Karen Gordon: Make the crust from scratch to elevate your chicken pie

Kandace Wysock

In Karen Gordon’s family, chicken pie is a light, flaky, double-crust dish filled with chunks of chicken, carrots, celery, and peas swimming in a thick, creamy gravy. It’s her favourite fall dinner recipe.

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Is it chicken pie or chicken pot pie? That’s a question that often debated, not only in my home but, also on the internet!


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I’ve always associated a double crust, chicken-filled pie, as chicken pie; it’s a sliced, stand-alone, piece of pie on a plate. According to some, pot pies have two crusts, a bottom and a top and served pie-style. Then there are others who say that pot pies have a single crust, is baked in a casserole dish, and served family-style.

And if I wasn’t confused enough, I found out that the debate is not limited to crust alone. There’s also discussion when it comes to filling as well. Did you know that it’s common for pot pies to contain not only potatoes but also noodles and, no vegetables? This was news to me. I’d started my query hoping for a definitive answer between chicken pie and chicken pot pie and have concluded that there’s no right answer.


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It appears that regional influences dictates what one calls chicken pie or chicken pot pie. The only thing that everyone can agree on is, it’s a delicious, hearty meal consisting of chicken, gravy and crust. All of the other added extras is dependent on where one is from and how their family referred to it, growing up.

In my family, chicken pie is a light, flaky, double-crust dish filled with chunks of chicken, carrots, celery, and peas swimming in a thick, creamy gravy. It’s my favourite fall dinner recipe. It’s rich, hearty and filling, made even more delicious with bacon and smoked paprika. It’s everything I associate with being warm and cosy.

You can use rotisserie chicken as well as a store-bought crust for this recipe. I particularly like using rotisserie chicken for its convenience but prefer making my own homemade crust. If you have time, a made-from-scratch crust is highly recommended as it will elevate this dish.


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One of the biggest problems with homemade pies is a soggy crust. Here are three tips to prevent your crust from being soggy:

1: Chill the cooked filling before placing it into the pie crust.

2: Freeze your pie before baking.

3: If you have a baking stone, use it because the radiant heat will help crisp up the bottom pie crust. To obtain neat slices, be sure to allow your pie to cool slightly before slicing. The cooling period will help the filling set up and not run when removing the slice from the pie dish.

So, I’m curious, what do you call it? Chicken pie or chicken pot pie?

In Karen Gordon’s family, chicken pie is a light, flaky, double-crust dish filled with chunks of chicken, carrots, celery, and peas swimming in a thick, creamy gravy. It’s her favourite fall dinner recipe.
In Karen Gordon’s family, chicken pie is a light, flaky, double-crust dish filled with chunks of chicken, carrots, celery, and peas swimming in a thick, creamy gravy. It’s her favourite fall dinner recipe.  Photo by Karen Gordon. /PNG



6 bacon rashes, sliced into ½” pieces

1 cup chopped onions

2 large garlic cloves

3/4 cup diced carrots

1/2 cup diced celery


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1 lb (500g) boneless skinless chicken breast or rotisserie chicken, cut into bite size chunks

1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

3/4 cup (180ml) milk

1-1/2 tbs (10g) powdered chicken seasoning

1 cup frozen peas

Salt and Pepper to taste

2 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley


4 cups (480g) all-purpose flour

1 tsp (5g) fine sea salt

1/2 cup (113g) cold unsalted butter, cubed

1/2 cup (113g) cold shortening, cubed

2-3 tbs (30-45ml) ice-cold water

Egg wash — 1 egg beaten with 1 tbs cold water


1: To a large skillet, add the bacon. Cook over medium heat until bacon is brown and the fat is rendered. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon and set aside. Using a spoon, remove all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat.


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2: Return the skillet to the stove. Over medium heat, add the onions and garlic and fry until the onions are translucent and the mixture is fragrant, taking care not to burn the mixture. Add the carrots and celery and fry until the carrots are slightly softened. *If using precooked rotisserie chicken, add the precooked chicken to the onions and carrots mixture and heat through. If using fresh chicken, remove the carrots and onions mixture with a slotted spoon and set aside.

3: Using the same skillet, add the fresh chicken breast, and a little oil or butter if needed. Fry for approximately 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked.

4: Return the onions and carrots mixture to the skillet. Season with thyme and smoked paprika. Add milk and powdered chicken seasoning. Stir to combine and bring the mixture to a boil. Adjust with salt and pepper to taste.


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5: Turn off heat and add the frozen peas and minced flat-leaf parsley. Stir to combine. Transfer the mixture into a separate bowl. Allow the mixture to come to room temperature then cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator until needed.


1: To a food processor, add the flour and salt. Pulse to combine.

2: Add the cold cubed butter and shortening to the flour mixture and continue pulsing until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

3: With the machine running, add 1 tablespoon of the ice-cold water. Stop as soon as the mixture starts to come together and forms a dough. If required, add more water, a teaspoon at a time to help the dough come together.

4: Remove the dough and divide into 2 equal portions. Pat each portion into a 1/2” thick flat disk, wrap each disk with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.


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5: Once chilled, working with one disk at time, on a well-floured surface, roll the dough into a 13” circle. Lift and place rolled out dough onto a 9” pie dish, lightly pressing the sides to conform the dough to the pan. Fill the shell with the chilled chicken filling and set aside.

6: Remove the other disk from the refrigerator. Again, working on a well-floured surface, roll disk into another 13” circle.   Place the dough over top the pie dish, then trim and flute edges. For a lattice pie crust, using a pizza-cutter, cut strips of dough and layer over and under perpendicular strips to create a basket weave design. For leaf designs, use a leaf cookie cutter to cut out leaves. For the berries, pinch off pieces of dough and using your fingers, roll the dough into little balls.


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7: Brush the top crust with the egg wash and affix leaves and berries. Place the completed pie in the freezer to chill for 15 minutes while the oven heat up.

8: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Move oven rack to the lowest position. If using a baking stone, place the baking stone in oven at this time.

9: Remove the pie from the freezer and place on a cookie tray to catch any drips. Bake in the oven for about 70-75 minutes until the crust is golden. At the 50 minute mark, check your pie crust. Should you find that the crust is browning too quickly, place a piece of aluminum foil over the crust and continue baking.

10: Remove from the oven, allow the pie to cool slightly before slicing. Enjoy.

Makes one 9” pie. Serves 4-6 people.

Karen Gordon is a Food Blogger from North Vancouver who shares her recipe creations online at karentology.com and on Instagram at @karen.t.ology



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