Replace a regular old crust for crispy, golden tater tots in this creamy, comforting chicken pot pie for a unique dinner the whole family will love. Technique tip: If you are making this for kids, serve the hot sauce on the side.
Swap option: This pie can be dressed up in many different ways. Want to put an Asian spin on it? Add sriracha instead of regular hot sauce and replace the peas with frozen shelled edamame. Maybe add a little Tex-Mex flair? Add a couple of spoonfuls of chopped Hatch chiles to up the heat factor.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.2.
In a large saucepan, combine the shredded chicken, stock and water (the liquid should just cover the chicken) and bring the liquid to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and gently simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is warmed through. Transfer meat to a large bowl and set aside to cool slightly (leave the liquid in the saucepan).3.
Return the liquid in the saucepan to medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Boil until it has reduced to 2 cups, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface, about 20 minutes.4.
Bake the tater tots on a baking sheet until crisp, about 15 minutes; set aside. Keep the oven on.5.
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 4-5 minutes. Add the carrots, celery and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are tender, 9-10 minutes. Stir in the thyme and flour and cook, stirring continuously, for 1 minute more. Stir in the reduced stock and half-and-half, increase the heat to high to bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until thickened, 4-5 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the shredded chicken and the peas. Season the mixture with salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste.6.
Transfer the tater tots to a large bowl and wipe off the baking sheet. Place a 2-quart baking dish on the baking sheet and fill it with the chicken mixture. Arrange the tater tots in an even layer over the top, and then bake until the filling is bubbling and the tater tots are very crispy, 20-25 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.