Chicken Pot Pie with Savory Crumble Topping

Well, hello December! It’s hard to believe we’re just over three weeks out from Christmas, but it’s true. It’s officially time to break out the holiday decorations, put the Christmas music on repeat, load the holiday movies into the Netflix queue (I’m introducing Shane to Love Actually this season!), and of course, load up on butter and sugar because holiday baking season has arrived!

It’s no secret I bake a lot all year long, but the intensity really ramps up when December arrives. I’ve been working on my to-do list for weeks; you guys wouldn’t even believe how many recipes I want to try. Of course I’ll be sharing all the best ones with you :) If you have any particular requests, feel free to let me know in the comments.

Chicken Pot Pie with Savory Crumble Topping

Before we dive into the holiday decadence, though, today I wanted to introduce you to one of my new savory obsessions. Say hello to chicken pot pie with savory crumble topping! I have been waiting to tell you guys about this recipe for over a month; it’s been killing me. I’ve never been a huge chicken pot pie fan, but I’m singing a different tune after trying this one.

Chicken Pot Pie with Savory Crumble Topping

Unlike a lot of chicken pot pie recipes which utilize pie crust or a puff pastry topping, this recipe features a Parmesan crumble topping. Crisp, buttery, cheesy – what more could you want? It’s also the perfect contrast to the creamy chicken and vegetable filling hidden underneath. In addition to the usual suspects like onions, carrots, celery, and peas, there are mushrooms here too. I’m not sure I’ve ever had them in pot pie before but they were one of my favorite components. Just staring at the pictures as I write this post has me so excited to make the recipe again – it’s packed with all the best stuff!

Chicken Pot Pie with Savory Crumble Topping

I whipped this chicken pot pie up on a lazy Sunday morning, and it fed us for days. During the busy holiday season, cooking dinner is often the last thing on my mind so I love recipes like this that I can just pull from the fridge and pop in the microwave. Dinner is ready in mere minutes! Plus, this is basically the best kind of cold weather comfort food. I hope you’ll put it on your menu sooner rather than later; you won’t regret it!

Chicken Pot Pie with Savory Crumble Topping
from Cook’s Illustrated, September/October 2010

Filling
1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped fine
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 1 cup)
2 small celery ribs, chopped fine (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
10 oz cremini mushrooms, stems removed, caps thinly sliced
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons minced parsley, divided
3/4 cup frozen baby peas

Crumble Topping
2 cups (10 oz) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 oz Parmesan cheese, finely grated (about 1/2 cup)
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream

To cook the chicken: Add chicken and broth to a Dutch oven and set over medium heat. Cover and bring to a simmer, then continue cooking for about 8-10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through (an instant-read thermometer will register 160-165 F). Remove the chicken and place in a large bowl. Strain the cooking liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into a large heatproof measuring cup and set aside for later. Set the Dutch oven back on the stove top (no need to wash).

Preheat oven to 450 F, with a rack in the upper third. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

To make the topping: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Add the butter, and using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse meal – the largest pieces of butter should be no bigger than peas. Mix in the Parmesan cheese, then add the heavy cream and stir until the dry ingredients are moistened. Crumble the mixture into 1/2 to 3/4-inch pieces onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the topping just begins to brown. Remove the baking sheet to a wire rack and set aside. (Maintain the oven temperature.)

To make the filling: Add 1 tablespoon of the oil to the Dutch oven you used earlier. Set over medium-high heat, and when the oil shimmers, add the onion, carrot, celery, salt, and pepper. Cooking, stirring a few times, until the vegetables are just barely tender, about 5-7 minutes. Meanwhile, shred the chicken into bite-size pieces and return to a large bowl. When the vegetables are ready, transfer them to the bowl with the chicken.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the same Dutch oven and place over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the mushrooms. Cover the pot and cook, stirring a few times, for about 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms have released their liquid. Take the cover off the pan and mix in the soy sauce and tomato paste. Increase the heat to medium-high, and continue cooking (uncovered) for another 4-5 minutes, or until the mushrooms have browned and their liquid has evaporated. Transfer the mushrooms to the bowl with the chicken and veggies.

Add the butter to the same Dutch oven you’ve been using. Allow to melt, then add the flour. Cook, stirring almost constantly, for 1 minute. Gradually add the chicken broth you reserved earlier as well as the milk, whisking constantly. Bring the mixture to a simmer – while you do, scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any browned bits. Continue simmering for about 1-2 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. Season with a pinch each of salt and pepper, then remove the pot from the heat, and mix in the lemon juice and two tablespoons of the parsley.

Add the chicken and veggies as well as the peas to the sauce in the Dutch oven, and stir to combine. Transfer the mixture to a 13×9-inch baking dish. Distribute the crumble topping evenly over the filling, then bake for about 12-14 minutes, or until the filling bubbles and the topping browns. Garnish the dish with the remaining tablespoon of parsley then serve.

{Note: We reheated leftovers in the microwave for several days. The topping won’t have the same crispness it had on the first day, but otherwise we thought the meal was just as good, if not better, on subsequent days.}