This dairy free chicken pot pie is very simple to make and uses ingredients you have on hand. You can also easily swap out ingredients you don’t like for ones you prefer.
I used to love chicken pot pie as a kid and I considered the frozen individual pies my dad would get my brothers and I a big treat.
As I’ve gotten older though I’ve often found chicken pot pie can be a little dull in flavor
It’s not uncommon for flavor preferences to change as you get older. Adults have less taste buds than children do making it harder for them to pick up on subtle flavors.
I decided to add garlic for additional flavor. Other optional additions to the pie are potatoes and celery. Some, although pretty uncommon, and thyme.
Also, if you don’t like anything, feel free to leave it out. My Mom doesn’t like cooked carrots so when she makes chicken pot pie we often trade carrots out for potatoes.
Another optional addition is dry white wine if you want to add a gourmet note to this dish.
It’s not traditional by any means, but sometimes I like to add a touch of sophistication when I’m serving it exclusively to adults.
I’ve put this in the notes at the bottom of the recipe.
History of Pot Pie
Pot pie is believed to have originated in ancient Greece. The Greeks cooked meats mixed with other ingredients in open pastry shells called Artocreas.
Later, the Romans supposedly took this recipe and added a top to the pastry crust, making it a fully enclosed meat pie like we serve today. These pies pastries were served at banque.
Then during the Renaissance, the English gentry revived not only classical art but the ancient meat pie. Meat pies became very popular and pies made with pork, lamb, venison, and poultry were common.
In fact, they were so common that a nursery rhyme incorporates it.
Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye.
Four and twenty blackbirds,
Baked in a pie.
When the pie was opened
The birds began to sing;
Wasn’t that a dainty dish,
To set before the king.
Notice how the pie was set before the king. This isn’t just being playful. Pot pies were considered a delicacy.
Pot pies were served at the wedding of Marie de’ Medici and Henry IV of France.
However, the pies served were actually a form of amusement because when their guests sat to eat songbirds flew out just like in the rhyme.
For at least a couple hundreds of years this was a popular form of entremet adopted from the ancient Romans. Cookbooks even had recipes on how to do this.
Eventually pot pie became accessible to the commoner.
There is one pot pie named “Sea Pie” because it was made aboard ships where they used whatever meat they had available. It typically included pigeons, turkey, veal, and mutton.
Pot pie eventually made its way to America with settlers who brought recipes their recipes with them and it spread as they moved west.
Then within the last century chicken became the most popular meat used in the States making pot pies making chicken pot pie a widely popular American dish.
Why I use Fresh Chicken Breast
I don’t think using left over chicken makes for a very good pie. This is especially true if you opt to use chicken breast which is notorious for how quickly it becomes dry.
In fact, I’ve been wanting to try adding raw instead of freshly cooked chicken breast to the pie to see if it makes for even juicier pieces.
IS KOSHER CHICKEN BETTER?
Yes and no.
It is not necessarily healthier as far as bacteria is concerned, since bacteria can only safely be killed with heat.
What is better is the quality of the chicken.
The salting process used to remove blood, as part of the koshering process, is believed to provide better quality meat.
It creates a sort of quick dry brine.
Also, kosher animals are kept in better conditions than nonkosher animals, due to strict kosher health requirements of the animals. They are also killed in arguably more humane conditions.
While I’ve only eaten kosher meat (so I cannot compare), I’ve been told by non-Jews who do not keep kosher that they’ve noticed that kosher chicken is of superior quality to cook with.
SHOULD YOU WASH CHICKEN?
According to the USDA, you should not wash chicken or meat because washing it spreads bacteria throughout the kitchen.
Water can splash bacteria up to 3 feet surrounding your sink, including onto counter tops, other food, towels and you (i.e. cross contamination).
A study done by Drexel University shows that it is best to move meat and poultry directly from package to pan. The heat from cooking will kill any bacteria that may be present.
One exception would be if there are bone fragments or residue from giblets, as in a roasting chicken. In that case, feel free to rinse if you like. However, make sure you wipe down your sink afterwards.
HOW CAN I CLEAN MY CHICKEN WITHOUT WASHING IT?
If you want to clean your chicken without washing it, wipe it down with a wet paper towel. This will remove anything other than bacteria.
Just make sure the paper towel doesn’t touch anything else and to toss the paper towel right away.
HOW TO DEFROST CHICKEN
IN THE FRIDGE
This method is the most highly recommended. Chicken typically takes a full day to thaw. Once thawed, the poultry can remain in the refrigerator for a day or two before cooking.
IN COLD WATER
This should take two to three hours. Submerge your sealed chicken in a pot or bowl full of cold water. Change out the water every 30 minutes or so.
Do not use warm or hot water. It is unhealthy to do so, can start cooking your chicken, and doesn’t do so evenly.
COOK IT FROZEN
According to the USDA, you can cook frozen chicken. It will take 50% longer to cook, but it’s an option. You should also cook it on a roasting rack or over vegetables, so the heat can circulate around the chicken.
IS IT SAFE TO REFREEZE RAW CHICKEN
If you have extra raw chicken that you didn’t use but want to refreeze, you can, as long as it was thawed in the fridge.
According to the USDA,“food thawed in the refrigerator is safe to refreeze without cooking.” However, you do lose quality when refreezing previously defrosted meat.
Every time you defrost meat, it loses moisture through thawing, which also leads to a loss in flavor. To compensate for this, marinate the meat to add more flavor and juice.”
The USDA also says not to “refreeze any foods left outside the refrigerator longer than 2 hours; 1 hour in temperatures above 90 °F.”
SHOULD YOU BRINE?
No. Brining actually doesn’t do anything to help poultry. In fact, it makes it soggy rather than juicy, with watered down flavor.
Aromatic brines and stock don’t help with flavor either. This is because the salt pulls water molecules in, leaving most of the flavor behind.
A dry brine loosens up muscle fibers, allowing them to retain more moisture as without adding any excess liquid.
Initially, the salt draws moisture out, then it dissolves in this liquid, creating a concentrated brine, which eventually gets reabsorbed. This leads to more intensely flavored results.
An added benefit is that it also requires less space and mess than a water brine. Not to mention the fact that it allows for crispier skin.
CAN YOU DRY BRINE KOSHER POULTRY AND MEAT?
Yes. Food experts are often under the impression that kosher meat and poultry cannot be brined and dry brined.
This is because of the koshering process which involves salting the meat to remove the blood. However, the process is not nearly as long as the dry brining process, and unlike a dry brine, the poultry is soaked to remove the salt.
So, since the process is quite different than a dry brine, it is fine and even recommended to dry brine kosher poultry and meat.
WHICH DAIRY FREE MILK TO USE
ALMOND COOKING MILK
This is a good option. Almond cooking milk has a thicker milk like texture, unlike regularly almond milk, and is still low in calories
I really like coconut milk because it is so creamy. However, depending on the coconut milk you use, you may end up with a light coconut flavor.
Oat milk can also be a good option. It is the most environmentally and ethically friendly of all the milks and unlike most dairy free milks, it has a creamy texture like actual milk.
Adjusting for a Convection Oven
An ordinary oven cooks by enveloping food in hot, dry air. This air heats the outside of the food which slowly penetrates to the inside of the food until it’s cooked all the way.
Now, in a convection oven, the fan produces extra energy. It takes the hot air and blows it around, producing around 25 to 30 percent more energy, depending on the fan’s power.
Regular ovens also can have hot spots, but the fan in a convection oven will circulate the air to help even out the temperature variances.
Since convection ovens produce more heat, you need either lowering the temperature or shortening the cooking time to compensate.
When recipes specify temperatures and cooking times, it’s for conventional ovens. Of course, this is unless the recipe is specifically for convection ovens.
The simplest method is to set the oven 25ºF to 50ºF lower than the recipe says.
A simple rule to follow is to lower the temperature by 25ºF when baking cookies and pies, but 50ºF when roasting meats. Some convection ovens offer separate settings for baking and for roasting.
You can also leave the temperature the same and instead shorten the cooking time by 25 percent. For example, if your recipe calls for 60 minutes in the oven, check the food after 45 minutes instead.
However, keep in mind, some convection ovens actually make a heat adjustment for you. That is, if you set a convection oven for 350ºF, it might actually set itself to 325ºF to compensate. So, check your manual before making adjustments.
HOW TO STORE
Place cooled in an airtight container or wrap in heavy-duty aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Store in the fridge for up to 4 days.
HOW TO FREEZE
Freeze leftovers within 3-4 days. Place cooled chicken in an airtight container or resealable freezer bag.
Freeze for up to 4 months. After that, it is safe to eat. However, the quality begins to degrade.