Using fresh ingredients and a ready made crust, these Easy Chicken Pesto Pot Pies are simple to make and a delicious meal all in one pan!
When I was a kid, I totally loved Swanson Chicken Pot Pies and I’m sure my mom did too. There were six kids in my family; anything that made us happy and her work lessened, well suffice to say we always had some pot pies in the freezer. Now that I’m older, wiser, and fussier, I prefer making my own and this recipe for Easy Chicken Pesto Pot Pies is a winner.
All credit actually goes to Carson Daly’s sister Quinn. I happened to be watching the Today Show last year in January when he appeared in their kitchen to share this recipe for the cast and viewers. I watched, listened to his story about his family and was hooked. And then totally spaced it until last week when I was craving some winter comfort food.
I made them almost exactly like the recipe except for one small change (I can’t help myself!). I had just bought a humongous jar of pesto from Costco and decided to add a bit to the sauce for these Chicken Pesto Pot Pies. Not only do I love pesto but doggone…when I get a Costco supply I have to find creative ways to use it and this seemed a good opportunity. That hint of basil was perfect.
The remaining ingredients are very similar to pot pies I’ve done in the past; onions, carrots, celery for the mirapoix and the addition of peas near the end. If you’re in a hurry like I was, you could also forego peeling and chopping carrots and instead add frozen peas and carrots to the mix as I’ve indicated in this recipe; perfectly legit!
As a matter of fact, switch up the veggies if you choose. I would use broccoli, green beans, or corn in this dish in a heartbeat. I’ll often just look in my fridge or freezer and use what I have. I’m a big believer in use it up or wear it out…no trip to the grocery for one ingredient!
Last but not least is that pastry crust. I know I love a homemade crust as much as the next guy but no judgement; I’m also fine with Pillsbury Pastry Crusts that are rolled and in the dairy case at the grocery store. I prefer them ten times over to the pastry packaged in tins that you can purchase because they are so much more versatile.
I used them for this crust and also got to play with my adorable crust cutouts from Williams Sonoma. How cute are those leaves? The crust tops the filling and is brushed with egg for a richer and beautiful brown finish.
Want to keep going with the ‘almost homemade’ theme? While I used chicken from the freezer, I also love buying the roasted chickens available at Costco and my local Sprouts store. I often purchase them, have one meal consisting of a leg and thigh, and then use the remaining meat for a chicken salad, casserole or pot pies.
A synopsis of the recipe’s almost homemade ingredients possibilities? Altogether this dish could use these:
- Refrigerated Pie Crusts
- Frozen Peas and Carrots
- Roasted Chicken
Homemade can be much quicker for busy home cooks with a couple of shortcuts; this pot pie has several but it’s still a new family favorite…try it, bet you’ll love it too!
PIN IT ‘Easy Chicken Pesto Pot Pie’
- 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or use purchased roasted chicken meat)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 5½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 rib celery, chopped fine
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2 Tbsp basil pesto
- 1 & 1/2 cups frozen peas and carrots
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 - 15-ounce packages refrigerated pie crusts
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large Dutch oven over high heat until just smoking. Cook chicken until well browned, about 2½ minutes per side. Add broth and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until chicken is cooked through, 6-8 minutes. Transfer chicken to large plate and strain broth into bowl.
- Melt butter with remaining tablespoon oil in now-empty Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery and 1/4 teaspoon salt until cook until lightly browned and softened, 8-10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add flour, and cook 1 minute. Whisk in reserved broth, milk and thyme and simmer until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Stir in frozen peas and carrots.
- Meanwhile, using 2 forks, shred chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add chicken and lemon juice to sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide chicken mixture into six 5-inch ramekins.
- Preheat oven to 400°F and adjust rack to middle position.
- Unwrap and unroll pie crusts onto lightly floured surface. Stick 2 crusts together using 1 of the beaten eggs as "glue." Repeat with remaining 2 crusts. Cut out 6 circles, each around 6 inches in diameter. Top ramekins with pastry circles and use a fork to seal edges. Using paring knife, make 3 steam vents in each crust.
- Brush crusts with beaten egg and then bake until crusts are golden brown, about 35 minutes. Let pot pies rest 10 minutes before serving.
Instead of individual pot pies, you could make 2 larger pot pies in traditional pie pans; dividing chicken mixture evenly between both pans and using the 4 pie crusts for 2 bottoms and 2 tops. It will need to bake longer so test every 5-10 minutes after the first half hour.
Special equipment: Six 5-inch pie plates or cast iron pans