Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie

Okay, I know it's been a long time since I last posted, but hopefully this amazing recipe will make up for my long absence. As a bonus, there'll be a whole lot of recipes to follow in the days to come. (Even though I've been blog-silent, we have indeed been cooking, complete with photo documentation.)

This is another recipe from a Penzeys catalog. We've made it two different ways--with puff pastry and with biscuit topping. I know puff pastry might scare some of you away from a calorie standpoint, but calorie-wise, these two come out about even, assuming you only do a top crust with each. However, they do have different features, which I'll point out in the comments.

with puff pastry

with biscuit topping

2 c. cooked, diced chicken
1/4 t. (or so) dried rosemary*
1/4 t. (or so) dried thyme*
1/4 t. (or so) poultry seasoning*
1/4 t. (or so) rubbed sage*
1/4 t. (or so) celery seed*
1/4 t. (or so) herbes de provence*
1/4 t. (or so) curry powder
Ground cayenne pepper, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Puff pastry (1 sheet) or biscuit topping (see recipe below)
Olive oil (a tablespoon or so)
2 stalks celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 onion, diced
1 c. potatoes, somewhat finely diced
One 13-oz. can coconut milk
2 t. chicken base (I use Better than Bouillon)
2 T. flour (to thicken)
1-2 c. frozen mixed vegetables, or a mixture of fresh veggies if it's summertime
1/2 to 1 c. water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. If you don't have 2 c. cooked and diced chicken, cook and dice some before proceeding. Mix together all the herbs/spices and set aside. If using puff pastry, take it out of the freezer to thaw. Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a stock pot over medium heat. Add the celery, carrot, onion, and potatoes. Cook until softened, 4-5 min. Stir in the coconut milk and the chicken base, and cook until heated through--about 2 min. Add the flour. Cook, stirring, until the gravy is fairly thick. Add the pre-mixed herbs/spices, along with the cooked chicken and the frozen veggies. Stir until heated through. Add water to thin the gravy to the desired consistency. Then pour the mixture into the greased baking dish. If using biscuit topping, proceed to the recipe below. If using puff pastry, press/roll it out until it's big enough to cover the baking dish. Drape it over the dish, then pinch it around the edges of the dish to seal in the filling. Cut a few slits in the top of the puff pastry, and bake at 375 degrees F for 50-60 minutes, until the top is nicely browned.

*You don't absolutely have to use all of these if you don't have them on hand. (Case-in-point: I didn't have any celery seed, and the pie still turned out great.) Just use this list as a general guideline.

Biscuit-Topping Ingredients (if not using puff pastry):
1 3/4 c. flour (plus some extra for rolling out the topping)
1 t. salt
1 T. baking powder
4 T. butter, softened
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 t. granulated garlic powder
1 t. crumbled dried rosemary (optional)
3/4 c. milk
1 egg yolk mixed with 1 T. water (optional)

Sift flour, salt, and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the butter, spices, and milk. Stir well. Dust your rolling surface and a rolling pin with flour, then roll out the topping gently and evenly, turning twice. Make sure it's big enough to cover the baking dish. Drape it over the dish and seal the edges with a fork. Cut a few slits in the crust. Brush with the egg-yolk mixture if you want a deep golden crust. Bake at 375 degrees F for 50-60 minutes, until the top is nicely browned.

This is delicious. I never would have thought to use coconut milk in a pot pie, but it's an amazing touch, as is the spice mixture. My mouth is watering just thinking about this meal. The puff-pastry version was wonderfully buttery and flaky. The biscuit-topping version had a pleasant crunchiness, with a nice rosemary flavor boost. Either way you make it, you're in for a treat.

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