Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie was what kicked this all off for me.  This summer after we moved in to our new apartment and I unwrapped all of our wedding gifts, which included every kitchen gadget I could ever dream of, I set out to cook and bake as much as possible.  I started with a recipe from Joy of Cooking, biscuits.  That same day I decided to actually make something.  The biscuits were delicious but I really wanted to cook something and Chicken Pot Pie sounded delicious!  It came out looking picture perfect.  I was amazed that I hadn’t messed it up somehow.  It was that confidence booster that led me to try other recipes and ultimately begin this blog.  Since that day I have made the Chicken Pot Pie several times. Twice for company and few times just for Marc and I.  It makes amazing leftovers- it reheats wonderfully.  I haven’t made it in awhile because I was afraid of overdoing it and getting sick of it.  But this last Friday it seemed like the perfect dinner after Marc had a long week at work.

There are quite a few steps involved in making the pie.  Cooking the chicken, creaming the chicken, the veggies and the pie crust.  But it is so worth it.  I usually save chicken from a large roasted chicken I made earlier in the week and use it for this recipe.  Or if you don’t have the time for that, a rotisserie chicken bought from the grocery store works nicely.  Recently, a cookbook that shall remain nameless suggested using alfredo sauce as the filling for chicken pot pie to save a step.  I almost threw up when I read that.  The filling is what makes or breaks the pie, my friend.  It is so worth it to make your creamed chicken from scratch.  And really, it doesn’t take more than ten minutes.  So here are the recipes and steps below. All of this comes from Joy of Cooking, a cookbook I continue to go back to time and time again.

Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

Leftover or store bought, precooked chicken breast is perfect here.

Prepare:

Creamed Chicken (see recipe below)

Prepare the dough for:

Pie Dough (see recipe below)

Set aside.  Position a rack in the upper third of the oven.  Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Grease a pie pan. Heat in a large skillet over medium-high heat:

2 tbsp. butter

Add and cook, stirring often, about 5 minutes:

1 medium onion, chopped
3 medium carrots, sliced
2 small celery ribs, sliced

Stir the vegetables into the creamed chicken, along with:

3/4 cups frozen peas, thawed
3 tbsp. minced parsely

Pour the mixture into the prepared dish. Roll out the pie dough on top of the dish and tuck the edges down in against the dish sides. Brush the top with:

2 tbsp. beaten egg

Bake until the sauce is bubbling and the topping is browned, 30 to 40 minutes.

Creamed Chicken Recipe

Melt in a large saucepan over medium-low heat:

4 tbsp. butter

Add and whisk until smooth:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat. Add:

1 1/2 cups milk or half and half

Whisk until smooth. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a simmer, whisking constantly. Remove the pan from heat, scrape the inside of the saucepan and which vigorously to break up any lumps. Return the pan to the heat and whisking, bring to a simmer and cook for 1 minute. Stir in:

cooked chicken

bring to a simmer and cook for 1 minute more. Remove from the heat and season to taste with:

fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper
grated or ground nutmeg

Pie Dough Recipe

I prefer to use my food processor to make my pie dough.  It makes the process of cutting in the butter and shortening much more hassle free.  For the ice water, make sure it is super cold by placing ice cubes in the bowl of water.  Pie crust is so temperamental when it comes to temperature.  Because of this, make sure also to chill your shortening.  This recipe make double the amount needed for Chicken Pot Pie, so freeze the other half for another time or just half the recipe.

Sift together:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt

Add:

6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1/4 chilled vegetable shortening

Cut half the shortening into the flour mixture until it has the consistency of cornmeal. Cut in the remaining half until it is pea-sized. Sprinkle the dough with:

6 tbsp. ice water

Blend the water gently into the dough until it just hold together. If necessary to hold the ingredients together, add:

1 tsp. to 1 tbsp. ice water

Divide the dough in half, shape each into a disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator or freeze for later use.

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Chicken Soup with Parsley Quick Drop Biscuits

Today was a lazy Sunday for the two of us and I could think of nothing better than  Chicken Soup for dinner.  It is delicious served with warm biscuits or matzoh balls. I chose Quick Drop Biscuits tonight.

Here is a recipe for chicken soup that I have improvised through trial and error over the past two years. It was inspired by the chicken soup that my father in law serves, but is not a replica. He seems to have a special touch with this dish, so I would never pretend to copy it. Instead it was an inspiration to create my own delicious chicken soup. One day, I will get him to teach me his secrets.

Chicken Soup Recipe
Heat in a large soup pot over medium-low heat:
3 tbsp. butter

Add and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are tender but not browned, 5-10 minutes:
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
1 medium celery rib, diced
1 large onion, diced

Stir in:
3 cups shredded cooked chicken, picked off a whole roasted or rotisserie chicken
1 parsnip, washed but unpeeled and cut into large chunks
2 celery ribs, sliced into medium pieces
2 carrots, washed but unpeeled and sliced into medium pieces
12 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade

Bring to boil, reduce the heat and simmer with the lid on for 35 minutes. Stir in:
1 whole bunch of curly parsley (not the flat leaf Italian variety), long stems removed
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

Return lid and simmer until parsley wilts, about 10 minutes.  Serve piping hot.  This soup is excellent as leftovers.  Just reheat and serve again and again.

Warm, doughy, flakey.  Bliss.  This biscuits are a favorite of my childhood.  My mom used to whip these up and serve them with butter and honey for breakfast, but these biscuits are for suitable for any meal and easy to make.  You  just plop them down on the pan, without the hassle of biscuit cutter.

“Quick Drop Biscuits” from The Joy of Cooking

Preheat the oven to 450 F.

Sift together into a large bowl:
1 3/4 cups all- purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Cut in, using a pastry blender or 2 knives, until the size of small peas:
4 to 6 tablespoons chilled butter or shortening

Make a well in the center. Add all at once:
1 cup milk
1 handful of coarsely chopped parsley*

Stir the dough 1 scant minute. Drop walnut size dabs of dough from a spoon onto an ungreased baking sheet and bake 12-15 minutes, or until lightly browned.

* The parsley is an addition that I made to this recipe to create a more savory flavor to go along with the chicken soup.

Today I ask you, the reader: What recipes do you love to cook at are inspired by your family members?