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Chicken and bacon pot pie with sweet potato crust

Celebrate the flavors of fall: chicken, caramelized onion, sage, and sweet potato in a creamy homemade pot pie.

By The Runaway Spoon / September 25, 2012

Use a fall-themed cookie cutter to cut the sweet potato crust into fun seasonal shapes.

The Runaway Spoon

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Autumn is officially here, though the weather may be lagging behind a bit. I saw my first lovely russet-hued oak leaf blowing across the patio the other day. And I am ready. I am ready for soups and stews, winter squash, apples, pears and maple syrup. I am ready to get the soft blanket out of the linen closet, to curl up on the sofa with a warm mug of something steamy. I know that, theoretically, here in Memphis sweater weather is a while away, and the coat will probably stay in the closet until Christmas. But I can capture to the feeling of fall in the kitchen. And fall means comforting, classic cooking.

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The Runaway Spoon

Perre Magness has studied food and cooking around the world, mostly by eating, but also through serious study. Coursework at Le Cordon Bleu London and intensive courses in Morocco, Thailand and France has broadened her own culinary skill and palate. The kitchen of choice is at home, cooking like most people, experimenting with unique but practical ideas.

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Creamy pot pies are a perfect homey comfort food. But I worry that the concept has been tainted by years of bad, processed, pre-packaged and even fast food versions. And recipes that call for condensed soups and canned chicken. None of that sounds the least bit appealing to me. Now when you mention pot pie, many people get that glazed over look, imagining the foil pan of gloopy, doughy, microwaveable mess. For some people I know, pot pie is no longer a dish they make with pride, but a guilty secret from a box they only eat when no one can see them. What a shame.

Ah, but freshly made pot pie, with quality ingredients and a homemade crust will warm your heart and your tummy. I created this version to showcase the flavors of autumn, with a unique sweet potato crust that is both delicious and beautiful. I streamlined the filling so the unique crust shines and each of the carefully selected ingredients meld together for a perfect fall flavor. Tender chicken, sweet caramelized onions, salty bacon and woodsy sage, the herb that speaks to me so strongly of fall.

Chicken and Bacon Pot Pie with Sweet Potato Crust
Serves 6 – 8 

For the Filling:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Olive oil
10 strips of bacon
1 medium yellow onion (to make about 2 cups diced)
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1-1/2 cups chicken broth, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups whole milk, at room temperature
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground pepper

For the crust:
2 sweet potatoes (about 11 ounces each)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter
1 egg
1 – 2 tablespoons buttermilk or milk

For the Filling:

Drizzle a little oil in a baking dish and place the chicken breasts on top. Rub a little oil on top of the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake until the chicken reaches 165 degrees F., internal temperature, about 25 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate to cool completely. When the chicken is cool, cut it into bite-sized chunks.

Dice the bacon into small pieces (I find scissors a great tool for this) and sauté in a large skillet until crispy. Remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon. Let the bacon grease cool a little, then carefully pour it into a measuring cup and set it aside. Let the skillet cool until it is safe to touch, then wipe out any burned bits or dark brown spots. Return the skillet to medium high heat and pour in two tablespoons bacon grease. Add the diced onion and sauté, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and translucent, being careful not to burn or brown the onions. Pour in one cup of water, cover the skillet and cook the onions until they are soft and begin to turn a golden color, about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally and add a splash more water to prevent sticking as needed. Remove the lid and cook until all moisture is evaporated and the onions are lightly caramelized.

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