Alongside edibles like crispy chicken fried steak and doughy Czech kolaches, homemade chicken pot pie is a Southern food staple. This dish, with it’s flaky crust, features a familiar mix of vegetables and chicken swimming in a thick, savory gravy, a basic recipe that often inspires unconventional interpretations throughout Texas kitchens. Kenny & Ziggy’s—a popular delicatessen in Houston—features a signature chicken pot pie on its menu every fall and winter. Here, Kenny & Ziggy’s owner-chef, Ziggy Gruber, shares his take on the famed dish:
16 tablespoons butter (2 sticks)
1 1/3 cups carrots, peeled and diced
1 1/3 cups celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
½ cup flour
4 cups chicken stock
pinch black pepper
4 pounds chicken breasts, skinless, boned, and diced into ½ inch cubes
1 cup peas, fresh or thawed frozen
Kosher salt, to taste
one egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon water
puff pastry, one box thawed, keep chilled
In a large pot, melt butter until just foaming (do not brown), then add the carrots, celery and onions. Cook until the onions are translucent and the carrots begin to soften. Add the diced chicken and cook until firm, about 5 to 7 minutes. Slowly add the flour and mix well. Cook until well incorporated, but do not brown.
Slowly whisk in the chicken stock one cup at a time, stirring continually until there are no lumps. Stir in peas. Add the pepper and salt, to taste. Cover and keep warm.
Cover two large baking sheets with parchment paper and pre-heat the oven according to directions on the puff pastry box (usually 400 degrees). Add the water to the beaten egg and set aside.
On a lightly floured surface (or marble top) roll out pastry until about ¼ inch thick, brushing away any excess flour. Seal cracks using some water. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter (preferably chilled) cut out 4 to 6 circles slightly smaller than the size of your serving dishes. Brush with egg wash and transfer to baking sheets, placing them at least one inch apart. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, then lower temperature to 350 degrees and bake until the pastry is about two inches high and browned, approximately 10 to 15 minutes longer. Remove from oven.
To serve, divide the pie mixture between 4 to 6 plates. Top each with a pastry dome and serve immediately.