Chicken pot pies are classic comfort food in the wintertime. This version is a nice change from the usual ones made with stock, peas and carrots — what I tend to think of as nursery food — with the crème fraîche and tarragon lending it a more grown-up feel. If you make the slow roast chicken with vermouth and mashed potatoes with crème fraîche, this is a no-brainer to make the next day with the leftover chicken and since you’ll probably still have crème fraîche on hand as well. How’s that for clever meal planning?
Chicken, Shallot and Tarragon Pot Pies
adapted from BBC Good Food
13 oz (375 g) pack of ready-roll puff pastry
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into chunks (or leftover shredded chicken from a roast chicken)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
16 small shallots (12 peeled and left whole,* 4 peeled and sliced)
5 tablespoons tarragon or sherry vinegar
1/2 cup (120 ml) white wine
1 cup (240 g) crème fraîche
1 teaspoon corn starch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon dried tarragon, or a small bunch of fresh, leaves chopped
*Note: To peel shallots easily, drop them into a pot of boiling water for less than 1 minute. Drain, then slip off the skins.
Heat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Cut circles from the pastry big enough to cover 4 small ovenproof bowls or ramekins with a 1/2‑inch overlap, then chill.
Heat the oil in a saucepan. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, brown quickly all over, then remove from the pan. (If you’re using leftover roast chicken, you can omit this step.) Add all the shallots and cook until golden, about 8 minutes. Add the vinegar and reduce by half. Add the chicken back in, then stir in the wine, crème fraîche, corn starch mix and tarragon and cook for 5 minutes. Divide between the bowls/ramekins. Dampen the rims of the bowls with water, put a circle of pastry over each one, then press down over the sides. Make a small slash in the top of each pastry circle to let the steam out. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes on a baking sheet, until the tops are golden. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.