23 February 2015

A Taste of Home - Chicken Pot Pie

Beginning this week I'm moving the Monday wine review to Wednesday. We are not without a post today though-and it even involves wine! Albeit both briefly and tangentially.

Be it the winter weather, having familiar friends around, or just a bit of homesickness I have been craving American food lately. Not the new, fancy American food found in foodie restaurants but old-fashioned, home-cooked kinds of food. Although not my mom's food. She recently brought up that old Lenten stand-by; tuna noodle casserole. I am not craving that. Forty days in the desert with Jesus wouldn't entice me to crave, let alone eat that. I love my mom but there's a place in Purgatory reserved for people who make tuna noodle casserole. No, no. I wanted chicken pot pie. Could anything be better on a chilly winter's night?

Pot pies are fantastic comfort food. I don't mean to say that I was instantly transported (in my mind or otherwise) to my family home when I ate one. We weren't pot pie eaters growing up but many a Sunday dinner involved chicken and dumplings in gravy so...close enough. There is just something so homely about them though. I might not be able to eat them for the next month or so of Fridays but I can get a taste of home with them the other six days of the week!

Even Sherlock wanted a place at this table

I've now made this twice and enjoyed it deeply both times. One of the great things about pot pies is you can vary the recipe and change it up to fit your own taste. You don't have to use carrots, zucchini, and potatoes the way I did-you can use whichever vegetables you prefer. If it didn't cost an arm and a leg I would also have added Parmesan.

Add a nice dry white wine like Suvla's Kabatepe White, a side of vegetables (steamed broccoli in our case) and you really couldn't ask for more! Except maybe dessert!

  • Phyllo dough 
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 large or 3 medium carrots
  • 2 zucchini
  • 2 large or 3 medium potatoes
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1/2 Cup cream
  • garlic
  • black peppercorns
  • (fresh) thyme
  • (fresh) oregano
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • flour
  1. Put breasts in medium size pot and cover with water. Add salt and pepper and (optional) powdered garlic, paprika, and/or a Lawerys-like seasoning. Boil on medium heat until cooked through then remove breasts but reserve the liquid. Shred the chicken and set aside.
  2. Smash and chop 3 cloves garlic and chop onion. Saute in large sauce pan or medium sized pot over medium heat until onions are soft. Sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons full flower over onions and stir to combine.
  3. Add about 3 cups of the liquid from the chicken, stirring after each cup. The broth should start to thicken but if it doesn't you can add in more flour. 
  4. While broth is thickening, prepare the pie shells and oven. Pre-heat oven to 350F. Spray the insides of small tins, or other individual baking dish, and line with a square of phyllo dough. Mine comes pre-cut into small squares and when defrosted is pliable and can be reshaped to fit.*
  5. Back to the filling: add cream, diced carrots, potatoes, chopped zucchini, about 1/2 teaspoon of peppercorns, 2 sprigs of thyme, and oregano. Combine everything, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are just cooked.
  6. Reduce temperature to low, add shredded chicken and additional salt/pepper as desired, and simmer until vegetables are cooked through.
  7. Ladle mixture into prepared tins. Don't fill to the brim as it might spill over. Cover with second square of phyllo dough, pinching it around the edges to help avoid spill over.
  8. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
Filling can be made in advance and kept in the refrigerator for a few days or frozen until wanted.
*You can skip the bottom shell to save calories if you don't mind eating out of the tin.

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