To see an artfully weaved crust of pastry atop a casserole is totally intimidating, I admit. However, as you examine the details of the recipe for the “Chicken Pot Pie Casserole with Sweet Potato & Apple,” from the October 2012 issue of Cuisine at Home (recipe below), you’ll realize the many convenient steps, here. There’s frozen puff pastry (forgiving and simple enough to weave), there’s precooked “rotisserie” chicken (I used the fantastic D’Artagnan smoked chicken breast), there are frozen peas. Come on!

Chicken Pot Pie Casserole with Sweet Potato & Apple
Cuisine at Home, October 2012

1 pkg. frozen puff pastry, thawed (2 sheets, 17.3 oz.)
3 1/4 cups chicken broth, divided
2 cups peeled, diced sweet potato
1 1/2 cups peeled, diced russet potato
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced celery
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 cups diced rotisserie chicken
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced
1/2 cup frozen green peas
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
salt and pepper to taste

For the crust, cut pastry sheets into 1-inch-wide strips. On a parchment lined baking sheet, weave strips into a lattice pattern; freeze while preparing filling.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.

For the filling, heat 2 1/2 cups broth, sweet and russet potatoes, onion, celery, and garlic in a large skillet over medium-high. Cook until vegetables are slightly soft, about 8 minutes.

Whisk together remaining 3/4 cup broth, cream, flour, curry powder, and cinnamon. Pour mixture into vegetable mixture. Cook and stir until thick and bubbly. Add chicken, apple, peas, cilantro, and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. Pour filling into prepared baking dish.

Bake filling until bubbly and crust until golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Place crust on top of pie before serving.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

I felt so smart when I learned that the latticed pastry is cooked on its own baking sheet, separate from the casserole. Then, it’s calmly placed on top of the casserole, after everything is cooked. For the cleverly crafted crust, I placed parchment paper on that baking tray, then traced the outline of my casserole dish, so I knew the necessary dimensions of my pastry. Too easy.

It was simple enough to dice my veggies and simmer them in the chicken broth. The creamy slurry was colored yellow by the fragrant curry powder and cinnamon, which complemented the pleasant tartness of the apple + cilantro + lime juice. I absolutely loved the flavor of the smoked chicken breast. The pastry, once placed on top of the finished casserole, was, of course, never soggy. We all enjoyed this meal, and you will be so proud of yourself when you put it together.

Frozen Puff Pastry (2 sheets) = $4.26
Sweet Potato = $1.51
Russet Potato = .88¢
D’Artagnan Smoked Chicken Breast = $11.23

PREP TIME: dedicate 90 minutes or so to the prep and cooking
a pleasantly tart and fragrant chicken stew

Next time, I will tackle two recipes from the November 2012 issue of Food and Wine: the “Chicken in Pineapple Sauce” and the “Fried Artichokes with Citrus & Parsley.” Ready yourself and return to my site soon, to witness my meal.