The highest purpose of any leftover roast bird is to be baked into a chicken pot pie. Or as the Brits would say, a chicken pie. Very broad definition of pie, the Brits have. Step one is to make some pastry dough, because it has to chill in the fridge before you can roll it out. Whoops, forgot to take off my ring. Two cups of flour go into the food processor, a half teaspoon of salt and one stick of cold salted butter, right out of the fridge. Cut it up into little chunks before you put it in, otherwise it’ll just kinda spin around in a big glob. If it’s not cold, it’ll melt in the machine, and we want it to stay hard You want lots of tiny globs of butter, still solid. Because when we roll those globs out later, that’s what’s gonna make a flaky crust. Traditionally, at this point, you’d put in just enough cold water to make this come together as a dough. But because I use white wine in my sauce for this, and I had a bottle in my refrigerator, one day I thought, “Let’s use wine in the crust,” and it was just crazypants good. It makes the crust a little sweet, a little fragrant, it’s great. I just pour it in about a tablespoon at a time, whiz is up, and then check the texture until it’s right. There, I know that looks too dry, but it’s not. See how I can squish it into a little flake of dough in my fingers? That’s right, and that was just 3 or 4 tablespoons of wine. Dump that mess out onto some plastic wrap, and seriously, you just barely bring this together into a ball. It won’t feel right, but trust me. The less you work this now, the more crumbly and flakey your crust will be later. Wrap it up, and toss it in the fridge to chill. Oh hey, there’s my leftover roast chicken. That’s half the meat from a 3-4 pound bird. You could roast it yourself using my method, linked in the description, or, honestly, you could buy a store-bought rotisserie chicken. My other major ingredients will be one pound of carrots, and one cauliflower. I love this purple variety. I’d like to be the kind of guy who doesn’t bother peeling his carrots. I tried to be that guy for a while. But honestly, the skins are bitter, as are their stemmy heads, so I line them up and decapitate them, and then I line up their raggedy tips and cut those off too. Then here’s my secret for cutting carrots into even pieces: Just cut them progressively shorter as you work your way up and they get thicker. Man, I love carrots. OK, for the cauliflower, I think the easiest way to cut it up is to stab into it and cut out the core. The core is what’s holding all the florets together, so without it they all just kinda fall out into the board. Cut them up into big bite-size pieces, bearing in mind they’ll shrink a bit when cooked. In addition to looking cool, I bet that this purple breed has all kinds of antioxidants. And speaking of good health, here comes another full stick of butter. I know, I know, but two things to remember: We’re making like eight portions of pie here, and just because I’m melting a whole stick in a big pan right now doesn’t mean I’m going to use all of it. Start whisking in about a cup of flour. Whenever I make a roux like this to thicken a sauce, I always make a little bit more than I think I’m gonna need and I reserve some of it. That way if I think it’s too thin later, I can put in more roux. Yeah, this was a little too dry, too much flour, but whatever. When it smells nutty, you’re good to pull some out to reserve, and then start whisking in half of our bottle of white wine from before, a little bit at a time. If you just dumped it all in at once, it would slosh around uncontrollably as you whisked. Traditionally, I suppose, chicken pie is made with béchamel. That’s a sauce of milk thickened with roux. And I use milk too, but man, I think one or two cups of wine bring much-needed sweetness and acidity. Just brings everything to life. Now here comes the milk, and I’m gonna start with four cups, again, whisking it in a little bit at a time. though as you gradually get this sauce looser, you can start adding bigger doses without risk of sloshing. I can already tell this is not gonna be as thick as I want it, so what the hell, in with the rest of the roux. It’s a two-stick-of-butter pie. I’ll go for a run tomorrow. Get everything in, bring it to boil, whisking constantly. This will stick to the bottom of the pan and burn in a heartbeat if you’re not careful. Now that may look very thick. But, uh, you know, But, uh, make all the jokes you want… I like it thick. And you can always add more milk later if it’s too thick. It’s very easy to thin a sauce out. It’s harder to thicken it back up. Now here comes my little secret. Liquid chicken bouillon. I have no shame about this. I’m using it the exact same way fancy French restaurants use a spoonful of demiglace to boost up a sauce. The only hitch with this stuff is that they put in tons of salt to make it shelf-stable. No worries, you just plan for that. That big spoonful of bouillon will simply be the primary source of salt for this entire pie. Time for the carrots to go in, because they’re gonna take the longest to cook. I suppose you could have been steaming them separately while you were making the sauce, just to save some time. but cooking them in the sauce saves on dishes, and it keeps all of their flavor inside the pie. Notice that I’ve switched to a spatula. Carrots would get stuck in the whisk. Gotta keep stirring and scraping the bottom or this sauce will catch and burn. Get your oven preheating at this point. 400 degrees Fahrenheit. You want to cook these carrots until they’re feeling about half-done. I just test them by poking one with a fork. I cooked these about 12 minutes before I put I in the cauliflower. I think cauliflower always cooks surprisingly fast. So once it gets going, get your leftover roast chicken ready. Cut it up into bite-size pieces and dump it in. That’s looking a little too thick even for me. I believe the British term would be “claggy.” I’ll mix in another half cup of milk. Like we did with the carrots, we want to get the cauliflower half-cooked. How do you know it’s half-cooked? Well, have some confidence. A lifetime of eating things with a fork has given you an innate sense of how a fork should feel as you’re using it to pierce a vegetable. When it feels like you’re half-way to that, it’s time to test for seasoning. Taste the sauce. This needed pepper and a lot more salt, actually. You want the sauce to taste really salty. Too salty. Why? Because you’re not gonna be to eating the sauce it by itself. Its flavor and saltiness is going to be highly diluted in each mouthful by these big chunks of vegetables and meat. Trust me. Make your sauce too salty, then pull the pan off the heat, and flour your board. It’s time to roll the pastry. Flour the top of it, and just roll a little, and turn it, roll a little again, and then turn it. Turning it makes sure it doesn’t stick to the board, and it helps you to roll the whole thing more evenly. This is gonna seem like it’s breaking apart. You will think there’s no way this is gonna work. Just keep the faith. Roll, turn. As it warms up, as you start stretching out those little beads of butter into little sheets, this will start looking and feeling like an actual dough. If a hole opens up, just grab some excess from another corner and perform a little skin graft. As you keep rolling, everything is gonna smush together. Honestly, if this pastry is hard to roll out, that’s a good indication it’s gonna be crumbly and flakey and delicious. You can test whether you’ve got the dimensions right by comparing it to your 2-and-a-half to 3-quart pie dish. You want at least an inch of excess on all sides. That helps you form a seal, and also the parts that hang over the edge get yummy and crunchy. Crack an egg into a bowl and whisk it smooth with some water. Then use a pastry brush to smear that egg-wash all around the edge. That will glue the crust to the dish. At the last possible second, dump in a cup of frozen peas into your pie filling. Yes, frozen solid. They’ll thaw and cook in the oven, and the longer you can delay that process, the more green they will be on the plate. I was very happy when I figured that out. I love peas and I hate seeing them go gray. Filling goes in the pie dish. I had a tiny bit extra, oh well. Then gently drape your pastry on top, and quickly, before it starts to melt, brush egg-wash over the top. This will help the crust brown and also make it nice and shiny. Some people pierce holes in the crust at this point to release steam. I find that one or two usually open up by themselves anyway, so I just let nature take its course. Pie goes in the oven. And do yourself a favor and put some aluminum foil or something underneath it to catch any sauce that boils over or pieces of crust that drop off. I wish I’d done that. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the crust is nice and brown. Now, something to remember is that flour-thickened sauces thin out when they get hot. They thicken back up as they cool. So if you want your sauce to cling to your veggies and chicken, as you spoon this out, let it rest at least 10 minutes before cutting into it. Look at those nice green peas. I’m a genius! Yeah, I’ll admit the purple cauliflower stains the sauce a little, but I don’t care, it still looks cool. Really, trust me on the white wine in both the sauce and the crust. It makes the flavor of this so much more complex. See all those nice flakes of crust? If our dough had been more doughy and easier to work with, this crust would be solid and kinda chewy, not flakey and crumbly like this. This has got to be the greatest cold-weather dish of all time. It is a lot of work, I’ll admit. but it feeds a lot of people and it will make them very happy. It is a hug on a plate.