Chicken and Wild Rice Pot Pie
Updated: Nov 12, 2022
I’m pushing the fall vibes my cocina- it’s still hot as hades in South Texas, and maybe I’m a little premature in my efforts, but I’m so ready for autumnal comfort food! I miss my oven! Chicken Pot Pie is front and center in my fall reecipe playbook. I love making many different versions of this classic comfort dish when the weather starts to cool down, but there is something special about my Chicken and Wild Rice Pot Pie with Fillo Crust. It's hearty, cozy, delicious, beautiful and good for ya! One of my pot pie pet peeves is when you scoop some onto your plate and it runs everywhere. I used to solve this problem by serving a portion of wild rice underneath to soak up the sauce and loved the flavor/texture combo that resulted! “So,” I thought, "what if I just put the cooked rice into the pie?" Bingo! If you have never worked with wild rice, don't be intimidated! It's very easy to prepare, but it does take some time to simmer, anywhere from 45-60 minutes. You will know it's done when the grains are chewy but tender and have begun to split apart (they kind of look like little slugs 🤢, but taste delicious). The rice gets folded into a creamy (yet cream-less) sauce perfumed by aromatic veggies, white wine and thyme... mmm this is definitely pot pie elevated!
I think most people avoid making chicken pot pie at home because they assume it requires a lot of effort (it’s the reason that Marie Callendar is so rich). I'm here to tell you that you can make healthy, homemade pot pie in under an hour that tastes insanely great! Also, you can prep most of the recipe at least 1 day in advance. I like to make the filling the morning of or even the day before and just chill it wrapped in Saran until I'm ready to top it with the crust and bake. Store bought rotisserie chicken and fillo pastry further simplify the process. This pot pie is easy to make, but it looks and tastes like you’ve spent hours slaving away in the kitchen. I love to serve it in individual ramekins- they look so pretty on a plate alongside a big green salad. Portioning the pot pie out also allows me to freeze a couple for future dinners (I like to freeze these without the crust- just thaw the filling completely and continue with the recipe by topping with the fillo). Of course, you can also make one larger pot pie too if that’s your preference, but it may take a little more time in the oven.
Let’s chat for a bit about my favorite part of any pie- the crust. I’ve tried them all- I’ve made my own and used all the store bought versions under the sun. Flaky fillo pastry has been my favorite for this recipe. It’s feather light, shatteringly crisp, and delivers optimal crunchiness. Although delicate, it’s also very easy to work with and quite forgiving. I like the scrunch the butter brushed sheets on top of the filling for a pretty presentation. If you can’t find fillo, puff pastry is my second choice among the store bought options- it can be a little finicky, but it’s buttery and delish. I thaw the puff pastry sheets (DuFour is my favorite brand) gently overnight in the fridge, then roll them out on a floured surface and trim into rounds or squares to fit over each ramekin. Next, I brush the tops and sides with egg wash, sprinkle with flaky salt and bake at the same temperature for 30-40 minutes. Happy fall cooking!
prep time: ~30 min. cook time: 25 min. serves: 4
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
4 tbsp butter, divided
8 oz sliced baby bella or white button mushrooms
2 leeks, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup cooked wild rice *see note below
3 cups shredded chicken (about 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded)
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
10-12 sheets thawed fillo pastry (or thawed puff pastry sheets plus egg wash, see note*)
Preheat the oven to 375° with the rack positioned in the middle. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat in a large heavy skillet. Add the mushrooms and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Season them with a pinch of salt, remove them to a plate with a slotted spoon and set aside- wipe out the pan.
Heat the second tbsp of olive oil and 2 tbsp of butter in the same pan. Add the leeks, carrots and celery, season with salt and pepper, and sweat the vegetables about 7 minutes, until they are beginning to soften. Add the garlic and thyme and stir to cook 1 minute, until fragrant. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir to coat. Cook the flour (or roux) about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour in the white wine and use your spoon to scrape any brown bits off the bottom. Let reduce 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and season with more salt and pepper to taste. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook 10-15 minutes, until it’s thick and coats the back of a spoon (note: take your finger and swipe it through the sauce on the spoon, the line should stay in place- this means the sauce is ready, or nappe. If it doesn’t stay, simmer the sauce a little longer).
Off the heat, fold the cooked wild rice, chicken, mushrooms and parsley into the sauce. Divide the filling evenly between 4 oiled ramekins (or spoon into a 9” pie or rectangular baking dish). *The filling can be made up to one day ahead. Chill covered in plastic wrap before continuing with the recipe as written.
Melt the remaining 2 tbsp of butter in a microwave safe bowl. Carefully roll out each sheet of fillo and lightly brush one side with the butter. Scrunch the fillo up and top the filling with the dough, using 2-1/2 to 3 sheets per ramekin (cut the sheets in half if needed). Place the fillo topped pies on a rimmed baking sheet and pop them in the oven for about 25 minutes, until the crust is brown and the filling is hot. If the fillo is getting too dark, lightly lay a sheet of foil over the pies and continue baking (don’t press down or the fillo will shatter). Let the pies cool slightly and serve hot.
*To cook the wild rice, simply place 1/2 cup in a medium pot and cover with a few inches of water. Toss in 1 bay leaf and 1 tsp salt and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook 45-60 minutes, or until the rice is tender but chewy and starting to split. Add more water as needed. Strain the cooked rice in a fine colander, rinse under cold water and set aside or chill until ready to use. Can be prepped up to 3 days ahead.
*To use puff pastry in place of fillo: allow the pastry to thaw overnight in the fridge. When ready to use, lightly flour a surface and lay a sheet of puff pastry out on top. Lightly flour the top of the pastry, and use a rolling pin to roll out slightly larger. Use a paring knife to cut the pastry into rounds slightly wider in diameter than the ramekins. Place the puff pastry rounds on top of the pot pie filling, and press the sides to adhere to the ramekins. Can also be cut into larger shape if making one large pot pie. Beat 1 egg with 1 tbsp water to make an egg wash, and brush the puff pastry lids with the mixture. Cut small slits using a paring knife in the middle of each lid. Sprinkle with flaky salt. Place pot pies on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 375° for 30-35 minutes, until the crust is golden and filling is hot.