Tuesday, May 12, 2009

chicken pot pie

My new dining table is dark. As is our dining area. It's a borrowed table so I'm not going to fret over it, but it does mess with my dinner photography endeavors. Anyways, last night I made a pot pie. It's also part of our regular rotation.

Is it worth it to post about chicken pot pie? I feel like it's sort of a no-brainer. But then again, I might stop making it for one reason or another and then one day I'll want to make it and not have any notes on my methods. So here we go:

Chicken Pot Pie
about 2 cooked chicken breasts meat removed from the bone and cubed (I usually used leftover baked chicken, last night it was the leftovers from two whole chickens I'd had cut up to make oven fried chicken)
1 cup of mushrooms (I used white and cut them up in quarters to be roughly the size of the cubed chicken and potatoes)
1/2 cup of chopped celery (about 1 or 2 stalks)
1/2 cup of chopped onion
1 medium sized russet or yukon gold potato cubed and par-boiled
olive oil to sautee vegetables
3/4 cup or so of frozen mixed vegetables (I get the kind that has peas, carrots, corn and green beans. I do a little dance if I can find the one with lima beans. I love lima beans.)
1 med bay leaf
1 tsp of dried oregano
1 tsp of dried thyme
1 pie-crust (I make my own but a frozen one will do in a pinch)
2 tblsp of unsalted butter
3tblsp of flour
1 cup of lowfat milk
1 cup of chicken broth (when I can't make my own I use a tsp of Better than Boullion)
salt+pepper to taste

Make the piecrust and put in the fridge to rest while preparing the vegetables.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a skillet sautee the mushrooms in olive oil (about 2 tblsp) until tender and most of the water has been released. Pour into a medium sized bowl and set aside. Add another 2 tblsp of olive oil to skillet and sautee onions until tender. Pour that into the bowl with mushrooms and repeat sautee process with celery.

Once celery has been sauteed and poured into the vegetable bowl, reserve the skillet for making the roux. Add butter and heat till melted. Don't let the butter brown or heaven forbid burn. Add flour and whisk to blend. Keep whisking until the butter+flour paste turns a nice golden brown. It'll start to stick to the bottom of the skillet a bit and get really gooey. Add half the milk and whisk to blend. You may need to adjust the heat at this point. You want it to be warm enough so that it turns the butter+flour+milk mix into a nice thick gravy, but not so hot that the milk starts to bubble and boil before it has a chance to get married to the butter+flour. When your roux gets nice and thick, add the rest of the milk. Blend to smooth it out and wait till it gets nice and thick again and then thin out with 1/2 the chicken stock. Blend to smooth it out and then when it gets thick again, thin it out with the remaining chicken stock (again). This time blend to smooth it out and once it get's to that nice thick gravy consistency turn the heat down to the lowest possible. Add the herbs, salt and pepper and stir to incorporate.

Turn off the heat and add the sauteed vegetables, the cubed chicken, the potatoes and also the frozen mixed vegetables at this time to the roux. Mix it all up so that the veggies and chicken are completely saturated with the roux. Pour the mixture into a baking dish. Cover with the pie crust and set the baking dish on a baking tray in case the insides of the pot pie bubble over. You can cut slits into the pie crust too to let some of the steam out. My pies usually bubble over and the insides burble out of the sides of the baking dish pushing the pie crust out of the way. It gets a little messy, but I don't mind because it still tastes good. Bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes or until the insides are bubbly and the crust is a nice golden brown. You might want to let it cool for a few minutes before serving, but I usually plate it piping hot while waiting for M to get to the table or getting drinks and such. By the time we've pulled our chairs up to the table the pie is just cooled enough for us to dig into.

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