to try the chicken pot pie. It was absolutely delicious! I will say that I made some minor modifications (including the addition of sauteed leeks, and substituting 1/2 cup of milk with white wine). After my husband and I devoured a good portion of the pie, I have every intention of making it again and again, and have some more changes in mind. I’ll post updates to this blog entry as I experiment. Hopefully Chef Keller wouldn’t be offended by my amending his recipe to my own tastes! I’d love to post the recipe here, but I suspect that’d be a serious copyright violation, so I’ll have to leave it to you to get the book.  That said, the recipe is essentially shredded chicken, parboiled veggies (carrots, pearl onions, celery, potatoes), a thyme-accented bechamel, and a crispy pie crust.  Great combination – especially for a Fall evening when you have some time to cook it right.

Next time, I’d like to do a mixture of milk, chicken broth and wine (the recipe calls for 3 cups of 1% milk and I think I would do 2 cups of milk, and a 1/2 cup each of chicken broth and white wine). This would make the sauce as flavorful but a bit more chicken-y. I’d like to add more herbs – more of the thyme already called for plus perhaps some parsley and chives. I went shy on the salt since I used salted butter in the crust, but I’ll use more in the insides next time. I’ll definitely keep the leeks, since they add a great flavor. And finally, I’ll roll my crust a bit thinner.

I have to say, both my hubby ad I think this is a real keeper of a recipe. I always like to play and make it better!

Have you cooked anything from the Ad Hoc cookbook? If so, tell me which recipes you like!!

Bon appetit!

Update 10-14-2013:

The second making was definitely an improvement! I did as I outlined above and made the following changes:

  • Seasoned the bechamel with more salt & pepper
  • Substituted one of the three cups of milk with 1/2 cup white wine and 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • Kept the sautéed leeks
  • Rolled the crust a bit thinner, particularly for the top crust
  • Added more herbs to the bechamel (including parsley, thyme and chives), and also sprinkled the chicken and veggies with chives as well

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The pie was much tastier and more chicken-flavored, as I’d hoped.  This go around was near perfect, but I still plan to perfect it with a couple additional changes.  Next time, I’ll add more parsley overall, and will lightly salt and pepper the chicken and vegetables as well as the bechamel.  Next time it’ll be perfect!!

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