Shamleless Plug

I'm embarking on a new part of my life that is happier and going in a direction! It's really refreshing.

I was married May 19th, 2012 to a great guy I met at the C.I.A and we're go excited to embark on a life together. He has as culinary degree to match my baking and pastry degree. It's going to be a Good life.

I hope you enjoy my thoughts on food and cooking. I am but a humble baker, who happens to love cooking and embraces the joy of food.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie Part Two

There are so many ways to use a left over roasted chicken: chicken quesadillas, chicken salad, chicken and biscuits.Chicken casserole, chicken wraps. On and on and on.

But the best way is making chicken pot pie. I've had a few pot pies in my day, and the only way to make it is with a roasted chicken. I've never been a  fan of boiled chicken, but I enjoy poached.  The flavor of roasted is so much better. But if you insist at least do more than salt, pepper and basic mirepoix. Whether it's one chicken or 10, it's worth the effort. That's what leftovers are for, right!?

No, a roasted chicken adds to the party. Moist and plump, a properly seasoned roasted bird adds flavor to the pie.

I have a little over 5 pounds of chicken. We used a little last night to make quesadillas, but I feel adventurous like filling some time today, and want to make some pot pies. A fun undertaking. I like to get my hands wrist deep in chicken fat. It makes me feel productive. 

For this pot pie, I chopped carrots, parsnips, potatoes and onions. Very traditional and basic. But I sauteed the onions with finely diced mushrooms and tossed in some corn towards the end. The best part about any pot pie or casserole is using up ingredients. I'm a big fan of not throwing out things if I can help it.

I'm making the crust, but if you aren't very handy around crust, the refrigerated store bought stuff is awesome, too. I'm using the basic ratio, although I'm doing half butter and half shortening. Which is my preference, some swear by using all of either, which is fine, too. It's "Grandma's secret recipe!!", because fat, flour, water, and salt is a secret. But really, it's not. It's a basic ratio that every baker and chef knows. 3 parts flour, 2 parts fat, 1 part (ice) water. 3-2-1 pie dough. It's the first thing I made in my first Baking Principles class at the C.I.A. It's going to be full of tender flaky goodness.

As for the creamy binding filling, I allow myself one act of "cheating": cream of chicken soup. The only reason for this is it is always consistent. You know it will thicken and moisten properly and you know what to expect. I add the water according to the can, and season it accordingly with salt, pepper, garlic/onion powder and paprika.

I have a huge treat today! For Christmas, Matt gave me a beautiful marble slab. And I cannot wait to roll the dough out on its smooth cool surface. It's so pretty and smooth and sexy. It's all I can do to not shiver when I run my hands across it...I'm sure you can relate and appreciate this. It's the ultimate luxury to me.

....Anyway.....The dough rolled out beautifully. No sticking, no tearing. Smooth and silky.  The pot pies came together really well.  Slightly pink from paprika, the filling poured thickly into the shells.

I crimped and wrapped the two pies and put one in the freezer for a later meal, and one in the fridge for tonight.

The pie baked into a soft brown bubbly, savory smelling filling pie. This is the part that I am always uncertain about. Pull it too early, and the filling will run. Pull it too late and the filling will be dry and the crust over baked. Still haven't quite found that happy middle ground, but I'm happy with the runnier side because by the time we go to eat the leftovers the liquid seems to redistribute itself into more freestanding slices.

The crust was perfect. Flaky and tender. Thanks to my education and possibly Alton Brown. It served as a fantastic vessel for the filling, sturdy, but not tough. The inside was well seasoned with plump chunks of chicken peeking out with the assorted root vegetables. Other than the fact I really should have given it about a half hour to rest it was tasty.

For the two of us, a 9 inch pot pie goes a very long way. For the average sized family, it'll be deliciously filling with a salad.

I don't think it's any more or less labor intensive than the average family meal if you account for a leftover chicken and store bought crust. Who doesn't love a creamy, meaty, vegetable filled flaky pastry on a cold day anyway?

Pretty, pretty, pretty marble