Several readers have writing in asking: how big should a pot pie be? The answer: what’s your total volume of leftovers? That will determine your form as much as anything. I’ll say right now that his will probably be the most informal recipe I’ve ever written. It will be nothing more than a proportional formula, one you can tailor as needed, in the tradition of the world’s finest grannies. Since a classic pot pie is made with chicken, I’ll use a béchamel sauce for my binder. Others are certainly acceptable, but béchamel has the virtue of being extremely easy to prepare.
Let’s start off with the assumption you’ve got about 2 cups shredded chicken. To that you’ll add about 3-4 cups of chopped, cooked vegetables: a mixture of peas, carrots, potatoes, celery, pearl onions, mushrooms, what have you, diced to whatever size you like. Cooked leftovers are great if you have them. If you don’t you’ll want to soften them in a little butter over medium heat. Onions take the longest so start those first and after they’ve cooked 2-3 minutes add the potatoes, carrots or celery. Cook those until softened, 5-10 minutes depending on the size of your dice. Mushrooms only need a couple of minutes, so if you’re using them, add them last. Frozen peas don’t need to be cooked.
During cooking is a great time to add some herbs: a few tablespoons of parsley, a tablespoon of sage or thyme (my favorite). Rosemary is good as well, though use less of that, maybe 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped. Don’t forget to season salt and pepper along the way. When the vegetables have cooked, remove the mixture from the heat and add in the chicken. Stir all that together with about 3 cups of béchamel sauce.
Pour the whole works into a 2-quart form of your choice (or several smaller forms) and top with the crust of your choice: puff pastry, pie dough, filo dough, biscuit dough, whatever you prefer. You’ll need 10-16 ounces depending on how deep or shallow the form is. Just lay the crust out over the edges and let it hang. Cut one or two steam vents and paint the top with egg wash.
Bake in a preheated 400-degree (Fahrenheit) oven until the crust is a deep golden, about 50 minutes.