Monday, December 2, 2013

Chicken Pot Pie

The finished product! Doesn't it look delicious?

One of my goals in cooking for me and my husband is to make sure I use enough vegetables.  My husband doesn't like vegetables or at least that is what he is always telling me.  So my challenge is to get him to eat vegetables in a way that he doesn't realize he is eating as much as he does.  The good part is that he is always willing to try something at least once, which makes experimenting with new recipes easier than it could be.  There are a number of recipes I can now get him to eat that don’t include meat, which at times I find too heavy.  This recipe from Ad Hoc at Home, while a little time consuming was a winner as far as including aromatic vegetables, but also in getting them to go along well with some meat.

Before the sauce is added...

This recipe is not for the faint-hearted because I have never had all four of my burners working at the same time for just one recipe.  However, it was only for a short period of time and the job was done - to get flavor into raw vegetables without overcooking them.  Also, because it was a pot pie, there is of course a part of the recipe in which you have to make dough.  I have never liked working with dough and used to avoid recipes with them at all cost.  I never bought store-made dough as I didn't want to give in to a partially homemade dish.  In the past five years though, I have not only begun working with dough, but have also mastered the basic dough recipe.  As much as I dislike rolling out dough, it likes me and without fail the crust (or cookies) turn out great.

Bechamel Sauce for the pot pie.

Chicken Pot Pie
Pie Crust:
2.5 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
10 ounces unsalted butter, cold
About 5 tablespoons cold water

Combine flour and salt in a bowl.  Add the butter and use your hands to mix into pea-sized lumps.  Add the 5 tablespoons water until it forms a ball.  Add more as needed for the flour mixture to come together.  Divide dough into two (one should be slightly smaller as the top will need less than the bottom crust).  Refrigerate for about an hour.  Roll out dough into a round about 13-14 inch bottom for a 9 inch pie plate.  Add flour as needed, but don't incorporate too much.  Put the first piece into the bottom of the pie plate and roll out the second for the top.  Refrigerate while ingredients are cooking.

1 cup red potatoes cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup carrots cut into 1/2 pieces
1 small onion cut into 1/2 pieces
3 bay leaves
3 thyme springs
24 peppercorns (black preferably)
1 cup celery cut into 1/2 pieces
2 cups shredded cooked chicken

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons flour
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme
pinch of cayenne pepper

1 egg, beaten

Put the potatoes, carrots, and onions in separate small saucepans with water to cover and 1 bay leaf, 1 sprig of thyme, and 8 peppercorns for each pan.  Simmer for 8-10 minutes until just tender (med-high heat).  Drain vegetables, discard thyme, bay leaves and peppercorns.  Spread the vegetables on a baking sheet.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Fill a medium bowl with ice and cold water.  Blanch the celery until just tender, but still crisp (about 1 minute).  Drain and transfer to the ice water bath.  Drain and add to the baking sheet.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in flour and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Whisk in milk and lower the heat to keep the sauce at a gentle simmer.  Whisk often until the sauce has reduced and thicken to about 2 cups (about 35 minutes).  Don't let the sauce burn.

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Strain sauce through a fine mesh colander.  Season with salt, pepper, parsley, thyme and cayenne pepper.  Remove the rolled dough from the refrigerator.  Scatter the vegetables and chicken into the pie plate with the crust.  Pour the sauce over them.  Moisten rim of dough with the beaten egg.  Place the top crust onto the pie plate filled with chicken and vegetables.  Press the edges to seal the dough.  Remove any extra dough from edges.  Brush the top of the dough with the beaten egg.  Cut a small vent in the top of the dough to let steam escape.

Bake on the lower oven rack until the crust is golden brown about 55 minutes.  Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes.  Cut into wedges and serve.  Serves about 6.

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