A comforting mushroom and leek chicken pot pie recipe for early spring. The recipe makes full use of chicken thighs’ rich flavors, first by cooking the vegetables in rendered chicken fat, and then by gently poaching the thighs and making a flavorful chicken broth for the filling. This post was created in partnership with Farmer Focus.
Mushroom and Leek Chicken Pot Pie: Spring Comfort Food
Mushroom and leek chicken pot pie is just the kind of early spring meal I crave – both cozy and comforting, and a great place to highlight vegetables and of-the-moment flavors like mushrooms, potatoes, and leeks.
This cast iron skillet pot pie is pretty enough to be the focal point of a springtime feast, but it’s also laid back enough for a weeknight family meal.
The recipe comes together in a few steps, but takes care to use each part of a pack of Farmer Focus chicken thighs and really plays up their rich flavors. Dark meat chicken takes on flavor beautifully and always cooks up tender. To get that wonderful flavor, it’s important to use great chicken, which is why I love Farmer Focus.
Farmer Focus Chicken
As their name implies, Farmer Focus takes a farmer-centered approach to the chicken they produce. Their chicken is raised on dozens of family farms located in and around Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Each pack of Farmer Focus chicken comes with a Farm ID, so you can look up and learn more about the family farm that raised your chicken. Partner farmers are independent, and work with the Farmer Focus team to raise fully traceable USDA Organic, Certified Humane, Halal, and Non-GMO Project Certified chicken. Farmer Focus chickens have outdoor access and have a Global Animal Partnership Step 3 rating. Another way to put it is: Farmer Focus chicken is the highest-quality, best tasting chicken I’ve cooked with.
Maximizing Flavor, Using Every Part
This recipe makes the most of the chicken thighs by first searing the thighs to develop flavor and render the chicken fat. Next, the seared thighs are poached in an aromatic broth, giving you nicely cooked chicken and a flavorful broth for the pot pie filling. And while the broth simmers, the mushrooms and leeks are seared in the rendered fat.
A comforting mushroom and leek chicken pot pie recipe for early spring. This recipe makes full use of chicken thighs’ rich flavors, first by cooking the vegetables in rendered chicken fat, and then by gently poaching the thighs and making a flavorful chicken broth for the filling.
This recipe can be made with a sheet of store bought puff pastry dough (I prefer the all-butter varieties) or homemade pie dough.
- 1 pack Farmer Focus Bone-In Chicken Thighs, about 1.5 pounds
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, quartered
- 2 medium carrots, scrubbed and cut into 4-inch lengths
- 2 celery ribs, cut into 4-inch lengths
- 2 bay leaves
- 10 peppercorns
- 8 ounces mushrooms (I used a mix of shiitake and porcini), stems removed and sliced
- 1 - 2 leeks, thoroughly rinsed, chopped
- 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 sheet thawed puff pastry or a homemade pastry dough, rolled into a 14-inch circle
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon minced chices or parsley for garnish (optional)
Sprinkle the chicken thighs with salt and pepper on both sides.
Fill a 2-quart sauce pan with 4 cups cold water, add the onion, carrots, celery, bay leaves, and peppercorns, and bring to a boil. Turn heat to medium (enough for a gentle simmer) and partially cover the pot.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Meanwhile, set an 11- or 12-inch cast iron or other heavy oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil, and then the thighs, skin side down. Cook until skin is a deep golden hue, about 5 minutes, then flip, and cook chicken 5 minutes longer, until it’s nicely seared on all sides. Pour the fat into a container and wipe out the skillet.
Set the seared chicken in the broth, if possible, try to perch the chicken on top of the vegetables so it’s not fully submerged. Partially cover the pot and simmer until chicken starts to pull off the bone, about 20 minutes.
Set the cast iron skillet over medium/medium-high heat (so that pan is hot, but not smoking). Add 1 tablespoon chicken fat and half the mushrooms. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms have crisp edges. Remove mushrooms to a dish. Repeat for the second batch. Add another tablespoon chicken fat to the skillet (use olive oil if you run out), add the leeks, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, and sauté until they’re tender. Fold in the mushrooms and potatoes. Add the flour and stir until flour darkens and covers all the vegetables. Turn heat to medium-low.
Strain the broth and set the chicken thighs aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, pull meat off of chicken bones and rough chop.
Add 2 - 3 cups broth, ½ cup at a time, to the skillet, stirring often and giving the mixture time to thicken between additions. Finally, fold in the chicken. Taste and add sea salt and pepper to taste.
Cover the skillet with a sheet of puff pastry dough and trim all but a 2-inch overhang. Tuck these edges up against the sides of the pot pie. Working quickly, brush the pastry with egg wash, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, and use a sharp knife to cut 4 vents in the dough. Set skillet on a rimmed baking sheet to catch drips.
Bake 20 minutes, or until crust is golden, then turn heat down to 350 degrees F, and bake pot pie 30 - 35 minutes, or until crust is a deep golden hue and the filling is bubbling vigorously.