Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie

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This recipe is so good it has a cult following.  I have never been much of a fan of chicken pot pie but after reading the ingredients and the rave reviews I decided to give it a try.  I was not disappointed.

It all started at Costco last week when they were giving out samples of their chicken pot pie and I found myself circling the aisle and coming back for thirds.  If you have a large family or gathering, I highly recommend them.  Unfortunately they are enough for 8 to 10 people and not for a family of two.The crust is what takes it over the top.  Anyway, the idea stuck and I found myself thinking of chicken pot pie for the next couple of days.

One of the things that has always turned me off this classic comfort food is the celery and the green beans.  None here. Just peas, carrots and whole onions, a very classy combination.  The splash of sherry, a stroke of genius and not in the original recipe, is a natural.  I encourage you to add it.

 Do try to make the crust from scratch.  It's easy, even for me, and makes a big difference.  You can make it the day before and leave in the refrigerator overnight. I used 4 inch (or was it 5?) ramekins and had a small amount of the chicken mix left over for a mini one which I covered with the leftover dough pieces.  My daughter and I had two and froze two for another time.  Another time was the next night for neither one of us could stop thinking about it.


Is that her third martini???

If you are making everything in one day, give yourself plenty of time.  Plan on starting about 2 1/2 to 3 hours before serving for it really takes about an hour to make the dough (resting time is 30 minutes) and the filling, another hour to cook, (with you sipping cocktails), and a good half hour of rest so you don't burn your tongue. By the time I was finished (3 hours and umpteen vodkas on the rock later) I had to be dragged upstairs and put to bed.

 

 

Ingredients

  • 3 whole (6 split) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups yellow onions, chopped (2 onions)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sherry (optional)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups medium-diced carrots, blanched for 2 minutes
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas (2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves

For the pastry:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
  • Flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper




    Directions

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
    Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet and rub them with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cooked through. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove the meat from the bones and discard the skin. Cut the chicken into large dice. You will have 4 to 6 cups of cubed chicken. ( I used Costco's roast chicken)

    In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the bouillon cubes in the stock.

    In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce. Add the sherry if using. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and heavy cream. Add the cubed chicken, carrots, peas, onions and parsley. Mix well.

    For the pastry, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the shortening and butter and mix quickly with your fingers until each piece is coated with flour. Pulse 10 times, or until the fat is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water; process only enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together. Dump the dough out onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.



    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

    Divide the filling equally among 4 ovenproof bowls. Divide the dough into quarters and roll each piece into an 8-inch circle. Brush the outside edges of each bowl with the egg wash, then place the dough on top. Trim the circle to 1/2-inch larger than the top of the bowl. Crimp the dough to fold over the side, pressing it to make it stick. Brush the dough with egg wash and make 3 slits in the top. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper.

    Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.




    Recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa
    All  photos  Lindaraxa

    Sunday, February 26, 2012

    Flageolets For Easter

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    Flageolets...the caviar of beans and my favorite side dish to go with a roast leg of lamb. If you have never had them, you are in for a treat.  I warn you, though, they can be rather expensive but well worth the extra $$$.

    Flageolets are tiny, tender French bush type beans that are very popular in French cooking.The flageolet has an inedible green pod about 3-inch long and small, light-green, kidney-shaped seeds. Fresh flageolets are occasionally available in the summer. They range from creamy white to light green. Flageolets are removed from the pod when tender and just maturing. This bean of French origin is grown in the fertile soil of California. Its versatile flavor compliments lamb, as well as fish and chicken. If you can't find them, substitute navy beans instead.*

    Flageolets can be found at Whole Foods and gourmet stores.

     


     This recipe is adapted from Bouchon with a few shortcuts here and there.  I suggest serving them as an accompaniment to Provencal Leg of Lamb and adding the drippings from the lamb at the end. It eliminates many hours of making the lamb jus in the original recipe.  In case you want to go through the ordeal, I have included a link below.





    Ingredients:
      

    2 cups flageolet beans, picked over for stones, soaked at room temperature in 8 cups of water for 24 hours*
    Sachet (see below)
    1 large onion, peeled and quartered
    1 medium leek, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise
    1 large carrot, peeled and halved
    8 tablespoons unsalted butter
    2 tablespoons minced shallots
    16 cloves Garlic Confit (recipe follows)
    1 tablespoon minced thyme
    kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
    2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
    3/4 cup Lamb Jus ( here)*See below


      • Make the Sachet: one 7 inch square piece of cheesecloth; 1 head of garlic, split horizontally in half; 1 bunch of thyme (1/4 ounce); 2 bay leaves; 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns. Place it all in the cheesecloth and tie with twine.
      •  Make the Garlic Confit (See Below)

      Place the sachet along with the onion, leek, carrot and drained flageolets in a pot and cover with 3-4 inches of water. Bring to a boil on high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. Stir occasionally and add boiling water if it ever reduced lower than 2 inches above the beans. 

      Make the Garlic Confit* if you have not done so

      Remove and discard the sachet and vegetables and cook the beans for another 1 and a half to 2 hours, or until very tender. Pour the beans into a container along with the liquid and let it cool completely. When ready to serve, drain the beans.

      Add the butter to a large heavy pan on high heat. When the butter is a deep rich brown, remove from heat and stir in garlic confit, shallots, and thyme. Return to medium heat and add the beans and lamb jus*.

      *Making the lamb jus as per his intructions will make you head for the exits.  What I do is take the juices from the lamb after roasting and while it is resting and add to the beans. Stir, bring to a boil and cook for a couple of minutes.

      Serve by itself or with a leg of lamb





      Garlic Confit

      Ingredients:

      1 cup peeled garlic cloves  
      2 cups canola oil.

      Cut off the root ends of the garlic cloves and discard. Place the cloves small pan and add enough oil to cover them by about one inch. The garlic should all be submerged in oil. Place the saucepan over low-medium heat (use a diffuser if you have gas stove and some extra attention if you have an electric stove).

      The garlic should cook gently- small bubbles that do not break at the surface. Adjust the heat if needed and stir about every 5 minutes for a total of 40 minutes or until the garlic is completely tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Allow to cool in the oil and store in an airtight container

      This holds in your refrigerator if covered in oil up to one month. It is a fantastic building block for salad dressings, mashed potatoes, marinades, or as a nice simple spread on a baguette.


      *the shortcut is to boil them for 1 minute in 8 cups of water. Turn off heat and let them sit for 1 hour.  Rinse in cold water and proceed with the recipe.

      Recipe adapted from Bouchon
      Photos Google



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