Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Chunky Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie is right up there with Chicken & Dumplings and Macaroni & Cheese as one of my all time favorite comfort foods. This recipe is pretty much straight from my Betty Crocker Cookbook, and it's great. I've included my favorite recipe for a crust as well, although a store bought double-crust will certainly make it go faster.

As with most of my recipes, this one lends itself well to make-ahead. You can freeze it (thaw before cooking) or just refrigerate. I can make the whole thing, including a hand made crust, and get the kitchen clean in an hour and a half - perfect for Abby's nap. Then all that remains is to make some rice and steam a veggie! The main meal is done, and the kitchen clean!


Chunky Chicken Pot Pie
makes 1 - 9" deep dish pie - serves 6-8

Ingredients:

Crust:
3C flour (white, WW or combination)
2T sugar
1 3/4 t. salt
1C (2 sticks) cold butter
1 1/2t apple cider vinegar (white will do in a pinch)
8T ice water (more or less)

Pot Pie:
2 crusts (homemade or store bought)
1C frozen peas
1C frozen crinkle cut carrots
1/3C butter
1/3C white flour
1 onion, chopped
1/2t salt
1/4t pepper
1 3/4C chicken broth (or water + bullion)
2/3C milk
2 1/2 - 3 C cooked chicken, in med/large cubes (2 large or 3 small breasts is pretty close)
hot cooked rice for all

Crust Directions:
  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Using a pastry blender, 2 knifes or your fingers, grind the cold butter into the flour mixture until it is pea sized.
  2. Using a fork to stir, add vinegar. Add ice water 1T at a time, mixing well after each addition until crust begins to hold together. If you use WW flour (and depending on humidity!), you'll need more water - just keep adding by the tablespoon. You may need to pour your bowl out onto the counter to get all the flour from the bottom. Knead once or twice - just enough to ensure that it will hold together well.
  3. Divide in half, roll 1 piece out to slightly larger than your pie plate. Place the crust in your plate. Do not stretch the crust to go into the corners - it will spring back when bakes. Ease it gently in. Roll it bigger if you need to. (this applies to store bought crust as well!)
  4. Roll the other crust out to fit the top. Set aside crusts - if it will be longer than about 20 minutes, cover with plastic wrap (if you make the filling now, they'll be fine).

Pot Pie Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 425.
  2. Pour peas and carrots into a medium bowl, and rinse with warm water to separate and thaw. Drain well.
  3. Melt butter in a large sauce pan and sautee onions for about 5 minutes until they soften and begin to brown. Add flour and whisk until the mixture begins to brown.
  4. Add broth and milk, 1C at a time, whisking well after each addition to prevent lumps. Add seasonings.
  5. Stir in chicken, peas and carrots.
  6. Pour mixture into bottom crust, then top with the second crust. Seal edges well, slit the top, decorate with pastry cut-outs if desired.
  7. Refrigerate or cook right away. Bake for about 35 minutes or until well browned and sauce is bubbling up through the slits.
  8. Let pie stand 10-15 minutes before cutting. Serve over hot rice!

Helpful Notes:
  • You will probably have too much filling. I usually pour it into a small casserole (or cereal bowl, if its oven safe) re-roll my leftover crust to make a top crust only, and have myself a hot fresh mini-pie for lunch!
  • If your pie is very full, place a cookie sheet or piece of aluminum foil on the rack below your pie to catch drips.
  • If you refrigerated your pie, let it stand at room temp an hour before cooking, or plan to give it 15 extra minutes in the oven to get hot all the way through.
  • If you don't want it so chunky, just use a 10oz bag of mixed peas/carrots (the carrots will be much smaller), and chop the chicken finely.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Rice Coocker Pilaf

Here's a quick way to make no-fuss rice pilaf! Use brown or white rice, do all the cooking right in the rice cooker, then you don't have to watch a pan of rice on the stove!

Serves 6

Ingredients:
1T EVOO
1 onion, chopped
2C rice (white or brown)
1/2C slivered almonds
1T italian seasoning
4t chicken bullion (or equivalent to make 4C broth)
4C cold water (or replace bullion and water with chicken broth)

Directions:
  1. This recipe was made using a simple rice cooker - just one button with 'cook' and 'warm' settings.
  2. Plug in the cooker, switch to 'cook' and add oil and onions - leave lid up. Cooker will slowly heat and in around 5 minutes start to sautee. Be sure to use a wooden or plastic spoon to protect your non-stick finish! Sautee onions for just a couple of minutes, until they just begin to soften. Add rice and mix well.
  3. Continue to sautee until cooker switches itself to 'warm'. Add bullion, italian seasoning and almonds. Stir well, and cook for 1-2 minutes more (cooker will still be hot). NOTE - if you have bullion cubes (not granules) and need to dissolve them in hot water, use 1/2 C boiling water for the bullion and leave the rest cold.
  4. Add cold water and stir. The water will cool the cooker enough that you can close the lid, switch to cook, and leave the pilaf until it's done!
  5. Allow appx. 20-30 minutes cooking time for white rice, and 40-50 min for brown. You can make this rice slightly ahead of time, because the cooker will keep it nice and hot while you finish preparing dinner - enjoy!