Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Chicken Pot Pie

A hot dinner is a wonderful thing but hard to accomplish when one is busy working and living the hectic American life. Here’s an easy recipe for a wonderful Chicken Pot Pie that I wanted to make this week with Val and Care. 

If you've never had Chicken Pot Pie, let me tell you about it. First the scent is velvet and savory, but with that inviting crisp fragrance of the toasted pastry.  Yum. When you spoon it onto the plate, the steam rises reveal all your favorite thing about a chicken dinner -- the chicken, your favorite vegetables and lots of hot gravy.

To start off, I spilled my container of flour all over the lazy susan and the floor. Skip this step.

I needed help
So, I had to bring in the cook reinforcemnts.  "Let us help you, Mom," Val and Care said kindly. We got busy and I explained the following to them as we worked:

If you roast a chicken on the weekend, or grill chicken, or buy one of those wonderful rotisserie chickens at the grocery store, while you are cleaning up from dinner prepare the Chicken Pot Pie. This idea came to me during the years when I had hungry teenagers at home. I would often return home with them at 5 and we were all ravenously hungry. By preparing during clean up the night before, dinner is nearly ready for the next day.

Reserve all the meat your family does not eat and cut it into bite sized pieces. (You can also cook chicken just for this recipe—cook 2 chicken breasts and a thigh for a meaty 3” pie, more if you want a bigger pie.)

my gravy had mushrooms, fresh dill, a bit of lemon juice and scallions in it
Cut the leftovers up and put them in a casserole dish.

Scatter the vegetables left from dinner or frozen vegetables over the chicken. Use green beans, edamame beans, peas and carrots and corn. You could also gourmet it up and use bits of asparagus and mushrooms. It’s up to you.

Next pour over this the leftover gravy from your roasted chicken. If you didn’t make gravy…
the vegetables should be cut in small pieces

1. Make some by using the drippings from the chicken:

a. put the drippings in a pan and heat. You’ll need about 4 tablespoons. The drippings are good for gravy because they have a lot of flavor from the cooked, browned juices of the chicken.

b. add ¼ C of flour and stir this into the drippings until it is a smooth paste. Add salt and pepper and cook this mixture (called a roux) until it is bubbly and fragrant—about 5 minutes.

c. add chicken broth or water to make a smooth consistency.

Note: always add the flour to the drippings (fat) and then add the liquid. This method prevents lumps.

d. cook the gravy about 5 minutes

2. If you don’t have drippings, brown ½ chopped onion in 4 tablespoons olive oil. Then follow the directions above

3. Use gravy purchased from the store. It comes in a jar and I’ve heard it is pretty good.

4. Use simple chicken broth for a low-fat alternative.

notice the puff pastry defrosting on the counter
Once you’ve poured the gravy or broth over the chicken and vegetables, cover the casserole dish tightly and refrigerate. The mixture will keep for a couple of days.

When you wish to eat this, take it from the refrigerator, turn the oven onto 400degrees F. and remove puff pastry from the freezer. Let this defrost a little (10 minutes ) on the counter until it is pliable.

Puff pastry made by Pepperidge Farm is milk free and delicious ( there are butter varieties available also). Each package contains two rectangular sheets. Cut the puff pastry to fit the pan. There is no need to seal the edges as puff pastry should float on top and puff. But if you want to, you may crimp the edges using the tines of a fork. Use the scraps to cut some little decorations with cookie cutters. Place these on top of the pastry. Brush the pastry with an egg wash (that is one egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon water). This will help it brown.

Now put the casserole into the oven and bake it for about 40 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.

Serve with a crisp salad and applesauce and you have a wonderful dinner in a short time with little effort.

Of course, you can use biscuit dough for the crust. It’s up to you, but puff pastry is delicious, elegant, can be stored in the freezer and used with the slightest effort. Best of all it will evoke praise for your skills as a cook!

Biscuit Dough:
1 and 1/2 Cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 Cup shortening
3/4 Cup milk  mixed with 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Mix flour, baking powder and salt. Cut fat into the flour using a pastry blender or two knives (or mix in the food processor).   Add the liquid.  The dough will be sticky.  Drop this onto the top of the prepared pot pie. The clumps of biscuit dough do not have to be touching. They will rise with baking and also sink down into the gravy in the most yummy way.  Bake 350 degrees for about 40 minutes until golden brown with bubbling gravy.
biscuit dough -- yummy!

Enjoy!







2 comments:

  1. Colleen just made this for us this weekend. I hadn't made it in a long time but it was so refreshing. It is funny that you posted about it when I was just thinking about it. Also, can you get rid of the security password thing on here?

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is so yummy! I love chicken pot pies! well I love meat veggie pies in general great use of leftovers.

    ReplyDelete