based on America's Test Kitchen's The Best American Classics, p. 177-178.
NOTE: You can make the filling ahead of time, but remember to reheat it on the stove before topping it with pastry. Recipes for pie or pastry topping are NOT included here.
1 recipe pie dough or biscuit topping
1-1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups chicken broth (prepare with Better than Bouillon)
1-1/2 Tbls vegetable oil
1 medium-large onion, chopped fine
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut crosswise
2 small stalks celery, cut crosswise
Salt and pepper
4 Tbls (1/2 stick) butter
1/2 cup flour
1-1/2 cups milk
1/2 tsp thyme
3 Tbls dry sherry
3/4 cup frozen peas (or greenbeans), thawed
3 Tbls minced fresh parsley
1. Make the pie dough or biscuit topping and refrigerate until ready to use.
2. Put oven rack to lower-middle position; oven to 400.
3. Put the chicken and broth in a small Dutch oven or stockpot at medium heat.
4. Cover, bring to a simmer, and cook until chicken is just done, about 8-10 min.
5. Transfer the chicken to a large bowl and pour left-over broth in a measuring cup. Set both aside.
6. Heat the 1-1/2 Tbl of oil in the now-empty pot on medium-high.
7. Saute onion, carrots, and celery in the pot until just tender, about 5 min, and season with salt and pepper.
8. While the veggies are sauteeing, shred the chicken into bite-size pieces into a bowl.
9. Add sauteed veggies to chicken. Set aside.
10. Heat 1/2 stick (4 Tbl) butter in the empty pot over medium heat. When foaming subsides, add the flour and cook for about 1 minute.
11. Whisk in the chicken broth, milk, and any accumulated chicken juices; then add the thyme.
12. Bring to a simmer and continue to simmer until the sauce fully thickens, about 1 minute, and season with salt and pepper.
13. Stir in sherry.
14. Pour the sauce over the chicken mixture and stir to combine.
15. Stir in peas (green beans) and parsley, and adjust other seasonings as needed.
16. At this point, the mixture can be covered and refrigerated overnight. Reheat before adding the pastry topping.
17. Pour the chicken mixture into a 9" x 13" pan or shallow baking dish of similar size, and top with desired dough--either pie dough (Jeanne's preference) or biscuit dough.
18. Bake at 400 on rack set to lower-middle position, and bake until topping is golden brown and filling is bubbly, about 30 min.