This glorious take on pot pie includes creamy chicken, bacon, vegetables and a beautiful herbed puff pastry top. It’s also delicious!
During a recent trip to the grocery store, I did as I usually do and spent a good amount of time wandering around the produce section. As I was searching out the best looking bunch of Italian parsley, the department’s manager came over and asked if I was finding everything I needed.
After a short conversation, I mentioned that the parsley looked a bit droopy this time. Dusty (yes, we’re on a first name basis) smiled and acknowledged the fact, and that he’d be going over it soon. He then proceeded to tell me that of the three; Italian parsley, curly parsley and cilantro, the cilantro was the best seller and the Italian parsley the worst. For some reason, he continued, people just didn’t use parsley very often.
Dusty never knew, but that conversation really brought to the forefront my international upbringing. Parsley was so present in my parents’ kitchen. My Belgian mother and French father used it in many of the main dishes, sides and salads they made for us.
In the same way, it’s always in my crisper as well, right alongside the celery and carrots. Omnipresent. Until it’s used up or turns into green goo to be thrown away and another bunch purchased. At my grocery store. Where Dusty works.
Think chicken pot pie for guests when wondering whether to make this. Also consider the fact that it can be made ahead of time and reheated just before serving making it a perfect quick meal even though it takes close to an hour to pull together.
Why that long, you ask? Because poaching chicken then shredding it, pasting parsley leaves and pepper on to squares of puff pastry with egg then baking it, cooking bacon and peas, and creating the creamy sauce with chopped onion, sliced celery, cream and chicken stock all take time. None of it is difficult work; it’s all just a matter of standing at the counter and stove while you chop, slice, stir, brush, and shred.
This dish is really, really good. And gorgeous. I love the way the parsley looks on the puffed pastry. It’s definitely pretty enough to serve to guests, especially if that kind of little extra is totally lost on family (ahem).
As far as flavor goes, the chicken and bacon ‘filling’ was delicious. The sweetness of the peas offset the salty bacon perfectly and both went with with the creamy sauce surrounding the chicken. We loved it.
What I’d Do Different Next Time
Not a thing.
Chicken breasts: $7.49
Chicken stock: $3.49
Puff pastry: $5.19
English peas: $2.50
Vidalia onion: $1.64
Heavy cream: $2.59
Fontina cheese: $7.99*
*If you make this dish along with the Garlic-Rosemary Monkey Bread, ‘stealing’ a half cup of Fontina from that recipe will cut the cost a fair amount.
Creamy Chicken and Bacon with Herbed Puff Pastry Recipe
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 11⁄2 lb.)
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1 frozen puff pastry sheet, thawed (1⁄2 of 17.3-oz. pkg.)
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 12 parsley leaves
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 (6-oz.) package steam-in-bag fresh English peas or 3 cups frozen English peas
- 4 bacon slices
- 3 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 cup chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion (from 1 medium onion)
- ½ cup cup (1⁄4-inch) diagonally sliced celery (from 1 large stalk)
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 ounces fontina cheese, shredded (about 1⁄2 cup)
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Place chicken, stock, and 1⁄2 teaspoon of the salt in a large saucepan; bring to a boil over high. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and let stand about 20 minutes. Remove chicken from stock, reserving 2 1⁄2 cups of the stock. Coarsely shred chicken.
- Meanwhile, place puff pastry sheet on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cut pastry sheet into 4 squares; separate squares. Brush squares lightly with egg; top each square with 3 parsley leaves, pressing gently to adhere. Sprinkle with pepper. Bake on oven rack in bottom third of preheated oven until dough is puffed and golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes.
- Cook peas according to package directions; keep warm.
- Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high until crisp, about 6 minutes. Remove bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, reserving drippings in skillet; crumble bacon. Add butter to hot drippings in skillet, and cook over medium until butter melts, about 1 minute. Add onion and celery; cook, stirring often, until onion is tender and celery is tender-crisp, about 8 minutes. Add flour, and cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Stir in cream and reserved 2 1⁄2 cups stock; bring to a simmer, stirring often. Stir in peas, cheese, chicken, bacon, and remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon salt; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until mixture is thickened and thoroughly heated, about 10 minutes.
- Divide mixture among 4 shallow bowls, and top each with a puff pastry square. Serve immediately.