Chicken Pot Pie with Morels and Tarragon Cream Sauce

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Serves 4-6

Tip: Don’t be intimidated by a fairly long recipe. If it’s mine, I’m just a bit wordy. 😀  Longer recipes are not usually as difficult as it may seem, if you break things into steps. You can simplify this dish by following Prep instructions the day before. Keep everything properly chilled, then assemble and bake the pot pie the evening you want it for dinner. This one is worth the effort!

Flaky Pot Pie Crust
Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup super-fine (00) flour
8 oz very cold fat, in chunks (I use about half unsalted butter + half leaf lard)
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp sugar (optional)
½ cup ice water with 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar added (you will not use all of this)

Crust Prep
Combine flours, butter, leaf lard, salt and sugar in a food processor bowl. Use a few short pulses to make the mixture crumbly, with small and medium pieces of fat still visible.
Add 1/3 cup ice water to mixture; pulse 4 or 5 times. Test the dough to see if it clumps together in your hand. If not, add water one tablespoon at a time and pulse 1-2 times. Check each time for moisture content. Do not add too much water and do not overmix.
Dump the dough onto film wrap and use the wrap to form the dough into a slightly flattened disk. Wrap tightly and place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

Pot Pie Filling
Ingredients
7 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided into 3 + 4 Tbsp
¼ cup dry white wine
1 oz dried morel mushrooms (you can sub other dried mushrooms)
2 cups warm water (to rehydrate mushrooms)
4 carrots
2 stalks celery
2 large leeks
2-4 stems fresh tarragon
1 cup frozen green peas
4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup mushroom water (from rehydrating)
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper
4 cups roasted chicken, skin/bones removed, cut into bite-sized chunks

Filling Prep
Cover dried morels with warm water and soak for 15-20 minutes. Drain well, reserving 1 cup liquid for sauce. If needed, cut larger morels to match smaller ones.
Wash and dry all fresh vegetables and herbs.
Peel and dice carrots; peel and discard strings from celery, then dice; thinly slice white and light green parts of leeks; chop enough fresh tarragon to make 2-3 tablespoons.
Melt 3 Tbsp butter in a large skillet using medium-high heat. Add carrots, celery and leeks; sauté and stir until slightly soft; add a pinch of S&P; deglaze the pan with white wine. Transfer contents to a bowl.
Melt 4 Tbsp butter in the skillet using medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking until the mixture bubbles, but DO NOT BROWN. Gradually whisk in chicken stock, then morel liquid. When smooth, let mixture simmer for 2-3 minutes then whisk in the cream and add tarragon. Continue to cook for approximately 5 minutes, whisking or scraping sides of skillet with a silicone spatula until thickened but still “saucy”. Reduce the heat during this step if needed to avoid scorching.

Pot Pie Assembly and Baking
PREHEAT OVEN TO 400 DEGREES F.
Whisk egg with 1 Tbsp water to make an egg wash.
Add cooked veggies, peas, morels and chicken to the sauce and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and add S&P to taste. Transfer mixture to a deep pie dish or baking dish. (I use a round baking dish, 9-inch diameter and 2.5 inches deep.)
Flour a work surface; remove dough from refrigerator. Roll dough, turning and flouring enough to keep it from sticking to the work surface. Cut your crust to the approximate size of your baking dish with about 1.5 inches additional overlap all around your chosen shape. Place the dough evenly over the filling; roll edges under or over and crimp to finish. Cut 4 slits in center area of crust to vent the pie.
Lightly brush the crust with egg wash (do not brush the crimped edges).
Set the dish on a baking sheet and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven to 350 degrees F. (without opening the oven door) and bake for about 30 minutes more. The crust should be golden and the filling bubbling. Remove the pot pie from the oven and let it rest on a rack for 5 – 10 minutes before serving.

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