Poultry & Pork

Bigger’s Not Always Better

You can interpret the big versus small debate however you choose, but there’s nothing wrong with the smaller side of the spectrum.  Ask  all of the people who make mini bundt cakes, mini muffins, mini pound cakes and mini cupcakes.  The last mini treats here were a few batches of Apple Pie Cupcakes for Stir It 28.  If something is small, you can pop it into your mouth in one bite–two if you’d like to give off an air of restraint.  In an effort to stay true to our love for pot pie, this attempt to make a savory serving for one was the most fitting way to have your pie and eat it too.

Up to this point, there has been a nice helping of large pot pies on this site, but today, you’re looking at the baby version. Making individual portions of any dish always has an endearing quality to it. Each person has their own serving, there are less fights over seconds, and it’s cute. Plus, you can usually make a large number of the servings, chill or freeze them and then heat as needed. Here is a pot pie that features the sweet and smokey flavors of Moroccan food in every bite. Plump raisins and apricots mix with tender chicken and fresh cilantro to create a very warming meal.

Moroccan Chicken Pot Pie – Serves 4
Dough (inspired by Simply Recipes)
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
Zest of 1 orange
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup butter, chilled and cubed
1/2 cup shortening
6-8 tablespoons ice water

3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1″ pieces
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons ground paprika
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1/2 small onion, diced
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 large carrot, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small eggplant, cubed
1 cinnamon stick
14 ounces chicken broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup dried apricots, sliced
1/4 cup slivered almonds
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons milk

1. Toss the chicken with the flour, cumin, salt and paprika. Add the sunflower oil to a deep, wide pan. When hot, add the chicken and cook until no longer pink on the outside, approximately 2-3 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.

2. Add the celery, carrots, onion and garlic to the pan with a bit more sunflower oil if necessary. Cook until the onions begin to turn translucent, approximately 3-4 minutes. Add the chicken and cinnamon stick to the pan.

3. While veggies and meat cook, whisk the cornstarch into the broth, then pour over the chicken. Add the raisins and apricots, stir well and bring to a low boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, scoop into a plastic container and cool completely. (This can be left to chill overnight if desired.) Once cool, stir in the almonds and cilantro.

4. As the filling cools, combine flour, sugar, orange zest, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Add chilled butter and combine with a pastry blender.

5. Add shortening and cut into flour and butter mixture. Mixture should resemble coarse cornmeal. Slowly add ice water by tablespoons. Mix well after each addition until dough begins to stick together.

6. Place dough on a flat surface and divide into 8 even pieces. Roll into balls, dust lightly with flour and wrap in plastic. Place in fridge for at least an hour.

7. Once dough as chilled, roll each piece out on a floured surface into a 5 1/2″ circle. Tuck half of the pieces of dough into four 4-inch mini tart shells, making sure to cut off any excess dough around the edges. Split the filling evenly between all four shells.

8. Lay the remaining dough on top of each pie and seal the edges around the edge of the shell. If desired, make a couple of small slits on top of the pastry. Carefully set all four pies on a baking sheet and chill again until the dough has hardened.

9. When ready to bake, brush the top of each pie with a bit of milk. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown on the outside.

Click HERE for the printable recipe.


27 thoughts on “Bigger’s Not Always Better

  1. I like the idea of individual little pies like that, especially, as you said, so that you can freeze some for later. When something tastes so good, it’s always a nice surprise to find weeks later that you have a few more tucked away to enjoy once again.

  2. Individual pot pies are the best. No one to have to share the crust with (my favorite part) and the insides kinda stay put instead of spreading out in the pan.

  3. I love mini pies – we have a Chinese bakery a block away that actually does wonderful mini chicken pockets more than pies (but with the pie filling if that makes any sense) of course you need one of those any time you walk by the store, which I do (a lot)

    Love the Moroccan spices and ingredients you have going here. Some of my favorite flavor combos. Just tried Egyptian for the first time this weekend, and now I’m looking to expand a bit. First have to try your yummy sounding version though before I get ahead of myself.

  4. I’m making more and more individual portions these days. It always looks much more sophisticated with no extra effort!
    Nice pie. It reminds me of the awesome ‘Pastilla’ I had in Morocco! Thanks for the mouthwatering 😀

  5. There definitely is something nice about having things in mini portions. It just feels so much more satisfying to eat them that way!

    These look delicious, I love the Moroccan twist on an American classic.

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