Chicken pot pie combines everything wonderful about fall and winter into one dish – thick and savory broth, moist dark meat chicken, and sweet peas and carrots enveloped in a buttery pastry. For my family, however, it combines all of the things we cannot or choose not to eat, wheat, dairy, and meat (Rich has been a vegetarian since before I met him).
For years, I’ve looked at chicken pot pie longingly, wishing I could adapt it to all of our dietary preferences. I finally decided to tackle it an am so glad I did. Here’s what I learned:
First, individual serving dishes allow you to tailor each one to suit each person’s taste. Chicken for me and the kids. Freshly ground pepper for me and Rich.
Second, the best thing about many meaty dishes is the sauce or other flavors you add to it. Chicken pot pie is no different. Capture the essence of the dish and it’s a win!
This version is both paleo and can be vegetarian (simply leave out the chicken or replace it with diced mushrooms), which means it’s also dairy free (use palm shortening instead of butter) and gluten free.
2 cups blanched almond flour
1 tablespoon tapioca starch
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 medium egg, whisked
1 tablespoon ice water
2 tablespoons butter or palm shortening
1 cup vegetable broth
3 tablespoons tapioca starch
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
3 carrots, sliced
1 large sweet potato, diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cups shredded cooked chicken, optional
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
½ teaspoon sea salt
1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Coat the interior of four 2-cup ramekins with butter or palm shortening.
2. To make the pastry, combine the almond flour, tapioca starch, and salt in a food processor. Pulse a few times just to combine. Add the egg and ice water and process until thoroughly integrated. Add the butter or palm shortening and pulse a few times, allowing small bits to remain.
3. Remove the dough, place on a sheet of parchment paper and top with a second sheet. Roll the dough out between the sheets. Fold the dough in thirds, as if folding a business letter, and roll out again. If it seems sticky, slide it onto a sheet pan and place in the freezer for 5 minutes.
4. Turn a ramekin upside down on the pastry dough to trace a circle around it with a sharp knife. You will need to re-roll the dough for the final circle. Allow the pastry to rest in the refrigerator while you get on with the filling.
5. Combine the tapioca starch and 3 tablespoons of the vegetable broth in a large bowl. Whisk in the remaining vegetable broth. Add the vegetables, thyme, and sea salt. If using chicken, add it now. Divide the mixture between the ramekins.
6. If you have little ones, use two 6-ounce ramekins instead of one of the larger ones so each kiddo gets his or her own portion.
7. Top each ramekin with pastry and press the edges down to create a seal. Pierce the top with a sharp knife a few times to allow steam to escape.
8. Place the ramekins on a sheet pan and bake for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.