There are a fair number of steps to this recipe. It is a restaurant dish, after all. Like most restaurant dishes, though, much can be made ahead and assembled as you need it. If you want to bake these, do so at 400℉ for about 30 minutes, flipping them before the last 10 minutes. (Frankly, they’re a lot better fried. I’ve tried both ways.) If you don’t have gochugaru, use another mild, coarse pepper, like Aleppo. Or use cayenne but a lot less of it. If you don’t have access to Totole (available at most Asian markets and online), skip it or use chicken stock. If you don’t have access to frozen roti/paratha, put all the filling in a big casserole and top with biscuit dough. Pot pie democracy!
- In a large container, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, tarragon, buttermilk, lemon juice, gochugaru, creole seasoning, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings as you like.
- Preheat the oven to 375℉.
- Coarsely chop 1 onion, 1 unpeeled carrot and 2 celery ribs. Chop the remaining onion, peeled carrot and 2 celery ribs into small dice. (You’re going to use each of these vegetable mixtures separately, so do not combine the two.)
- Cut around the chicken’s backbone with either a knife or kitchen scissors. Do not remove the backbone—you merely want it loose so it’s easier to flatten the chicken by pressing on it hard. Salt and pepper the chicken heavily, inside and out.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil. When the oil is hot, add the chicken. Let cook without moving until the skin touching the skillet browns, about 5 minutes. Flip the chicken over and cook until the other side is brown, about 5 more minutes. Don’t worry if the skin sticks. You’re going to be removing the skin eventually.
- Move the chicken to a large roasting pan. Add the coarsely chopped vegetables to the skillet and cook, scraping up the tasty browned chicken bits, for a couple minutes. Add a cup of water to the pan and scrape some more. Add the skillet’s contents and the bay leaves, 5 thyme sprigs, 2 rosemary sprigs, and 2 tablespoons Totole to the roasting pan and enough water to come halfway up the sides of the chicken. It should require about 5 more cups of water. Cover the pan’s contents first with parchment paper, pressing the paper down so it touches as much of the pan’s contents as possible. Then cover the pan itself with aluminum foil. Cook for an hour and a half.
- Meanwhile, heat the same skillet with the remaining tablespoon oil over medium-low heat. Add the diced vegetables and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are mostly tender. It’s fine if the carrots have a bit of crunch.
- Then make the roux: Heat the chicken fat in a small saucepan set over medium heat until quite hot. Add the flour and begin whisking immediately. Continue whisking until the flour smell dissipates and the roux begins to turn barely golden. If it seems thin, add a bit more flour and cook again until the flour smell dissipates. Put the saucepan in the fridge or freezer to cool down.
- Remove the roasting pan from the oven and move the chicken to a plate. Carefully pour the cooking liquid through a strainer and discard the vegetable solids. Transfer the strained cooking liquid to a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the liquid is reduced by half, which should be about 2 or so cups.
- While the liquid is still boiling, add the chopped thyme and rosemary and about 3 tablespoons roux. Whisk until the roux is incorporated. Use a soup spoon to test the consistency of the thickened gravy. It shouldn’t simply coat the back of the spoon; it should cling, like queso clings to a tortilla chip. If the gravy isn’t thick enough to cling, add roux in stages until the correct consistency happens. (The gravy needs to be this thick to prevent it from oozing all over when making the pies. Not the end of the word, but not ideal either.)
- Discard the chicken skin and begin picking the meat from the chicken and adding the meat to a large mixing bowl. Add the sauteed diced vegetables and the thickened gravy to the bowl and mix to combine. Season to taste with Crystal hot sauce (about 1 tablespoon), Sriracha (about 2 tablespoons) and gochugaru (about 1 teaspoon). Add salt and sherry vinegar, as needed. The filling should taste spicy-warm, bright, and pleasantly salty. If you have the time, let the filling chill in the fridge for a few hours before making the pies. It helps keep the gravy firm and the pies easier to fill. The filling keeps for two days in the fridge and much longer in the freezer. Don’t feel obligated to make all 15 pot pies at once.
- Heat a deep-fryer or a skillet filled with oil to 350℉. Remove no more 5 roti from the freezer in one stretch. Let the roti thaw a bit at room temperature until they’re mostly pliable, about 7 minutes. Scoop ⅓ cup filling onto one half of a circle and gently fold the other half over to make a half-moon shape. Using a fork, crimp the edges to seal the dough. Fry the pot pies in batches, cooking them until golden brown, about 9 minutes in a deep-fryer. If you’re pan-frying them, flip them every two minutes or so.
- Place the fried pies onto a paper-towel-lined plate. Sprinkle the pies with some salt, then grab some Totole with your fingers. Pulverize it by rubbing it between your fingers and dust it over the pies. Serve with about ¼ cup sauce for each pie. Then, as Mason Hereford said when he gave me the recipe, “Eat crap and die. Then enjoy your pot pie.”
Scott Hocker is a writer, editor, recipe developer, cookbook author, and content and editorial consultant. He has worked in magazines, kitchens, newsletters, restaurants and a bunch of other environments he can’t remember right now. He has also been the editor in chief of both liquor.com and Tasting Table.