Monday, October 26, 2009

Autumn Warmth in a Flaky Crust...

What's a perfect, hot and comforting remedy for rainy weather? Homemade Individual Chicken Pot Pies!Buttery, flaky crust….rich, chickeny gravy, hearty chucks of chicken and tender vegetables…Mmmm….It’s easy and beautiful – but most of all – it’s delicious!

Here’s how to do it!
Get the crust dough made first - following your favorite recipe for a two-crust pie (as I’ve said before, I do what Betty Crocker says!). I make sure my butter is chopped straight from the freezer and I draw my tablespoons of water from a glass of ice cold water.
A few seconds in the food processor gives me fine-as-sand dough that just holds together. When mixing by hand with a pastry blender, you may have pebble-size pieces of butter – that’s fine too. But if you can use a food processor, the butter has no time to get warm and it makes a wonderfully flaky crust!
Once blended, shape the dough into a disk, then wrap it up and chill it in the fridge till it’s time to roll it out.
Next, I prepped all my other components. I chopped about ½ of a medium onion, ¾ of a green pepper, used the last quarter of a bag of frozen peas-n-carrots and chopped about a quarter cup of parsley. All tolled, veggies measured about 2 or 2 ½ cups worth. Use your favorites!
Then, I gathered other herbs and aromatics that were pleasing to my nose right then and there – Garlic powder, celery seed, cayenne, basil, coriander, big black pepper, the remainder of a spice blend from Pampered Chef and of course, chicken broth.
First I heated a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and added 2 breast worth of chicken, cut while raw into a half-inch dice. I then added salt, pepper and garlic powder and cooked it till almost all the pink was gone.
Next, I added the veggies….
…..and the herbs. I eyeballed all of these – but I’d guess that there was about 12 – ¾ teaspoon of each – and I stirred to combine everything well, then let this mixture heat through and cook until the veggies were just tender.
Meanwhile, I made a rue. I used about 2-3 tablespoons butter, melted it, then added approx. ¼ cup flour. Make sure you stir this well and heat it to bubbling. You want to cook out the taste of the flour, but you don’t want the rue to brown. Once the rue is done, remove it from the heat till ready to use.
After your rue is done and the veggies have cooked with the chicken for about 5 minutes, add the chicken broth - approx 2 to 2 ½ cups. Heat till almost boiling….
…then add in the rue. Stir constantly and heat to boiling. You want a thick-ish sauce and it will not reach it’s full thickness until it boils.
The boiling had just begun here – kinda hard to see. But once it does boil, it turns rich and thick and wonderful!
Lastly, add the chopped parsley and stir to combine. Remove the pan from the heat and get your ramekins ready to go!
I sprayed my ramekins with Pam before filling each to within about a quarter inch from the top.
After all are filled, wipe the rims with a cloth or paper towel.
Next, flour a rolling mat or your clean counter top and roll out the chilled pie dough to approx 1/8 inch thickness.
I placed a ramekin atop the dough, then used a paring knife to cut a circle ¾ inch larger than the circumference of the ramekin.
I made a wash of one egg beaten with one tablespoon of water and wetted the rim of the ramekin.
Using a small off-set spatula, I lifted the circle of dough from the rolling mat….
…and placed it on top if the egg-rimmed ramekin.
Then, I crimped the dough as I pushed down slightly, sealing the dough to the rim of the ramekin.
Then, cut two slits in the top so steam could escape during baking.
Aren’t they so cute?! I was so proud of them!
Lastly, I brushed each one with the leftover egg wash. The pot pies can now be refrigerated until you’re ready to bake them, or they can go straight to the oven. I chilled mine till dine time, but then baked then at 350-degrees for approx 45-50 minutes. I checked them every ten minutes or so after 25 minutes as I wanted to make sure the crusts were golden – not too pale, not too brown.
And – Voila!!!
The crust was tender, flaky and buttery. Inside, the sauce was flavorful, the chicken and veggies tender, hot and delicious!

I froze three for a later dinner and can’t wait to have them again. These were easy and are so pleasing to the eye, they’d be great for a small dinner party –each guest getting their own beautifully golden-crowned pot-o-pie. Served with a seasonal fruit salad it was a fabulous hot meal on a cold, rainy autumn day!
Recipe? Well, there really isn't one! This came out of my head. Suffice it to say that you make and chill pie crust dough, then, mix chopped veggies of your choice with diced, raw chicken and cook through in a little olive oil over medium heat with herbs and spices to your taste. Pour in chicken broth and add a rue to thicken. Spoon mixture into ramekins (or one big casserole),roll out rounds of dough to fit top of baking vessel(s) and bake until heated through and golden brown :-)

1 comment:

Lynn5346 said...

can u pls pls pls post the full recipe for the chicken pot pie, along with the pie crust? pretty pls? it looks really delicious!