1 to 2 packages frozen puff pastry, best quality such as Dufour or Pepperidge Farm, thawed (see note)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3 stalks celery, diced
1 cup frozen pearl onions (no need to defrost)
3 carrots, sliced into ¼-inch rounds
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling the pastry
2-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup Cognac or brandy (okay to replace with more chicken broth if avoiding alcohol)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (or a combination thyme, rosemary and sage), plus a few thyme springs for serving
3-4 cups shredded cooked chicken, from 1 rotisserie chicken
1 cup frozen peas (no need to defrost)
- NOTE: For this recipe, you'll need 4 to 6 oven-safe (to 425°F) soup bowls. For larger portions, use bowls with an 18 to 20-oz capacity; for smaller portions, use bowls with a 12 to 14-oz capacity. If making 4 servings, one (14-oz) package of puff pastry will suffice. However, if making 6 servings, you'll need another package.
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy clean-up.
- Dust a clean, dry work surface with flour and place the puff pastry over top. Sprinkle the pastry with flour and roll to about 1/8-inch thick, smoothing the creases with the rolling pin at the same time. (Depending on the brand of puff pastry you buy, you may not need to roll it out that much.) Using a sharp knife, kitchen shears, or a pizza cutter, cut out 4 circles about 2 inches larger than the diameter of your soup bowls. (Alternatively, cut out 6 circles if making smaller portions.) Place the dough rounds on the foil-lined baking sheet and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F and set an oven rack to the center position.
- To make the filling: In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the yellow onion, garlic, celery, pearl onions, and carrots. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are just cooked, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes. Add the broth, cognac, salt, and white pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring with a wooden spoon and scraping the bottom and corners of the pan to incorporate the flour. Simmer until thickened, a few minutes. Off the heat, stir in the heavy cream, thyme, chicken, and peas. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. (Note that the broth will taste a little boozy at this point. That's okay - the cognac will cook off in the oven.)
- Ladle the filling into 4 large or 6 small oven-safe soup bowls. The filling should come up no more than three-quarters of the way to the top of the bowls. Do not overfill.
- Beat the egg with 1 tablespoon of water.
- Remove the pastry rounds from the refrigerator. Brush the outside edges of each bowl with the egg wash.
- Place the cold dough rounds over the bowls, pressing firmly around the edges so that the dough adheres. Transfer the bowls to the foil-lined baking sheet. Brush the dough with the egg wash. Using a sharp knife, make a ½-inch slit in the top of each pie. Place the bowls on the foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the pastry is a rich golden brown. Let cool for about 10 minutes, then use a wide spatula to carefully transfer the hot bowls to serving plates. Sprinkle a few fresh thyme sprigs over top of the bowls and serve.
- MAKE AHEAD: The pies may be assembled and refrigerated up to a day ahead of time. Brush the top of the dough with egg wash before baking.
- Note: Nutritional information calculated using 1 package of puff pastry and 3 1/2 cups of chicken.