Chicken pie warms up winter

Savory meat pies date back to the Medieval era.

Chicken pie has become one of my favorite comfort-food recipes. Savory pies date back to the Medieval era. Originally, the sole purpose of the double crust was to protect the ingredients from the metallic flavor of the pot. The crust wasn’t designed to be eaten and was discarded after the filling was cooked.

This single-crust chicken pie recipe is a savory combination of modern convenience products and classic homemade touches. Use a leftover baked chicken or a store-bought rotisserie chicken, leftover cooked vegetables or frozen mixed vegetables, and a frozen pie crust to cut the prep time in half.

The creamy sauce combined with the chicken and vegetable filling, and topped with a layer of sharp cheddar cheese turns this classic pie into a hearty, one-dish meal. The filling can be made in advance and either refrigerated or frozen. Just make sure that you heat the filling before sprinkling on the cheese and topping it with the pie crust. This savory chicken pie recipe is a great way to warm up on a cold winter day.

Cheddar Cheese Chicken Pie

1 (2 to 2 1/2 pounds) cooked chicken, meat cut into chunks, skin and bones removed and discarded

1 stick butter, divided

1 medium onion, diced

3 stalks celery, diced

2 cloves garlic, diced

1 (16-ounce) bag frozen soup or stew vegetables

2 teaspoons poultry seasoning, divided

1–1/2 teaspoons salt, divided

1 teaspoon pepper, divided

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon sugar

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup cream, evaporated milk or buttermilk

1 cup chicken broth

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

1 (9-inch) frozen pie crust

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 2-quart casserole dish.

2. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion, celery and garlic. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes.

3. Stir in chicken and frozen vegetables, 1 teaspoon of the poultry seasoning and salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, the cayenne pepper and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the chicken mixture from the skillet and place it in the prepared casserole dish. Set aside.

4. To make the sauce, melt 4 tablespoons butter in skillet over medium heat. Whisk flour and remaining teaspoon of poultry seasoning into the butter; turn heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until light brown and thick, about 3 minutes. Turn heat to high and slowly whisk in the cream, evaporated milk or buttermilk. Whisk in chicken broth. Continue whisking until mixture thickens, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining salt and pepper, and the nutmeg.

4. Pour the cream sauce over the chicken mixture, stirring to coat the mixture evenly. Sprinkle the chicken mixture with the cheese. Top the filling with the prepared pie crust, pressing the crust down around the edges of the dish to seal the crust over the filling. Cut three, 1-inch slits in center of the crust to allow steam to escape. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until crust is brown and golden. Serves 6 to 8. ••

Angela Shelf Medearis is an award-winning children’s author, culinary historian and the author of seven cookbooks. Her new cookbook is “The Kitchen Diva’s Diabetic Cookbook.” Her Web site is www.divapro.com

To see how-to videos, recipes and much, much more, Like Angela Shelf Medearis, The Kitchen Diva! on Facebook and go to Hulu.com