These days, we’re always on the go. Work is a never-ending cycle and we’re constantly engulfed in responsibilities and drowning in commitments. Be that your kids, your deadlines or your business.
In the midst of all that, who has time to cook?
These chicken pot pie parcels make for a quick breakfast, something you can just pop in the toaster oven and bring with you on-the-go. They’re perfect for the kids’ packed lunches too! Low-mess and hassle-free (well, before they get to eating them that is).
Pack these chicken pot pie parcels for your own lunch – for days when you just don’t have the time for a full meal. Thanks to the chicken, potato and bechamel sauce in the filling, just two or three is enough to fill you up. And not to mention the butter in the puff pastry, which makes for a considerably more filling alternative to standard dough!
Speaking of puff pastry, this recipe makes use of store-bought dough. Convenience is key here, and I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t associate homemade puff pastry with convenience.
Customise the filling to your liking – be it without any vegetables, pork instead of chicken, or a purely vegetarian filling with vegetable stock as well! Even the shape – a circle can be made easily with a jar lid or round cookie cutter as a stencil, and with the help of a sharp knife to trim off the edges.
Chicken Pot Pie Parcels
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 carrots
- 1 large white onion
- 2 stalks of celery
- 3 medium-sized potatoes
- 1 ear of corn
- 20 squares of pre-made puff pastry
- 2 cups of chicken stock
- 3 cups of full-cream milk
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 ½ tsp black pepper
- ¼ cup of butter
- ¼ cup of all-purpose flour
- 1 whole egg
- Dice the chicken and vegetables.
- Saute the chicken first over medium heat, then the onions, celery and carrots, followed by the potatoes and corn.
- Make the roux by melting the butter then stirring in the flour until lightly golden brown.
- Slowly pour in the milk and the chicken stock.
- Transfer the vegetable mixture back into the pot and continue cooking.
- Pile 2 heaping tablespoons of filling onto the puff pastry squares.
- Seal the top with another square and crimp the edges. Prick the top.
- Brush with egg wash.
- Bake at 180 degrees celsius for 20-25 minutes
STEP ONE – DICE THE INGREDIENTS
There’s a lot of knife work involved in a chicken pot pie recipe. You’ll have to dice all the vegetables into equal sizes. The corn kernels should be chopped off the cob as well, a step that’s made a lot easier by inverting a small bowl into a larger one and placing the corn on top, thus allowing the kernels to fall straight into the larger bowl.
The chicken breast should be diced into cubes slightly larger than the vegetables. Remember, they’ll shrink sizeably after cooking!
STEP TWO – SAUTE THE CHICKEN FIRST, THEN THE VEG
On medium heat, add 2-3 tablespoons of oil into a large pot or wok and saute the chicken cubes until just opaque. Following that, toss in the carrots, onions and celery. This allows them to sweat and release some of that lovely aroma before the pot gets too crowded.
After the vegetables have slightly softened and the onions and celery have gone translucent, add in the potatoes and corn and continue sauteing for 5 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper.
STEP THREE – START THE BECHAMEL BY MAKING THE ROUX
Remove the vegetable-meat mixture from the pot. Don’t worry, the vegetables don’t have to be cooked through as they’ll continue cooking in the bechamel and in the oven as they’re baking as well. On low heat, add all the butter into the pot and once it’s melted, the flour as well.
Stir rapidly until the roux takes on a lightly golden tinge. This is to remove the floury taste.
STEP FOUR – POUR IN THE MILK AND CHICKEN STOCK.
Toss a bay leaf in and pour in the milk little by little. For a foolproof bechamel, ensure your milk and chicken stock are heated up. Pour in the chicken stock after the milk has been used up.
Stir continuously to prevent burning. If it seems like it’s never going to thicken, fret not! Just keep stirring. You might also need to add a little more or a little less liquid than stated in the recipe. As long as the sauce can coat the back of a wooden spoon and a straight line can be drawn clearly across the back of the spoon, it’s ready! When in doubt, go thicker. It’s easier to thin out a thick sauce than vice versa.
STEP FIVE – TRANSFER THE VEGETABLE MIXTURE BACK INTO THE POT.
Once the sauce is sufficiently thick, add the vegetable mixture back into the pot of bechamel sauce. Continue cooking on low heat for 10 minutes to further cook the vegetables and meld the flavors together. At this point, season to taste.
STEP SIX – FILL THE PUFF PASTRY WITH FILLING.
Let the mixture cool before you begin making the parcels. Once cooled, place two heaping tablespoons of the filling into the center of each defrosted puff pastry square.
Resist the urge to add too much filling! As much as no one likes a pastry with more crust than filling, a pastry that leaks and doesn’t hold itself together isn’t the most enjoyable either.
STEP SEVEN – CRIMP THE EDGES.
Place another piece of puff pastry over top and press the edges firmly together with your hands first. Then, use a fork to crimp the edges and seal the parcel. Using a fork is the fastest, most simplest way but if use any method you’re familiar with!
Prick the surface with a fork or make small slits with a sharp knife to allow steam to escape.
Tip: Lightly stretch the piece of puff pastry that goes on top to increase the surface area so that it’ll fit the parcel better.
STEP EIGHT – BRUSH WITH EGG WASH.
Crack an egg into a small bowl and whisk until smooth and no strands of egg white stand out. Use a brush to brush evenly over the top. Don’t forget the edges too! The egg wash will help the pastry take on a deep, golden brown color which looks infinitely more tantalizing than a pale one.
Important!: After brushing the egg wash over, make sure the holes or slits you’ve made on the pastry aren’t sealed by the egg. That’ll defeat the whole purpose.
STEP NINE – BAKE AT 180 DEGREES CELSIUS FOR 20-25 MINUTES.
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius or 350 fahrenheit and bake for 20-25 minutes. It will depend on the size of the parcels but once they’ve reached a deep, golden brown color you’ll know they’re ready! Slice in half while still warm and enjoy!
Clearly, chicken pot pie doesn’t have to be a messy dining affair. Using store bought puff pastry squares means any amateur chef can capture the warmth and comfort of a homemade chicken pot pie into portable little meals. Perfect for work, school, a picnic or for the picky kids!
This method of making pie parcels or hand pies can be applied to any filling. A tangy tomato and beef Japanese curry filling or an Indian chicken curry makes for an equally suitable filling. Here’s a recipe for a quick 20-minute chicken curry that can be whipped up in just 20 minutes!