Monday, February 14, 2011

Nothing says loving like Chicken Pot Pie!

When you think wholesome food, one dish that comes to mind is Chicken Pot Pie….there’s something about the fresh vegetables, moist chicken, creamy sauce and flaky crust that just screams comfort food (not really…’s a metaphor that I’m using for effect). Don’t you just love metaphors…we use them to legitimately overstate a point and because we hear them so often in our everyday conversations, no one notices. Some (sappy) examples in honor of Valentine’s Day:

Love is a camara, full of memories.
My heart is on fire.
Love is in the air.
We were made for each other.

Oh brother, I'm faint from all this love talk.

Think I'll just stick to Pot Pie.

Way back in July of 1996, I found a recipe for “Blue-Ribbon Chicken Potpie” in Woman’s Day (the paper magazine) that I CUT OUT and saved and have been making ever since. Of course, I’ve made some minor adjustments, but this recipe is so good that adjustments aren’t really necessary (I made them anyway).

1 sheet frozen puff pastry (from a 17 1⁄4-ounce box), thawed according to package directions
1 cup chicken broth (sometimes I use 3/4 c broth and 1/4 c of white wine)
3 medium carrots, thinly sliced
8 ounces green beans, cut in 1-inch pieces (I have been known to add frozen corn)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon of garlic (my addition)
1 1⁄2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh thyme or 1⁄2 teaspoon dried (tarragon too)
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon pepper
3 cups bite-size pieces cooked chicken (I like to grill mine)
1 egg, slightly beaten

Have ready a deep 2-quart soufflé dish or other round casserole about 7 inches across the top and 3 inches deep. Using dish as a guide, trim pastry with kitchen scissors into a circle, leaving a 1-inch border. Discard trimmings. Refrigerate pastry on a large plate or cookie sheet until firm.

In a large saucepan bring broth to a simmer. Add carrots and green beans, cover and cook over medium heat just until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain, reserving vegetables and broth in separate bowls.

Return saucepan to medium heat. Add butter, and when melted, add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes until soft. Stir in flour and cook 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in reserved broth, then half-and-half, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until thick and hot, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in chicken and cooked vegetables.

Heat oven to 375°F. Scrape chicken mixture into soufflé dish, cover with foil and bake 30 minutes or until warm throughout.

Brush 1 inch border of pastry circle with beaten egg. Invert carefully over hot casserole. Gently press edge of pastry to dish until it sticks, then brush all over with more egg. Cut 2 vents in middle of pastry for steam to escape. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until puffed and browned.

Let cool slightly before serving.

Happy Valentine’s Day dear readers!


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