It’s the season for serious comfort food.
I may have gone on a little bit of a pie bender after introducing you to how I make gluten-free pie crust. Sweet or savory, the options are really limitless!
These little cuties. They’re bowls of savory, comforting warmth full of seasonal goodness. Sweet potatoes and granny smith apples enhanced with the crisp, refreshing flavor of cider. They’re hearty, but not heavy — partly because they don’t have crust on the bottom. These are time-saving pot pies.
Autumn has finally arrived here, in full force, with cooler temperatures and rain. I was driving through downtown the other day and watched men climbing trees to hang Christmas lights, and noticed that most of the trees still have their leaves. I was grateful to still see so much foliage.
It’s totally sweater weather, but we are lucky to not yet need heavier winter coats or bundles of layers (at least this former Michigander doesn’t).
November is so many things. Settling fully into this season, making our way to winter. There’s so much to savor — I have been reveling in the abundance at the farmers markets and the long transition from summer to fall.
It’s also a chance to slow down just a little bit before the true rush and hullabaloo of the holidays (especially for folks like me who work in the retail and service industry — there will be no stopping until January). Thanksgiving is when most of us share and vocalize our thanks, but I think the whole month, as we gear up to give and gather, is a great time for gratitude.
I think I’ve said that my recipes are “infinitely adaptable” enough times. You’re probably sick of it. But it’s so true! Swap out the sweet potato for some butternut squash cubes. Throw some sliced Brussels sprouts into the mix. (Oooh, yes. Please do that! For me.) If you don’t do chicken, leave it out and make these totally veggie pot pies. This is also a great way to use up those random odds and ends, like broccoli stems.
Kitchen sink pot pies? Yea, that could totally be a thing.
I made the pot pie filling with a local hard apple cider, but you don’t need to if you don’t want. Use regular apple cider instead, or apple juice, or just more broth. Whatever you want. These are your pot pies.
I used the Wild Washington semi-dry cider crafted by Tieton Cider Works. They use organic, Washinton-grown apples and this cider sounded so quintessentially Washington to me. It is crisp but juicy with a mineral quality. If you want to use hard cider, I recommend using something that’s crisp and clean and more dry like the Crispin Brut or Angry Orchard Crisp Apple (although the Apple-Ginger would be fantastic too!).
The other beautiful thing about this recipe is that you can make much of it ahead of time. The pie crust can be rolled out and cut to size a day or so before you plan to make them, stored on a covered baking sheet in the fridge until you’re ready. Make the filling in advance, too, and reheat before portioning into the dishes. Then all you have to do is assemble, bake and eat!
- (Hard) Apple cider
- Sweet potatoes
If more of us valued food and cheer above hoards of gold, it would be a merrier world.
— J.R.R. Tolkien
Gluten-Free Apple Cider and Sweet Potato Chicken Pot Pies
1 sheet pie dough (prepared or store bought)
1 pound chicken tenders (or breast cutlets; you can also use pre-cooked shredded chicken)
1 white onion, peeled and sliced
1 cup diced carrot
1 cup diced sweet potato (I didn’t peel mine)
1 cup diced granny smith apple (2 apples; I didn’t peel mine)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons dried herbs de provence (or dried thyme/rosemary)
2 tablespoons gluten-free all purpose flour
1 cup hard (or regular) apple cider
1 cup chicken (or vegetable) stock
1 cup frozen peas
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Salt and pepper
First, prep your pie crust. If you’re using individual ramekins, cut out circles large enough to fit the top of the dishes. (It’s your choice whether you want them to fit in the dish exactly, like mine did, or if you want them to hang over the edges.) If you’re making a single large pot pie or savory galette, roll out the dough and trim to size. Place the rounds on a baking sheet and store in the fridge until you’re ready to bake.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Heat a Dutch oven or large skillet over medium heat and add the butter or oil (a combo of the two works great!). If you’re using fresh chicken, pat the meat dry and season with salt and pepper. Place the chicken in the heated pan without crowding, and cook for about 6-8 minutes per side, until the chicken is browned and no longer pink the center. Remove from the pan and set aside until cool enough to handle. Then, chop or shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces. (You can skip this step if you’re using chicken that’s already cooked and chopped.)
Reduce the heat. In the same pan, add the sliced onions. Stir occasionally, making sure the onions don’t burn. Cook until they are deeply fragrant, browned and caramelized. If the onions are cooking too fast or burning, reduce the heat. (This will take about half an hour.)
Add the diced carrots and sweet potatoes in with the onions and saute for 7-10 minutes until the vegetables start to soften. Stir in the minced garlic and the dried herbs. Saute until just fragrant, about 30 seconds. Sprinkle the flour over the veggies and stir until the flour is incorporated.
Add the cider and deglaze the pan, scraping up any delicious browned bits on the bottom of your pan. Raise the heat and add the stock. Add the diced apples, frozen peas and shredded chicken. Bring the mix to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes until thickened.
Distribute the mixture evenly among your ramekins or casserole dish(es). Remove your prepared pie crusts from the fridge and place the rounds on top of your pot pies. Using a sharp knife (or a fork) cut slits (or poke holes) in the pie crust tops to vent. Place the ramekins on a sheet pan to catch any drips (and make them easier to put in and take out of the oven).
Whisk the egg and water together. Brush the tops of the pie crusts with the egg wash.
Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until the pie crusts are puffed and golden and the filling is bubbling. (You will need to extend the baking time for a larger casserole.)
Serve with a fluffy green salad and glasses of cold cider!