Saturday, November 11, 2006

Chicken Pot Pie, Reworked

I really like chicken pie. When I was watching the Barefoot Contessa the other day she made hers with only the top crust. She suggested if you don't like making pastry you should use store bought puff pastry. I find homemade pastry is too much work for every day meals, and store bought puff pastry is not in the grad school budget. Instead, in a flash of either insight or laziness I made my chicken pot pie with zero crusts and served it over noodles. (I got the idea from turkey tetrazzini my mother made once.) It was good like this, but I missed the crunch. I ate the leftovers on top of toast. Also, the recipe is a little bland. Next time I will add garlic and thyme.

My first step was to scoot over to, hoping that the Barefoot Contessa recipe was still up. The Barefood Contessa's recipes are only posted for a limited time on the web after the show has been broadcast in America - I presume this is so you buy the books. If you happen to live in Canada, it is not a very convenient situation.

My next step was to scale down the recipe. Six chicken breasts is too much food for two people, and, well, six chicken breasts are out of the grad school budget.

The original recipe recommends home made chicken stock. In fact, I recommend cooking the chicken the day before and then making chicken stock with the bones and whatever other odds and ends you have in your freezer. This way the 3 cups of stock required for my scaled back recipe have no additional cost: total savings $1; deliciousness increase, very high.

After all my modifications, here is the process I followed.

Friday Night: Roast Chicken Breasts

2 chicken breasts
1 tbsp olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Cover chicken breaks with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in oven for 45mins.

Saturday Morning: Make Chicken Stock

2 roasted chicken breasts
1/2 large carrot coarsely chopped
1/2 onion coarsely chopped
bay leaf

1. Remove skin and bones from chicken breast. Reserve meat.
2. Cover skin bone, carrot, onion and bay leaf with water (I had to use about four cups) and follow your favourite stock making procedure.

Saturday Night: Chicken Pot Pie Rework

meat from two chicken breasts
3 tbsp butter
1/3 cup flour
3 cups chicken stock
1.5 onions
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup frozen peas
6 sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup whipping cream

1. Melt butter in a dutch oven and add onions. Cook until translucent. While you are doing this steam the carrots until they are almost as soft as you like.
2. Add flour. Cook one minute.
3. Add stock. If you do this a bit at time it is easier to keep the sauce smooth. Add carrots, mushrooms, and peas and bring to a simmer for about 10 mins.
4. Add cream and salt and pepper to taste.

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