The way I see it, the only way to make something like pie taste even better is to deep-fry it.
As delicious as a good pot pie it, it only gets better with a little hot oil, so let's hop into the kitchen and deep-fry us some chicken pot pies!
Step 1: Ingredients
You will need:
- Cooked chicken, diced, cubed, or shredded (about 1 cup)
- Peas (about 1/2 cup)
- Carrots (about 1/2 cup)
- A small amount of gravy
- 2 Pie Crusts (your favorite recipe, or from a box)
- Optional: Onion, or anything else you like in a pot-pie
- One quart (1L) of your favorite deep-frying oil (I used peanut oil)
- A heavy/deep pan or pot for the frying
- Thermometer, such as a candy thermometer or instant-read infrared thermometer
- Heavy Slotted Spoon, Stainless Steel Mesh Basket, or other safe way to place and remove pot-pies from the hot oil.
- Optional: a Kitchen Deep-Fry Small Appliance
If the peas and carrots are NOT already cooked, quickly cook them for a few minutes in water on the stove-top, then set to the side to cool.
Cube, dice, or shred the chicken.
It's personal preference whether you want to use white meat, dark meat, or both. Besides leftover chicken, turkey is also excellent. In fact, leftovers from American Thanksgiving are perfect for making these pot-pies, as you are likely to have all of the ingredients, including the pie crusts.
Step 2: Prepare the Crust
Next, prepare the crust.
You can use your favorite family recipe or a box from the store. In my case the family recipe IS using the box from the store. No joke, my mother makes a nearly world-famous cherry pie, but the dark little secret is a "just add water" crust mix from the grocery store.
Mix the dough, then divide in half, and roll out two 9-inch pie crusts.
Cut each crust in half, for a total of four pieces of half-circle dough.
Set three of them off to the side, and then place one in front of you along with the filling ingredients to prepare for assembly.
Step 3: Assemble
- Place pieces of chicken on ONE SIDE of the crust
- Add Peas
- Add Carrots
- Spoon a SMALL amount of gravy over the top of the other ingredients
- Wet the perimeter of the pie crust
- Fold the pie crust over onto itself and seal shut
DO NOT OVERSTUFF! Put less of the ingredients in than you think you will need. It is easy to add too much, which will make it difficult to seal the crust, or have the crust split.
Place the pot pies on a plate in the refrigerator for just a few minutes to firm up the crust while you clean up and get the oil ready for deep-frying.
Step 4: Fry
To fry, you need a deep pan or "dutch oven". Cast iron is ideal. Select one that is large enough for the pot-pies to fit (one at a time.) It's best not to use too large of a diameter pan, as you will need so much more oil to fill it.
I chose an eight-inch diameter cast iron pan. It's big enough, but minimizes oil needed.
Fill the pan an inch to an inch and inch and a half deep with oil. The oil should be deep enough to just cover the top of the pot-pie, and still be well below the rim of the pan.
Heat the oil to 350 degrees F. (177C) Check the oil temperature as it heats. Do not leave the oil unattended.
Once the oil is to temperature, you are ready to fry the first pie.
Gently place the pot-pie into the oil. Lower it in using a wire basket, slotted spoon, or other appropriate utensil that will confidently hold the pot-pie and keep your hands and fingers away from the oil. I had a tongs/wire whisk tool that worked well for this.
Fry the pie for 2-3 minutes, or until golden-brown, flipping it over at 1 to 1.5 minutes into the frying.
Remove the pot-pie from the fryer.
Place the pie on a plate that has been covered with several paper towels to absorb any extra oil.
Monitor your oil temperature. It will drop a bit after the first pie. Adjust your heat as needed to maintain the 350 degree temperature.
Repeat with the other three pies.
Turn off the heat. Do not move the pan. Allow it to sit until cooled to room temperature while you go eat delicious deep-fried pot-pies.
A Few Notes on SAFETY:
- Small children can help make the pies, but keep them out of the kitchen once hot oil is involved.
- In the event of a grease fire, do NOT throw water on it!
- The safest way to put out a grease fire in a pot or pan is to place a tight-fitting lid on top, smothering the flames.
- Always keep a fire extinguisher in your home and especially your kitchen. Just make sure it is rated for extinguishing "Type B - Liquid" fires.
- Make sure to monitor oil temperature. Many oils begin to smoke around 450 degrees.
- Do NOT fill the pan too high with oil. Make sure there's enough room for waves, splashing, and the volume consumed by the food, without the oil going over the edge of the pot.
- Do NOT move the frying pan until it has completely cooled down. Even if it is on fire. Especially if it is on fire.
- Deep-fryer kitchen appliances are a good idea in that they contain the hot oil, have a full lid, are very deep, etc. They ARE safer than using oil in a frying pan. If you deep fry on a regular basis, you may want to consider purchasing one.
- If possible, deep-fry outdoors, away from buildings. Thats's how turkey deep-frying is done. It would also be SO much fun to do that while at a camp-ground….
- Do not touch Happy Fun Ball.
Step 5: Eat
I don't know exactly how many calories or grams of fat is in each serving, but if you are making deep-fried pies, YOU probably don't want to know either.
Pot-pies are good served with a side of stuffing or cranberry sauce. You could also provide a small dish of gravy to go on the side as well.
These pot-pies taste great and you can stuff them with whatever fillings you would like. As a fun variation, try making them with "Puff Pastry".
Have fun, be safe, and enjoy the meal!
If you enjoy my kitchen experiments, check out some of the others, like baking bread in a Crock-Pot, here on Instructables, or at my blog, EcoProjecteer.net!
Other thoughts, notes, and lessons learned:
- I would NOT re-use the oil after making pot-pies. They tend to leave lots of particles behind. However, it's fine to use lightly used oil to cook the pies in. I had already made a batch of deep-fried apple pies, and then re-used the oil for the pot-pies.
- While my frying pan worked well, it would still be nice to use an even deeper vessel to heat the oil in. I have a black iron dutch oven I use for camping, and I think I'll try using that next time. The dis-advantage of a deeper container is that you have to use a different style utensil to place and remove the pies. Either a wire-basket or "dipper"-shaped utensil would be needed.
- If you are making a number of pot-pies, and want to keep them warm until all are made, you can hold the fried pies in a 200 degree oven.
- Fried foods don't reheat well. Make the amount you want, and then eat them all right away. You can reheat in the oven to try to get some crispness back, but it's just not the same.