Photo by Jennifer Davick

Putting this classic comfort food in miniature skillets raises it to a level fit for company. Make sure the filling is hot and the pastry is cold when it goes in the oven.

  • ¾ pound carrots
  • 2 celery ribs
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
  • ¾ teaspoon salt, divided
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups chopped roasted or rotisserie chicken
  • 1½ cups sweet peas
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped, plus sprigs for garnish
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ (17.3 ounce) package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed but cold

Preheat oven to 400°. Cut carrots and celery into ½-inch-thick slices. Cut onion into quarters. Arrange on a jelly-roll pan.

Toss with olive oil; sprinkle with ½ teaspoon pepper and ¼ teaspoon salt. Bake at 400° for 55 minutes or until tender and lightly browned.

Arrange 12 lightly greased 3½-inch castiron skillets on an aluminum-foil-lined baking sheet. (6-ounce oven proof ramekins can also be used.)

Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over low heat; whisk in flour until smooth. Cook 1 minute, whisking constantly. Gradually whisk in chicken broth; cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, 5 minutes or until mixture is slightly thickened.

Cut roasted onion into bite-size pieces and add to Dutch oven. Stir roasted carrots and celery, chicken, peas, thyme and remaining ½ teaspoon pepper and ½ teaspoon salt into broth mixture. Cook, stirring often, 10 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Spoon a scant ½ cup of hot filling into each skillet.

Whisk together egg and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl. Roll puff pastry sheet into a 16- x 12-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Cut puff pastry into 12 (approximately 4-inch) squares and lay 1 atop each skillet. Brush pastry with egg mixture, and cut slits in tops.

Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. Garnish, if desired. Makes: 12 appetizer servings

Chef’s Note: For an entrée version, use a 13- x 9-inch casserole dish. Roll puff pastry to a 15- x 12-inch rectangle. Bake at 400° for 40 minutes. Two large cast-iron skillets can also be used. Roll puff pastry slightly larger than skillet diameter.

Recipe adapted from Around the Southern Table by Rebecca Lang (Oxmoor House, 2012).

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