1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (cut into cubes)
3-4 tablespoons ice water
1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
Fresh ground black pepper
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
4 cups whole milk
2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
10 sage leaves, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
6 sprigs of thyme
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten, for egg wash
For the crust:
In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt together. Add the cubed butter and rub between your fingers and mix with the flour mixture until the butter has formed flat round disks. Try and work quickly to ensure the butter stays cold. Sprinkle the water into the bowl and start to mix with a fork or lightly with your hands. Dump the dough out onto a work surface and flatten it with your hand gently, then fold it onto itself and flatten again. Do this several times until the dough starts to form. It should not be well mixed, but it will adhere when formed into a ball. Wrap dough in plastic and press gently on it with a rolling pin to ensure it forms. Chill for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
To make the filling:
Slide a large roasting pan into the oven to heat up for about 5 minutes, take it out and add a few tablespoons of olive oil, then slide back into the oven to heat for 30 more seconds. Add the onions, celery, carrots and garlic into the pan and season with salt and pepper. Stir the mixture then slide it back into the oven. Allow the vegetables to start softening, while keeping an eye on them and stirring when necessary. This should take about 10 minutes.
Once the vegetables are softened, add the chicken thighs to the pan and more oil if the mixture is starting to look a little dry. Roast the chicken, flipping when necessary, until it is evenly browned and almost cooked; about 10 minutes.
While the chicken is cooking, start the butternut squash by tossing the cubes with olive oil on a sheet pan. Season with salt and pepper. Put into the oven to roast until you can pierce them with a fork, stirring when necessary. This should take around 8-10 minutes. Once done, set aside.
Once the chicken is completed, remove the pan from the oven and put the vegetables and chicken aside. On the stove top or in the oven, put the 4 tablespoons of butter back into the roasting pan and allow it to melt. Once melted, add the flour and whisk together, cooking it until the flour taste is cooked out and the butter and flour have incorporated into a roux. This will take about 30 seconds to a minute. Slowly add the milk, while whisking, into the pan. Then add the sage, thyme and bay leaf. If you are working on stove top, whisk continuously until the mixture has thickened. If working out of the oven, keep an eye on the mixture and whisk every 30 seconds or so until it starts to thicken. Once thickened, remove from the oven and set aside.
Shred the chicken thighs with 2 forks or your hands. Then add the vegetables, chicken and roasted butternut squash back into the gravy. Remove the bay leaf and season the mixture to taste. This can be made up to 2 days in advance.
Add the chicken gravy mixture into a cast iron skillet. We make ours “family style” in a large 12-inch cast iron skillet. You can also make this in smaller cassoulets for individual pot pies. Fill the skillet about 3/4 inch up to the rim and set aside.
On a well-floured surface, roll dough into the shape of your skillet to about 1/4 inch thick. Leave enough room for an overhang of dough on the edge of the skillet. Place to dough over your filled skillet and roll the overhanging edges underneath the top layer to develop a “crust”. Brush the top of the pastry with egg wash and cut a few vents into the top.
Bake in the oven until the crust is golden and the filling is hot and bubbly. This will take about 20-25 minutes. Turn the skillet if needed and tent with foil if the top is browning too quickly. Serve hot!