"Make this dish in advance and spend more time with your guests," Puck suggests. Plus, who doesn t love to dig into their very own individual pie?
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Yield: Serves 4
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken, cut into 1-inch chunks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/2 pound organic red-skinned potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 pound organic carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup white wine
2 cups organic chicken stock
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/2 cup shelled or frozen peas
Approximately 1/2 pound frozen puff pastry, defrosted following package instructionsv1 cage-free egg
Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper, and toss in a mixing bowl with 2 tablespoons of flour until evenly coated. In a large skillet over high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add chicken pieces, reduce the heat slightly, and sauté, turning them occasionally, until light golden and thoroughly cooked, about 5 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.
Add the remaining oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter to the pan, then add potatoes, carrots, and onions and sauté until they begin to look glossy and bright, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, stir in the garlic, red pepper flakes, thyme, and bay leaf, and sauté, until the vegetables begin to color slightly, 2 to 3 minutes more.
Add wine, turn up the heat, stir and scrape with a wooden spoon to deglaze the pan deposits, and simmer until the liquid reduces by about half, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and 1 cup cream. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce heat slightly, and simmer briskly until the liquid reduces by about half again and is thick and creamy, about 15 minutes. Remove the sprig of thyme and the bay leaf.
Stir in the reserved chicken pieces and the sherry. Stir together the butter and remaining flour and stir this paste into the mixture. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to 4 large individual ovenproof 2-cup soup bowls, 4 ramekins of the same size, or a 2-quart baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the filling is cold, at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Make sure the puff pastry is no thicker than 1/4 inch. With the tip of a sharp knife, cut the pastry into 4 circles that will overhang the rim of the serving bowls or ramekins by about half an inch; for a single large baking dish, cut 4 circles that will cover its top, or use one large sheet.
In a small bowl, beat together the egg and the remaining 1 tablespoon cream to make an egg wash. Brush the tops and outer rims of the bowls. Place the bowls, ramekins, or baking dish on a baking tray and place the puff pastry circles on top, pressing them gently over the sides of the dishes. Pierce the tops with the tip of a paring knife. Brush the top of the pastry with egg wash. Carefully transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake until the filling is bubbling hot and the pastry is a deep golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes. Serve hot.