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Chicken Potpies with Root Vegetables and Thyme Crust

Butter plays a big role in these individual potpies. A few tablespoons enrich the filling, giving it a round, full flavor that highlights the sweetness of the root vegetables. On top, the butter in the puff pastry adds opulent flavor to the crisp, golden crust.

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes 
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more, to taste 
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste 
  • 2 Tbs. peanut or grapeseed oil 
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter 
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice 
  • 1 large parsnip, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice 
  • 1 large red potato, cut into 1/2-inch dice 
  • 1/4 cup water 
  • 2 shallots, minced 
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling 
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth 
  • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or stock 
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh thyme 
  • 1 sheet (about 1/2 lb.) frozen all-butter puff pastry, thawed 
  • 1 egg 

Directions:

Season the chicken with the 1 tsp. salt and the 1/2 tsp. pepper. In a Dutch oven or other heavy pot with a lid, heat the oil over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Working in batches, add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate.

Add the butter to the pot, reduce the heat to medium and let the butter melt. Add the carrot, parsnip, potato and water. Reduce the heat to low and cook the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the shallots and cook until softened, about 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice water. When the vegetables are ready, sprinkle the 1/4 cup flour over them and stir well. Stir in the wine, broth and 1 tsp. of the thyme. Return the chicken to the pot, increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer, stirring often. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Transfer the filling to a heatproof bowl and nest the bowl in the ice bath. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until tepid, about 30 minutes.

Preheat an oven to 375°F. Have ready four 4-cup ramekins, each about 4 inches in diameter.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the puff pastry into a 12-inch square. Cut out four 4-inch squares. In a small bowl, beat the egg with a pinch of salt. Divide the filling evenly among the ramekins. Lightly brush the rim of each ramekin with some of the beaten egg. Top each ramekin with a pastry square, pressing it firmly around the rim. Place the ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Brush the pastry with the remaining beaten egg and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tsp. thyme. Bake until golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Chicken, by Rick Rodgers (Oxmoor House, 2008).