Chicken potpie is the epitome of comfort food for me. I think fondly of the frozen chicken potpies I would eat as a kid when Mom and Dad went out for the evening and our babysitter needed something easy to feed my sisters and me. I haven’t had one of those in years, but I still remember the long wait for it to bake! The finger-burning spot between the edge of the crust and the little aluminum pan when you quickly grabbed it to flip the whole thing over onto your plate. The steam escaping when you punctured the bottom crust with your fork, and the tongue-burning first bite because you just couldn’t wait another minute. Crust! Gravy! Perfect little squares of chicken, potato and carrots!
OK, nostalgic interlude over. “Chicken potpie” still sounds comforting, only now I require more nutritional wholesomeness from my food and more real flavor. Three EatingWell healthy updated chicken potpie recipes—each with a different type of crust or topping—satisfy my potpie needs and bring this classic back to my dinner table in a healthy way.
1. Dumpling-Topped Chicken Potpie
EatingWell’s “blue-plate special” Chicken Potpie is so easy. You use a bag of frozen little pearl onions (no chopping!), diced leftover cooked chicken (no new cooking!) and whole baby carrots (no chopping again!). A little reduced-fat sour cream in the filling adds extra-heartiness under the biscuit topping. That topping is like a drop dumpling, made with a mix of whole-wheat pastry flour and all-purpose flour and given tang and savoriness with buttermilk and dried thyme.
2. Crust-Topped Creamy Chicken Potpie
As you might expect, a potpie encased in lard-based pie crust isn’t really the EatingWell way. Still, we didn’t want to give up being able to present everyone in the family with their own little potpie for dinner. Our Creamy Chicken Potpie does that deliciously (and lardlessly) by topping an easy chicken filling with a phyllo-dough crust. They’re ready to serve in 45 minutes and each is a perfect portion. (And you can make them ahead and freeze them for up to 3 months—all ready for the babysitter to pull out for dinner.)
3. Biscuit-Topped Chicken Potpie
I especially like how the biscuits on this casserole-style potpie, pictured above, delineate each serving, so I know no one else is getting more than I am (childhood throwback, I guess). I also like the convenience of using frozen vegetables in the filling—that helps make it easy to put together—and what a great dish it is to make ahead. Having this chicken potpie ready in the fridge or freezer makes it simple to feed your family a healthy dinner.
What’s your favorite chicken potpie topping: biscuits, dumplings or pie crust? Tell us what you think below.