My first exposure to chicken pot pies was in the form of the Banquet microwaveable kind. They come in that paper pie pan coated with that gray plastic stuff that somehow magically browns things in the microwave (science is nuts, am I right?). Even though those pies generally suck and had a serious case of soggy bottoms and sparse fillings, I loved them. I love the edges of the pie crust the most, soaked in gravy.
Because I grew up on the Banquet microwaveable pot pies, I became used to pot pies that don’t have cream in the gravy and that’s what I’ve come to prefer. That’s why this recipe doesn’t have any in it. I think my preference is a blessing because cream is like super yummy, but super deadly.
Instead of a pie crust for this, I decided to use phyllo dough. It seemed fancy, but also more predictable than pie crust. That’s mostly on me, though, because I’m not a great pie maker. I couldn’t trust myself to turn out a bunch of mini pies!
At the grocery store, you might be tempted to buy the already prepared phyllo cups, but don’t do it. Your dollar goes a lot farther if you make the cups yourself. Though perhaps you don’t mind and want the convenience. If that’s the case, by all means, use the pre-made ones. But I also like the rough edges of ones you make yourself.
- 8 oz (half a packet) of phyllo dough, thawed
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
- 1 carrot, cut into bite-sized chunks
- 1 celery, cut in the same manner as the carrots
- 1/2 cup of frozen peas
- 1/4 onion, diced
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- 3/4 lbs chicken thighs/drumsticks, deboned, skin off, and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 can (10.75 oz) chicken stock
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 dried shiitake mushroom
- 4 sage leaves, roughly chopped
- 2 sprigs of time, picked off the stem
- 1/2 tsp salt (plus more to taste)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Spray one or two muffin pans with nonstick spray.
- Lay out phyllo dough and carefully cut the sheet into 12 pieces (in a grid of 3×4). Cover with a damp towel.
- Make phyllo cups by laying out a small square into the muffin pan’s cups and brush a little bit of melted butter over the square. It’s okay not to get every nook and cranny. Top with another square. Repeat until you have about 3-4 layers. Three is more than adequate.
- Once a pan is finished, bake in oven for 5-10 minutes, until the cups are golden brown. Keep in mind that you’ll have to recrisp them in the oven on the day of the party, so don’t over-brown them.
- Repeat with all the phyllo dough you have. You should end up with about 32 cups.
- Carefully stack the cups in a freezer bag and freeze for up to a week. When you’re ready to use them again, put the frozen cups on a cookie tray and bake them at 375 degrees F for a few minutes.
- Add oil to the bottom of a pan to coat, over medium-high heat. Add in carrots, celery, and onion and saute for a little bit before lowering heat to medium. Let the carrots soften until they are not so raw, but they can be shy of fork-tender, about 7 minutes.
- Add in the chicken and continue cooking until the chicken is fully cooked, about 10 minutes. (Take out a piece and cut it half, testing to see if it’s translucent in the middle.)
- Take off the heat, add in peas and let the residual heat warm them up. Allow gravy to cool, and store in a large plastic container until ready to assemble everything.
- Add butter to a medium sauce pan and melt over medium-high heat. Add in the flour and stir, letting the flour soak up the butter. Cook for 3 minutes, letting the rawness of the flour disappear, replacing it with yummy nuttiness.
- Add in chicken stock and stir with a whisk, vigorously to avoid lumps.
- Add in dried shiitake mushroom, letting it steep.
- Add in herbs.
- Lower heat to low and let it simmer for at least 10 minutes.
- Take out shiitake mushroom after it’s soften and rehydrated. Carefully cut it into a small dice and add it back to the gravy.
- Let the gravy cool and store in a microwave-safe container until ready to serve.
- In a crisped phyllo cup, spoon in about 2 spoonfuls of filling, enough to fill the cup three-quarters full.
- Top it with a dollop of gravy.
- Since you’re doing this with all 32 or so cups at once, you’ll be able to ration out the fillings and gravy easily. Try to just keep an eye on consistency and ensure it’s all even.