Serves 6

When the cold months make their way to Oklahoma, this comfort recipe always warms the spirit of those in my home. I can remember this particular recipe was a favorite of my brother when we were young. Every winter he would plead with our mother to make her favored chicken pot pie. It was a dish both he and I looked forward to every year.

For the pastry crust:
3 cups – flour
8 Tbs. – unsalted butter cubed to ½ inch pieces
2 tsp. – salt
1 Tbs. – sugar
3 Tbs. – Crisco
1 – ice water
1 – egg

For the filling:
2 cups – cooked cubed chicken
6 Tbs. – butter
1 cup – button mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
1 cup – diced carrots
1 cup – diced yellow onion
1/2 cup – celery, inner stalks with leaves diced
1 Tbs. – diced garlic
1 Tbs. – sage
1 tsp. – tarragon
3 Tbs. – flour
½ cup – Sherry
½ cup – Half and half
3 cups – chicken broth
salt and pepper

To make the pastry crust, combine 3 cups of flour, 2 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of sugar (optional) in a food processor and pulse. If a food processor is not available, you may also use a large bowl. Add 8 tablespoons of butter and 3 tablespoons of Crisco and pulse until crumbly. If you’re using a bowl, you may use two knives to cut the butter into the mixture. Pour the ice water in a little at a time and pulse until the mixture forms moist clumps. If it’s too crumbly, add more water. Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. If I’m not making the pastry crust ahead of time, I tend to press the dough between a large piece of parchment paper and flatten with a rolling pin before refrigerating.

To make the filling, in a large frying pan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, onions, carrots and celery, and sauté until soft, about 10 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of garlic and 1 tablespoon of sage, cook for an additional 3 minutes. If you like you may add peas to the mixture before transferring to a bowl and setting aside.

In the same frying pan, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of flour. Stir constantly until the flour forms a bubbly golden roux. Gradually whisk in the Sherry, half-and-half, chicken broth and tarragon. Raise the heat to medium high, stir constantly until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add cooked chicken and vegetable mixture, season with salt and pepper. Allow the filling to cool slightly before transferring to 6 ovenproof soup crocks or 4½-inch baking dishes.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator, unwrap, and place on a lightly floured work surface. Allow the dough to soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out. Using your baking dish as a guide, cut a round or a square of dough big enough to cover the top of the dish, brush the dough with an egg wash and place on top of the dish with the egg down. Crimp the edges with your fingers and brush the egg wash on the top layer. Place baking dishes on a baking sheet and bake until the pastry is golden brown, about 25 minutes. Remove and allow 5 minutes to cool before transferring to a dinner plate and serving.

Tip – Use caution when serving, the filling will remain quite hot for some time after baking.