Ever have one of those days when you start craving a food that is traditionally made with wheat? The one solution? Make it gluten free! And, hey, it might actually end up even more tasty once you’re done. That’s what happened when I made these chicken pot pies this weekend.
They’re loaded with chicken, sweet peas, and carrots in a creamy sauce just like a classic chicken pot pie, but I made them with a healthy twist: the most delicious cheese-flavored cauliflower crust. Yes, they are as amazing as they sound.
When I decided to make gluten free chicken pot pie, the main challenge was recreating the beautiful golden crust that is usually made with wheat flour. I wanted to make something that would be healthy and unique. Nicole recommended trying cauliflower as we have had a lot of fun making cauliflower flatbreads in the past. This was a perfect idea.
Not only would these chicken pot pies be a hearty dinner, they would also be a healthy one. Cauliflower is an excellent source of potassium. It’s rich in dietary fiber, folate, manganese, and vitamins C, K, and B6. Since these pot pies are topped with cauliflower crusts and filled with peas and carrots, there is no need to make a vegetable side. Moms, it’s a great way to get kids to their eat vegetables. 😉
In fact, I recommend tossing in your favorite vegetables. If you don’t like peas, feel free to leave them out. I love peas, but I did notice several people in my family who ate every last drop of their pot pie except the peas. 🙂 The cauliflower crusts were all completely devoured, however.
For the cream sauce, I used organic milk. I love that it is free of hormones and antibiotics. If you can’t tolerate milk, you can use coconut milk instead. And if you’d prefer a completely grain free meal, you can thicken your sauce with potato flour; Bob’s Red Mill has a certified gluten free potato flour.
So let’s get started.
First, the crusts! The cauliflower needs to be turned into a flour-like consistency.
Pulse a few cauliflower florets at a time in your food processor until they’re the size of couscous.
Next, bring half a cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan. After stirring in the cauliflower, turn off the heat and cover the pan. The pan sits covered for 10 minutes before you remove the lid and transfer the cauliflower to a cheesecloth.
Twist the cheesecloth into a pouch and use it to gently squeeze out most of the moisture. It’s important for the cauliflower to be dry.
Finally, place the cauliflower in a large mixing bowl and mix in an egg, Gruyere cheese, salt, and pepper for a lovely blend of flavors. I flavored the crusts with aged gruyere cheese. Aged cheeses are supposed to have a lower lactose content than lesser aged varieties.
The end result is a grainy, easy to manage batter that is ready to be shaped into circles that will fit perfectly in the bottom and on the top of each pot pie. Yes, I put the cauliflower on the top and the bottom. My family loved the top crust so much that we had to have double. 😉
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, brush with oil, shape the circles of batter right on the oiled paper, and bake them until golden.
While they’re in the oven, you can make your creamy chicken and veggie filling.
First, season bite size pieces of chicken with salt. Then simmer in chicken stock in a saucepan for ten minutes. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon to a dish and set aside. Skim the fat from the stock with a spoon and pour stock into a bowl and set aside. If you have leftover chicken in your fridge, you can skip this step and just cut up your leftover chicken into bite size pieces. You will still need stock for the cream sauce.
For the cream sauce, add two tablespoons of butter to the same saucepan. Then add the flour and whisk continuously for about one minute until it forms a pale paste (this is referred to as the roux). The roux will be the thickener for your creamy sauce. Remove from the heat and add the stock back in and whisk until smooth. Then whisk in the milk. Turn the stove back on and bring the mixture to a simmer. Continue whisking as the sauce thickens for another minute.
Add the chicken back in along with sherry, fresh lemon juice, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Set aside.
Finally, heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet. Add sliced carrots and minced onion and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir into chicken mixture. Add peas and stir again.
By now your cauliflower crusts should be finished baking. Using a spatula, gently place one baked cauliflower crust on the bottom of each ramekin. Fill with your luscious chicken mixture and top with another cauliflower crust.
Are these pictures making you hungry yet?
Finally, beat an egg in a small bowl with a whisk. Brush each cauliflower top with beaten egg for a golden glaze and score each top with a sharp knife for ventilation. Bake for 20 minutes until bubbly.
And they’re ready to be eaten! Grab a spoon, dig in through the cauliflower crust to the piping hot saucy filling underneath, and eat until you discover the ultimate surprise: more cauliflower crust on the bottom.
This recipe serves two, but it can easily be doubled for a family of four. Although it takes a tiny bit longer to prepare than some of my other recipes, the time is absolutely worth it. This is the best kind of comfort food: it’s hearty, satisfying, and nutritious. And it’s fun to eat too as everyone gets their own individual pie.
Most of all, I love that chicken pot pie is back on the menu for us gluten free folks.
Enjoy, friends! Have a happy and healthy week!
If you enjoy this recipe, you might also enjoy my ebook One-Pan Meals that has easy and delicious recipes for you to try using just one pan so you won’t have to spend hours cleaning dishes.
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- For cauliflower crusts:
- 1 small head cauliflower, cut into small florets
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup aged gruyere cheese shredded
- 1 large egg, beaten
- ½ teaspoon salt
- pepper, to taste
- For filling:
- ½ pound chicken, cut into bite size pieces
- 1 cup gluten free chicken stock, homemade or store bought
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- ¼ cup Bob's all purpose gluten free flour
- ¾ cup whole milk or coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon Sherry, optional
- ⅛ teaspoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- dash of pepper
- dash of nutmeg
- ½ onion, diced
- 3 carrots, diced
- ½ cup frozen peas, defrosted
- 1 egg
- For the cauliflower crusts: Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush with olive oil.
- Pulse a few florets of cauliflower at a time in your food processor until the cauliflower pieces are the size of couscous, about 3 cups.
- Next bring ½ cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the cauliflower to the pan. Stir. Turn the heat off and cover the pan. Let the pan sit covered for 10 minutes.
- Then remove the lid. Transfer to a cheesecloth and twist cheesecloth into a pouch. Squeeze out as much of the moisture as possible, almost 1 cup of liquid. It is important for the cauliflower rice to be dry.
- Then place in a large mixing bowl and add egg, cheese, salt and pepper. Mix well.
- Divide into 4 sections on the oiled parchment paper. Shape into circles to fit each ramekin by placing the ramekin upside down like a cookie cutter. Bake for 10-15 minutes and set aside.
- For filling Season bite size pieces of chicken with salt. Then simmer in chicken stock in a saucepan for ten minutes.
- Remove chicken with a slotted spoon to a dish and set aside. Skim the fat from the stock with a spoon and pour stock into a bowl and set aside.
- Add two tablespoons of the butter to the same saucepan. Add flour and whisk continuously for about one minute to make a roux for your cream sauce.
- Remove from the heat and add stock back in.and whisk until smooth.
- Then whisk in the milk. Turn the stove back on and bring mixture to a simmer. Continue whisking as the sauce thickens for another minute.
- Add chicken back in along with sherry, fresh lemon juice, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Set aside.
- Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet. Add carrots and oinion and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir into chicken mixture. Add peas and stir again.
- Assemble pot pies: Place one cauliflower crust on the bottom of each 14 ounce ramekin. Fill with chicken mixture and top with a cauliflower crust.
- Beat an egg in a small bowl. Brush each cauliflower top with egg.
- Score each top with a sharp knife for ventilation.
- Bake for 20 minutes until bubbly.
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