Lighter Baked Chicken Salad Pie
If you're looking for a comforting Midwestern dish, then look no further. Baked Chicken Salad Pie is something my mom would make and I always enjoyed. You'll find several variations of this recipe online but I believe one of the original creations came from the The Blue Owl restaurant in Kimmswick, MO. I loosely follow a version on St. Louis regional grocer, Dierbergs' website. Of course I had to lighten it up to be part of a sensible diet. I do believe there is room for indulgence but I wanted the challenge of making this comforting dish, lighter yet still tasty, especially one that would reheat easily at work.
Don't be intimidated by the rather long list of ingredients. Once you poach the chicken and get the crust made, it comes together quickly. I highly recommend not skipping the poached chicken. The technique with poaching chicken in aromatics with either broth or wine, makes a noticeable difference in flavor.
Ingredients - serves 6, adapted from this recipe
For the poached chicken:
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove, smashed
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 to 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth, enough liquid to cover the chicken by 1"
For the 9" easy no-roll pie crust: recipe from my Aunt Susan (or use prepared pie crust)
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup oil
2 tablespoons milk
Remaining pie-filling ingredients:
2 cups celery, diced
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 small green bell pepper, small diced
1 medium shallot, minced
1 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup mayo (I like Whole Foods 365 or Sir Kensington brands)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided
freshly cracked pepper
Gather the ingredients to poach the chicken and follow this technique. When finished place the chicken on a cutting board to cool. Dice the chicken when cool.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. If you're making the homemade no-roll pie crust, spray the pie pan with cooking spray. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt directly in the pie pan. Mix with a fork. Beat oil and milk together with fork, then combine into flour mixture until evenly dampened. Press with fingers on the bottom and up the side of the pan, flute edges if you'd like. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork and bake the crust for 15 minutes to have your 'prebaked' crust ready to avoid a soggy bottom :) Remove the crust and set aside to add filling.
While the crust is baking and oven is already on, toast the almonds - lay evenly on a pan and bake for about 4 minutes or until desired golden color is achieved. Set aside when done toasting.
Next, chop the celery, green pepper, and shallot - combine in a large bowl along with yogurt, mayo, lemon juice, 1/2 cup shredded cheese, toasted almonds, diced chicken, and lots of freshly cracked pepper. Mix until evenly distributed.
Pour mixture into pie crust and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese.
Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool slightly before cutting into wedges to serve.