Who doesn’t love a good “pot pie?” The Husband, that’s who. When I first got married The Husband informed me “Never make chicken pot pie”. That was the only food flare he shot up. Now, this is a man who will EAT ANYTHING, and I do mean anything. I mean, he hails from Taiwan- the island of stinky tofu for God’s sake. He’s like a clone of Andrew Zimmern, the man would eat rattlesnake if I served it. The back story behind this aversion to the pot pie stems from his childhood. You see, apparently growing up, every Friday night (or maybe more-and I’m sure he’ll clarify it after reading this) his parents would go out to fulfill military social obligations and leave him a frozen pot pie to heat and eat. This little ritual went on for a number of years, hence the extreme aversion. These little gems aren’t really a pot pie. No scary peas and carrots hiding inside. Think of them as an individual pocket of spicy Cajun goodness. Filled with juicy chicken, fresh summer sweet corn, onion, fire roasted red pepper, cilantro and lots of Cajun spice, and topped off with a Serrano chili (if you dare). What’s not to love?!
I mean, seriously, does this filling not look good, or what? there is nothing to fear…
Individual Cajun Chicken Pies
recipe adapted from “Pocket Pies” by Pamela Clark
yield: 4 individual “Texas size” muffin pies
Short crust Pastry:
1 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
4 oz. cold, butter chopped, kept cold
1 egg yolk
2 Tbsp. ice water (approx.)
In a food processor place the flour and salt and pulse a few times. Add butter and pulse until mixture is crumbly. Add yolk and 1 1/2 Tbsp. water and pulse until dough comes barely together, and add more water as necessary. Knead pastry lightly on a floured board until smooth. Press into a flat circle and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill dough for 30 minutes before attempting to roll out.
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 fresh corn cob, kernels removed (if you don’t want to use fresh you can substitute 1 cup frozen corn kernels)
2 garlic cloves, chopped fine
2 tsp. Cajun seasoning (I like “Slap Ya Mama” brand- can be found at Cost Plus Markets)
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, chopped into about 1/2 inch pieces
2 tsp. Cajun seasoning
1/4 Cup diced roasted red pepper (purchased in jar)
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
3/4 Cup chicken broth
2-3 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
fresh Serrano chilies (optional)
For egg wash: one egg beaten
1. Heat olive oil in large saute pan add onion, corn and garlic and cook over medium heat until onion softens. Add Cajun seasoning and saute for 1-2 minutes. Remove to a bowl.
2. Heat another 1 Tbsp. oil in the same pan and add chicken and seasoning. Cook the chicken until browned. Stir in the diced red pepper. Add the flour and cook, stirring for about 1 minute. Stir in the chicken broth and scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture thickens. Stir in the onion corn mixture and stir. Stir in the cilantro. Taste and adjust any seasoning as necessary (I actually added a sprinkling of cayenne and paprika). Remove to a bowl and allow to cool before assembling pies.
3. Note: if you don’t want to make fresh pastry dough you can also use purchased pie dough, or purchased empanada dough rounds. You could also use puff pastry dough and make hand pies.
To assemble and bake:
Brush or spray 4 wells of a texas size muffin pan. Cut out 4 rounds of dough into 5 inch circles. Place the dough rounds into the wells; pressing the sides and bottom to fit. Fill the wells evenly with the chicken mixture. Cut out 4 more rounds that are 4 inch size and brush one side with the beaten egg, then turn over and place the egg side down over the filled pies. Brush the tops of each pie with egg wash, and (if desired) pierce the top and insert a fresh Serrano chili. Bake in a 400° F preheat oven for 24-25 minutes. Cool in the pan until cool enough to remove.