"It's the company, not the cooking, that makes the meal!" ~Perilee 
(Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie w/ Spring Vegetables (Asparagus and Peas)

This picture was an after thought (because I recently blogged a CHKN Pot Pie). What you see in this picture is all that was left of a 9 x 13 pan shortly after placing it on the table. This recipe was a huge hit with the kids. I served this comfort food classic for Sunday dinner tonight and the kids and adults alike kept coming back for more! One of my nieces doesn't care for celery much so when she found out that I had replaced it with Asparagus she loved it right away. It really hit the spot. The Asparagus was a great find super cheap at Wal-mart. I am usually to frugal to buy it because I think it is to expensive, but not this time!

This recipe comes from my "The New Best Recipe" book (p.351). I think that it gets way to wordy and involved so I have simplified it and posted it as such. You can make the filling and the topping of choice before hand. You just need to warm the filling be for adding your top to it. (I think that it helps cook the bottom layer of the doughs).

1 recipe of the Savory Pie Dough Topping or Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuit Topping (recipes below)
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast and/or thighs (cut into small bite size pieces)
2 cups (1 can) low-sodium chicken broth
1 medium-large onion, chopped finely
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick (I added 6-8 carrots)
2 small celery ribs (or 18 thin asparagus spears cut into 1-inch pieces replaces it if you go that option)
salt and ground black pepper to taste
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
3 Tablespoons dry sherry (I just used Sherry Cooking wine)
3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed (Increase to 1 cup if using the asparagus)
3 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves (optional- I didn't have any on hand so I left it out)

1. Make the pie dough or biscuit topping and refrigerate until ready to use.
2. In a small amount of oil in a large skillet saute the onions and chicken pieces; cook until chicken is no longer pink. Then add the carrots, asparagus, and peas. cooking until tender about 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile you can cook the sauce in a separate pan. (This really speeds up the process!) Melt the butter over med-high heat, then add the flour and cook about 1 minute. Whisk in the chicken broth, the milk, and any accumulated juices from your chicken and vegetable pan, sherry, and the thyme. Bring to a boil and simmer until the sauce fully thickens. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Pour the sauce over the chicken mixture and stir to combine. Add the parsley. (The mixture can be covered and refrigerated overnight; reheat before topping with the pastry.) Pour mixture into 9 x 13 baking dish or six small 12-oz ovenproof dishes. Top with desired pastry. Bake until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is bubbling, 30 minutes for larger pies and 20 to 25 minutes for the smaller pies. Serve Hot.

I think you could use any of your favorite pastries here and it would work nicely.
FLUFFY BUTTERMILK BISCUIT TOPPING-enough for 1 recipe of Chicken Pot Pie
1 cup (5 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup (4oz) plain cake flour (I used all-purpose here. The book says to use cake flour when you want your pastry to be light and fluffy. I don't even think I can get cake flour in little Lovell, WY)
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, quartered lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces
3/4 cup cold buttermilk, plus 1 to 2 Tablespoons if needed.

Pulse the dry ingredients in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add the butter pieces and pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal with a few slightly larger butter lumps.
Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and add the buttermilk. Stir with a fork until dough gathers into moist clumps. (If the clumps are still dry, add more buttermilk, a Tablespoon at a time, up to 2 Tablespoons in all). Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and form in to a rough ball. Roll out the dough until it is 1/2-inch thick. Using a 2 1/2-3-inch pastry cutter, stamp out 8 rounds of dough. IF making individual pies, cut the dough slightly smaller than the circumference of each dish. (Dough rounds can be refrigerated on a lightly floured baking sheet covered with plastic wrap for up to 2 hours.)
Arrange dough rounds over the warm filling and proceed with the recipe for Chicken Pot Pie.

*Okay so I made my biscuits and refrigerated them for a lot longer than two hours and they turned out fine. I did however not rewarmed my filling as suggested and I wish I had done so. The bottoms of my biscuits were a tad bit doughy and I think had the filling been warmer they would have steamed all the way through.

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