It's chicken pot pie, only smaller, easier, faster and more party-friendly.
I took this classic winter comfort food and reimagined it as a holiday party appetizer. Because when facing down party after party of relatives and dullards (you know who I'm talking about), a bite or two of comfort can help get you through the night.
To keep this simple, I started by using preformed pastry shells made from phyllo dough. These are widely available in the grocer's freezer section. And because they are precooked, all you need to do is fill and heat them.
About that filling. Because the cups are small, the filling needs to be simple. So I stuck with carrots, peas and chicken. For the creamy base, I opted for cream cheese (use low-fat if you prefer) thinned with just a bit of egg white.
The result is deliciously creamy and totally do-ahead. To get a jump on things, make the filling up to a day in advance and refrigerate. The cups can be filled a few hours before the party, then quickly popped in and out of the oven as needed (bake them a dozen or so at a time so you always have a fresh batch coming).
Chicken Pot Pie Party Appetizers
If you like, these miniature pot pies can be topped with a layer of puff pastry. To prepare the tops, thaw a sheet of prepared frozen puff pastry according to package directions. Use a 1-inch round cookie cutter to cut circles, then bake them on a baking sheet at 350 F for 15 minutes. Set one baked round over each fully baked pot pie just before serving.
Start to finish: 25 minutes. Makes 45 appetizers
3 packages (each package contains 15 cups) frozen phyllo cups
8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
2 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 cup petite peas
1 carrot, finely grated
2 cups finely chopped cooked chicken
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Heat the oven to 350 F. Arrange the phyllo cups over 1 rimmed baking sheet (or several baking sheets if you want to bake them in batches).
In a medium bowl, whisk together the cream cheese, egg whites, thyme, paprika, salt and pepper. Add the peas, carrots and chicken, mixing well. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of the filling into each cup, then sprinkle with Parmesan.
Bake for 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
Nutrition information per piece (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 50 calories; 30 calories from fat (56 percent of total calories); 3 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 10 mg cholesterol; 3 g carbohydrate; 3 g protein; 0 g fiber; 70 mg sodium.