It’s a little smoky. It’s a little sweet. It’s a little cinnamon-y. It’s a LOT delicious. This smoked chicken sweet potato pie filling, infused with a little bit of port and baked in a flavorful gluten-free mesquite flour crust, is not your mama’s chicken pot pie. It’s a great way to use left-over smoked chicken, though. We end up with left-over smoked meat quite often. Phil loves to smoke meat and I love to eat it, but we have just the two of us at home now. When Phillip smokes meat, he believes as long as he’s firing up the smoker he may as well smoke enough meat to last a while. The chicken I used in this pie was left-over from chicken Phillip smoked for tacos (because TEXAS, y’all).
Besides the smoked chicken, the mesquite flour in the crust makes this chicken pie taste special. Mesquite flour is a naturally gluten-free, grain-free flour with a unique, warm flavor (notes of cinnamon and mocha). It is also a healthy, low carbohydrate flour, with a respectable amount of protein, iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Mesquite flour is one of my favorite gluten-free flours to use, which is one of reason I prefer to make my own flour blends rather than buy a commercially produced gluten-free all purpose flour. This flour doesn’t show up in commercial gluten-free flour mixes. I’ve written about it before, in a blog post and in an article for Edible Austin; I’m writing about it yet again because it is a great flour to use in gluten-free cooking and baking (but a little of this flour goes a long way – only use up it up to 1/3 of your flour blend). The warm spice flavor of the mesquite flour in the crust of this pie complements the smoky-ness of the chicken, the richness of the sweet potato, and the savory-ness of the shallot, allowing the pie crust to play an active role in creating the flavor of this dish. The crust becomes more than just a carrier for the filling.
The other magic ingredient of this chicken pie is port. Super good quality ruby port. Just a little adds richness and flavor to the other simple ingredients. Don’t use the port you find in your grocery wine department. Go to a liquor store where the employees actually know something about the products and ask for someone who knows port, then follow that person’s recommendation. The port I use, recommended by the go-to port person at the liquor store I patronize, is too expensive for my comfort in the regular size bottle. This brand also comes in a 375 ml bottle, though, which makes cuts down the expense.
Just a note about the pie crust: I use milk instead of water in my pie crusts. The added protein from the milk helps to add structure to the gluten-free flours, the added fat in the milk increases the crust’s flakiness and aids in moisturizing the gluten-free flours (which tend to be dry), and it enhances the crust’s browning. I use an egg in my pie crust as a binder, instead of using xanthan gum. Brushing the inside of the bottom of the pie with beaten egg prevents the filling from making the bottom of the crust soggy, and brushing the top of the pie crust with a milk – egg wash helps the pie to brown beautifully.
Now start that chicken smoking right away. You’ll want this pie for dinner tonight!
Gluten-Free Mesquite Flour Crust
Mesquite flour, with its warm spice, mocha, and smoky notes, makes this pie crust a perfect accompaniment for savory meat pies. To use it for a sweet pie, just add a tablespoon or two of powdered sugar.
- 150 grams superfine sorghum flour
- 50 grams mesquite flour
- 50 grams arrowroot starch
- 50 grams tapioca starch
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 11 tablespoons very cold butter cut into small pieces
- 2 eggs beaten: one for the pie dough, the other for the egg wash
- 6 - 7 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon whole fat milk
Whisk the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Add the cold butter. Using either your hands or a pastry blender cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture partially resembles corn meal, with larger flattened pieces of flour-coated butter evident throughout the mixture.
Using a fork, mix one beaten egg into the flour mixture. The dough will be dry and lumpy at this point. Add the milk, one tablespoon at a time, using a fork to stir until the dough starts to come together. Use your hands to mix in the remaining milk, so that you can tell when the dough is coming together well to form a ball. The dough should be slightly sticky. If 7 tablespoons of milk is not enough, add more milk, one teaspoon at a time, until the dough is the proper consistency. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least thirty minutes.
Gluten-Free Smoked Chicken Sweet Potato Pie
The use of mesquite flour in the gluten-free crust for this smoked chicken pot pie adds a layer of smoky, spice flavor that makes this chicken pie a cut above the traditional chicken pot pie.
- 3 cups smoked chicken shredded
- 1 large sweet potato peeled and cut into .5 inch cubes
- 1 large shallot peeled and finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 5 tablespoons arrowroot starch
- 2 tablespoons port
- 1 - 2 teaspoons salt according to taste
- Black pepper according to taste
- 1 double crust gluten-free mesquite flour pie crust see recipe above
- 1 9 inch pie plate
Preheat the oven to 375F. In a large pan over medium heat, melt the 4 tablespoons of butter. Sauté the chopped shallot in the butter until its translucent. Add three tablespoons of arrowroot starch to the mixture until well blended. Add the milk and the port to the shallot mixture all at once. Stir until it's thickened (this will happen quickly). Add the sweet potatoes and smoked chicken to the mixture and continue to cook over medium heat for about five minutes. Remove the chicken pie filling from the heat. Stir the remaining two tablespoons of arrowroot starch into the mixture. The mixture may have lumps of starch throughout; they will dissolve into the filling as the pie cooks.
Remove the mesquite flour pie crust from the refrigerator and let it warm just enough to roll out. Cut the disk of pie dough into two portions, with one portion slightly larger than the other. Wrap the smaller portion in plastic wrap to prevent its drying out and place it back into the refrigerator. Sprinkle both sides of the larger piece of dough with tapioca starch. Place it between two sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap. Roll the dough into a circle larger in diameter than the 9 inch pie plate. Gently remove the top later of wax paper or plastic wrap, center the uncovered side of the dough over the pie plate, and gently fit it into the pie plate. Gently remove the bottom piece of wax paper or plastic wrap and finish fitting the crust into the pie plate.
Using a sharp knife, cut the dough overhanging the pie plate even with the edge of the plate. Add these scraps of dough to the other half of the pie dough in the refrigerator.
Using a pastry brush, brush the entire inside of the bottom pie crust with beaten egg. Pour the chicken pie filling into the pie crust. The filling will rise above the edge of the pie plate.
Repeat the rolling process with the second half of the pie crust, centering it over the top of the pie as you peel off the bottom piece of wax paper or plastic wrap. The top crust will look lumpy, since the pie filling rises above the edge of the pie plate. Crimp the overhanging edges of the top crust with the bottom crust. Add 1 teaspoon of milk to the remainder of the beaten egg with which you brushed the bottom crust. Using a pastry brush, brush a generous amount of the milk - egg wash completely over the top and edges of the pie crust. Using a sharp knife, make some cuts in the center of the pie to allow steam to escape.
Bake the pie in a pre-heated 375 degree oven, for 40 - 50 minutes. After about twenty minutes, place a pie shield on the edge of the pie crust to prevent over-browning. If the top of the pie begins to brown before the bottom crust is finished baking, place a piece of aluminum foil loosely over the top of the pie to prevent further browning.