Homemade Hot Pockets

I'm not sure how Whitney came across this recipe for chicken and kale hand pies from Martha Stewart, but I'm glad she did. This is the most delicious thing I've ever had with kale. That's not so much a statement about how the kale was prepared (although it might hint at my mild distaste for it in general) as it is the wonderful cheesy pie crust and filling it was mixed with. This dish is pretty much a chicken pot pie (already a favorite), but with two things that make it ten times better. First is the addition of cheese to the crust, because cheese makes everything better. More importantly is the form factor; I loved having the filling wrapped into the crust, which made it easy to eat and provided plenty of crust per bite (and the crust stayed crisp and flaky as it wasn't soaked in the filling).

Dough coming together

Ready to chill

Prepping the filling

Master hand pie craftsman at work

Ready to bake

Perfectly done hand pie

Martha Stewart's Chicken & Kale Hand Pies with Cheddar Crust
Flaky Pie Dough, recipe doubled and 1 cup shredded cheddar added with flour, or store-bought
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 leek (white and light-green parts only), halved lengthwise, cut crosswise 1/4 inch thick, and rinsed well
1 small bunch black (Tuscan) kale, tough stems removed, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, leaves
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup cooked chicken, torn into bite-size pieces (about 5 ounces)
1 large egg, lightly beaten

   Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Divide dough in half. On a floured sheet of parchment paper, roll out one half to a 14-inch round. With a knife or biscuit cutter, cut out six 4 1/4-inch circles (rerolling dough once if necessary) and transfer, on parchment, to a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, cutting out six (larger) 4 1/2-inch rounds. Chill rounds on sheet until ready to use.
   In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high. Add leek and cook, stirring, until soft, 3 minutes. Add kale and thyme, season with salt and pepper, and cook until kale wilts, 3 minutes. Sprinkle flour over mixture and stir to combine. Add broth and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring often, until mixture thickens, 2 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl, season with salt and pepper, and stir in chicken. Let cool slightly.
   Place a heaping 1/4 cup chicken mixture on each of the smaller dough rounds, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Brush edges with egg and top with larger dough rounds; using fingers, press edges firmly to seal. Cut a small vent in each pie. Bake until browned and crisp, 30 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through. Let cool slightly on sheets on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Martha Stewart's Flake Pie Dough
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup ice water

   In a food processor, pulse flour and salt to combine. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons ice water; pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed (if necessary, add up to 2 tablespoons more water, 1 tablespoon at a time). Form dough into a 1-inch-thick rectangle, wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour (or up to 3 days).

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