A full-size, well-made chicken pot pie is not a boring family-style dish, but a dramatic culinary spectacle that provokes a flurry of good feelings. It slowly fills a kitchen with an intoxicating aroma as it bakes, building anticipation that reaches a fever pitch by the time it comes out of the oven. There’s the agonizing period of waiting while the pie cools, with each minute becoming more unbearable than the last. Once the crust is pierced, all the senses go into overdrive: the audible crack of the filo, its golden-brown sheen, the irresistible scent, and the juxtaposition of soft and crisp textures.
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Cut chicken breasts into 2" cubes; place in a large saucepan with stock, onion, garlic, carrot, celery, bay leaves, and spices. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes. Using tongs, move the chicken pieces to a bowl to cool slightly. Strain the stock, discard the vegetables, and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, melt 6 tablespoons of butter. Add 2 large cloves of sliced garlic and reduce heat to low. Allow to infuse while you make the filling.
- On the stovetop, heat the oil in a 12" cast-iron skillet until it begins to shimmer. Add chopped carrots and a big pinch of salt; stir to coat. Turn off heat and move the skillet to the floor of the oven for 5 minutes. Add the peas, stir things around for a bit, and continue to cook on the oven floor for another 5-10 minutes until the vegetables show signs of charring but are not burnt. Return pan to medium heat on the stovetop, add sherry and stir well; cook until it has evaporated and glazed the vegetables. Add two tablespoons of butter; once melted, add flour and stir gently until there is no more raw flour visible and cook for another minute. Stir in reserved stock a cup at a time, bringing to a simmer to thicken, then stir in Parmesan cheese and remove from heat.
- Use your hands or a fork to roughly shred the chicken into bite-size pieces. Add to the skillet, stir well, and taste for seasoning, adding additional salt and pepper to taste.
- Lay a sheet of filo dough onto a cutting board, lightly brush with garlic butter, then top with another layer of filo. Repeat until all the filo is used up; toss the cooked garlic into the filling. Lay the filo over the skillet; using kitchen scissors trim off the excess, leaving a slight overhang. Cut the scraps into strips or decorative shapes. Lightly brush the top of the pot pie with egg wash, decorate with filo scraps, then give it another light brushing. Cut four 3" slits in the filo to allow steam to vent, then move to the center rack of the oven and bake for 40 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Allison Robicelli is a D-list celebrity-chef chef, author, humorist, entrepreneur, general polymath, and all-around good time. You may remember her from such places as Food52, Eater, Food Network, VH1, and many other quirky corners of the food Internet. She is the author of the critically acclaimed cookbook/memoir Robicelli's: A Love Story, With Cupcakes, which has been called one of the funniest food-related books of all time. You should buy it.