Chicken pot pie: Leaping into the leap year with comfort food

While I’m prone to proclaiming spring and fall my favorite seasons, I must confess I have it bad for winter. What other months can you really double down on cozy? Couch camping sessions, pajama days, movie marathons, luxury throws and bowls of warm goodness are all reasons to applaud our colder months.  

(written for the Los Altos Town Crier)

Winter really hits its stride in February. Between animals casting shadows (or not), Lunar New Years, red carpets, football finales, and celebrations of love, the festivities of February are many. Every four years, our calendar’s quirky month brings with it an extra day for fun, Leap Day. Traditions around Feb.  29 range from women proposing marriage to their partners, to a special title for people born on Leap Day, leaplings.  

I’ll be marking this Leap Year with the pot pie of my dreams. A crème fraiche and tarragon sauce coated chicken breast and morel mushrooms in this indulgent, soul-warming meal. Covering the individual pies with puff pastry makes the dish worthy of an every-four-year dinner: leap year chicken, tarragon and morel pot pie. 

Life can tick away fast. Our busyness makes it seem that days are blurted out in rapid succession. Why not use this extra calendar day as a chance to take a breath. While Leap Day falls on a weekday this year, it is worth slowing down to make it special. This recipe can be made ahead of time and frozen but actually comes together rather quickly, making it weeknight-worthy. At my house, we’ll try to linger around our kitchen table by asking Leap Day-related questions, such as:  

What are your four favorite movies (songs, books, etc)? 

What is something you’d only want to do once every four years? 

And as luck would have it, this recipe feeds four. 


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 
  • 1-ounce dried morel mushrooms, such as Far West Fungi brand 
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth  
  • 1/2 cup mushroom broth 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon 
  • 1/2 cup crème fraiche 
  • 1 package frozen puffed pastry, thawed 
  • Salt and pepper 

Heat oven to 425F. Place chicken breast on a parchment-lined baking sheet, drizzle with one tablespoon olive oil, and season with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. When oven comes to temperature, roast chicken for 25 minutes. Once cooked, remove and let rest for five minutes before cutting chicken into bite-size cubes. 

While chicken cooks, get on with making the pot pie base. Rehydrate mushrooms according to package directions. When rehydrated, pour the resulting broth through a fine sieve and set aside one-half cup. Chop mushrooms and set aside. 

Heat butter in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. When butter is melted, add mushrooms and cook for 5-7 minutes. Then add salt, pepper, tarragon and broths and allow to simmer until reduced by half. Add crème fraiche and diced chicken. 

Ladel mixture into four oven-safe, single-serving bowls and cover with puff pastry, cutting off excess dough and adding a few cuts to the top. Brush with milk and scatter salt and pepper over the top. Bake in oven for 35 minutes (or until golden brown). Rest for five minutes before serving alongside a green salad.


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