Mexican Chicken Pot Pie

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Yes, the pot pie obsession continues...

...but this time it takes a turn south of the border for a Mexican-inspired one pot meal that's sure to warm your heart on these cold winter nights. The filling is based on my chicken tortilla soup recipe, fortified with even more flavor and texture by adding some enchillada sauce. The topping is not the flaky crust you're used to, but rather sweet cornbread mixed with sharp cheddar cheese. You'll love the warmth and spice from cumin and oregano, tender pieces of chicken and bright cilantro. This recipe makes two larger individual pies or four smaller appetizer portions, and can be easily doubled for a larger family sized pie.

Mexican Chicken Pot Pie
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small cubes
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp olive oil (or your favorite cooking oil)
1 small white onion, chopped small
1 large celery stalk, chopped small
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped small
1/2 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped small
1/2 jalapeno, minced (optional)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 roma tomatoes, chopped small
1 bay leaf
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ancho chile powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/3 cup enchalada sauce
about 1.5 cups chicken broth
1-2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 tsp cornstarch mixed with 1 tsp water
1 package cornbread mixed according to package directions
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Season the chicken with a good amount of salt and pepper and toss in a bowl to coat.

Heat the oil in a large pot until hot but not smoking. Add the chicken all at once and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes on medium-high heat. Turn the heat down to medium-low and using a slotted spoon, carefully remove the chicken to a bowl and set aside. Don't worry if the chicken isn't cooked all the way through because you'll be adding it back to finish cooking in the broth. Add the onions, celery, carrot, and poblano pepper all at once into the reserved oil (add more oil if you need to) and season the vegetables with salt and pepper to taste. Turn in the pot to coat with the oil and cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have softened. Once softened, add the jalapeno, garlic, and tomatoes and cook another minute or two, stirring occasionally. Add the bay leaf, cumin, chile powder, and oregano and stir to combine. Add the enchilada sauce and broth and mix to combine. Turn heat up to medium-high and bring the soup up to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to medium and let soup simmer until liquid is reduced a little bit, about 15-20 minutes. Add a lid on top if the liquid begins to reduce too quickly, and add more broth if you want a saucier pot pie.

While the soup cooks you can mix your cornbread mixture in a seperate bowl according to package directions. Add the cup of cheese and fold in to combine. Set aside to thicken.

Once the soup has simmered and liquid has reduced to your desired amount of sauce, taste and adjust with seasonings to taste. Add the cilantro and the cornstarch mixture and mix to combine. The cornstarch mixture will thicken the soup base to a traditional pot pie gravy conistency. Portion out the soup into oven-safe bowls and let cool a couple of minutes (or if making one larger pie, pour the soup mixture into the large pie pan or whatever you are using).

Working in in batches, gently spoon out the cornbread mixture on top of the soup mixture. Spread it out evenly, careful not to mix the soup into the cornbread mixture. Don't worry if it sinks a little bit into the soup, but be careful not to mix it all up or else you'll end up more with a casserole (not a bad thing, but we're going for a pot pie here).

Place the container/s on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil for easy clean up and place in the center rack of your oven. Cook until cornbread is set on top and a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 20 minutes. If you see the top of the cornbread is browning but the center is still quite wet, cover the top lightly with aluminum foil while the center cooks.

Serve piping hot and enjoy!

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