Lakeside Chicken Pot Pie

This hearty, delicious meal is perfect on a cold, winter night.

This hearty, delicious meal is perfect on a cold, winter night.

When I was a child, our family would make our annual trek to Myrtle Beach each summer for five glorious days in the South Carolina sunshine.  My grandparents had a Taurus camper, and we always stayed at Pirateland Family Campground.  I had the most amazing experiences there:  meeting children from all over North America, fishing, riding bikes at dusk and marveling at the strings of festive lighting that hung from the awnings of campers throughout the park, swimming in the pool and ocean, playing video games, and watching my grandmother cook breakfast in a cast-iron skillet every morning.  However, when dinner rolled around, there was only one restaurant in all of Myrtle Beach (well… according to my grandparents anyway), and that restaurant was K&W Cafeteria.

No matter how good your pie looks or smells, be sure to let it cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

No matter how good your pie looks or smells, be sure to let it cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Every single night of our trip, we stood waiting in line, sometimes up to an hour, to get our trays and respond to one and two-word commands such as, “Salad?,”  “Y’awna meat?,” and “Bread?”  Back then, there were no hand-held video games to pass the time.  I would sometimes bring along a book to read in line, but most of the time, I would just chat with my brother or my cousin Michael as we would weave around the building and inside to the cafeteria-style meal.

My favorite entree was Chicken Pan Pie.  I ordered it every night they had it on the line.  I can remember being disappointed if they didn’t have my entree of choice.  To this day, when I take Jackson to J&S or K&W, I will often find myself transported back to the beach trips of my youth, and I will splurge and order the Chicken Pan Pie.  I smile each time Jackson orders this entree and blissfully proclaims it his favorite.

Surprisingly, I have never tried to make a Chicken Pot Pie until last night.  I scoured the websites for a recipe I thought would be tasty.  I modified the recipe below from this one I found at   I was not disappointed.  It was absolutely delicious.  One word of advice though:  No matter how good it looks and smells when the pie comes out of the oven, let it sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.  Once it cools, the sauce thickens and is much tastier.

From start to finish, this recipe will take approximately 1 hour 15 minutes. (This recipe makes two 9-inch pies.)

1 1/2 pounds uncooked chicken breast
2 cups sliced carrots
2 cups frozen green peas
2 cups potatoes diced into bite-sized pieces
1/4 cup thinly sliced celery
1 stick butter
1 medium yellow onion finely chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp black pepper
1/3 tsp celery seed
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/4 cups milk
4 9-inch unbaked pie crusts

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In a pot, combine chicken, carrots, peas, potatoes and celery.
Add water to cover and boil for 15 minutes.
Remove from heat, drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent.
Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and celery seed.
Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk.
Simmer over medium-low heat until thick.
Remove from heat and set aside.

Place the chicken mixture in bottom pie crusts.
Pour hot liquid mixture over.
Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough.
Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly.
Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

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