Mini Chicken Tikka Masala Pot Pies

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Today is pi(e) day, a day when food bloggers and all alike profess their love for the mathematical constant that is pi and for the dynamic food that is pie!

As a terribly nerdy kid, I really had fun memorizing digits of pi. At one point, I was able to recite twenty. Since then, my memory decided that the last fourteen weren’t as important as other numbers, like my cell phone, so all I have now is 3.14159. Karl, on the other hand, can still recite 50… which is cool, but can he make mini chicken tikka masala pot pies?! Probably. But I came up with the idea.

I have been saving this recipe for this special day, and I am so excited I finally get to share it with you all! I adapted the chicken tikka masala recipe from Bon Appetit. I was hoping to create a naan-like crust, but when I realized that was not going to happen for me, I went with my basic crust recipe and jazzed it up with some garlic and parsley. These pot pies were so much fun to make and even more fun to eat!

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Mini Chicken Tikka Masala Pot Pies
Serves: 6
For the crust:
  • 3¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley or dried parsley flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cup unsalted butter, chilled and diced
  • ¾ cup cold water
For the filling:
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ heaping tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • ½ heaping tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoons ground cumin
  • ½ cup whole-milk yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 pound chicken breasts, sliced into long strips, about 1 inch wide
  • 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 cardamom pods, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ tablespoon sugar
  • 14 ounces whole peeled tomatoes (in a can)
  • 1½ tablespoons all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro
For assembly:
  • 1 egg, whisked
For the crust:
  1. In a food processor, combine the flour, garlic, parsley, and salt.
  2. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is about pea-sized.
  3. Slowly add the water and pulse until the dough forms into a ball.
  4. Wrap the dough in plastic warp and refrigerate for at least one hour.
For the filling:
  1. In a small bowl, mix together garlic, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, and cumin, then set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk yogurt, 1 teaspoon salt, and half of the spice mixture. Add chicken, coat it with the mixture, then cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerator for 1 hour.
  3. In a dutch oven or large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, tomato paste, cardamom pods, crushed red pepper flakes, and sugar. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the tomato paste darkens and the onions soften. Add the remaining spice mixture, and cook for another 4 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes with its juices, carefully crushing them with your hands as you add them to the pot. Slowly add the sifted flour (to prevent the flour from clumping: add a little bit at a time and stir into the sauce, then add a little more and stir again). Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 8-10 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Stir often.
  5. Add 1 teaspoon salt, cream, and chopped cilantro. Simmer and stir every few minutes for 35 minutes.
  6. Move the oven rack to the top row, then preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil, then place the chicken on the baking sheet. Broil for 10 minutes, until the chicken begins to blacken.
  7. Allow the chicken to cool down slightly, then slice into bite-size pieces. Add the chicken to the sauce, and cook for another 10 minutes.
To assemble:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Lightly flour a clean work surface and a rolling pin. Lightly flour the pie crust dough and roll out with a rolling pin. Line 6 3.5 inch-ramekins (or a large muffin pan) with crust, leaving some dough hanging over the edges.
  3. Fill the ramekins with the chicken tikka masala filling, then cover with a smaller (4-inch) circle on top. Fold the the edges of the crust over and crimp the edges. Slowly poke the tops with a fork.
  4. Brush the egg wash over the tops of the pies. Bake on a baking sheet for 35-40 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Allow them pies to cool for 10-15 minutes, then serve.

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