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There are some comfort foods we can’t help but crave year after year, but when we go to dig in, we’re struck by how disappointingly bland and boring they can be. No offense to Meemaw’s chicken and dumplings or Dad’s meatloaf, but sometimes we find ourselves longing for a dish that packs the same amount of comfort onto our plate, but with a little more exciting flavor. That’s exactly what we found with Martha Stewart’s French twist on mini chicken pot pies.
She has her own cookbook about pie, so it makes sense that she’d crack the code for this filling favorite. Instead of the beige, sometimes gloppy chicken pot pie filling we grew up with, Stewart takes a cue from another classic dish. French coq au vin, traditionally made with rooster or old hens but now made with whatever chicken one can get one’s hands on at the grocery store, is a dish of poultry braised in red wine with mushrooms and bacon, and it’s full of rich, savory flavors, while the wine brings in a welcome dose of acid. That’s something severely lacking in a lot of our fave comfort food dishes.
Stewart makes a coq au vin to fill her pot pies. First, she simmers chicken legs and breasts until the meat is tender and can be pulled from the bones, reserving the stock for the rest of the dish. Then, she sautes the bacon until crisp, removes it from the pan, and cooks mushrooms and other veggies in the bacon grease, adding layers of flavor. The pan is deglazed with red wine, and once the stew is ready the chicken meat, bacon, peas, and thyme are stirred in. Scoop the filling into four mini pie dishes lined with Pâte Brisée (or store-bought pie crust — we won’t tell) and bake.
When the pies come out of the oven, they’re topped with crisp and buttery rounds of dough. Inside is a silky, rich chicken stew that’s loaded with vegetables and savory pops of umami from the mushrooms and bacon, and a balanced acidity from the wine. We won’t say that you’ll never go back to the chicken pot pie you grew up with, but once you get a taste of Stewart’s mini coq au vin pies, it might be hard.
Before you go, check out our slideshow below:
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