Food Memories – Chicken Pot Pie

Today’s Food Memory comes from fellow Big Summer Potluck attendee Jennifer of Bread and Putter.  I had no way of knowing at the time that Jennifer and I would become bff’s on Twitter (@breadandputter).  Don’t tell The Mistah but I think she knows more about me via my twittering than he does after 6 years of marriage.  Is that bad?

Here’s a little of what Jennifer has to say on her About page:

My early cooking adventures were kind of pathetic.  I once cooked a hot dog in a frying pan that was burned on the outside and still frozen in the middle.  I could always bake – I can follow instructions pretty darn well, but cooking always seemed a little more loosey-goosey. There are things about cooking apparently you are just supposed to know instinctively or something, and I didn’t.

Yeah, I can totally understand that.  Maybe she and I are kindred kitchen spirits.

If you still need another reason to skip on over to Bread and Putter and check out what’s going on in Jennifer’s kitchen, I give you this:

I really love cheese and bacon. I hate coffee, Swiss chard, Brussels sprouts, beets and anything that leaves orange cheese powder on my fingertips. Dark chocolate is the best chocolate but milk chocolate is good too if there’s peanut butter in it.  There’s nothing quite like hot crusty bread fresh out of the oven with some good butter on it.

I’m going to pretend that she didn’t include coffee, brussel sprouts, beets, and cheetos on her list of dont’s.

Chicken Pot Pie

For our second date, my now husband invited me to his house for dinner. I didn’t know what to expect.  I arrived with a bottle of wine in hand but he didn’t have any wine glasses. So, we drank it out of regular glasses but in retrospect, who was I to judge? It was white zinfandel.

When it was time for dinner, I was impressed when his creation came out of the oven – a homemade chicken pot pie! This guy was racking up points fast! For our first date, he had invited me to a play.  Classy, right?  And then he bakes up a pie for me. What wasn’t to like? When he cut open the pie and served me a slice, my excitement waned a bit. In addition to the chicken and gravy, there was a lot of broccoli in the pie. At the time, I really was not a broccoli fan.  And all I could taste in that pie was broccoli. But, I was gracious and I ate up my whole serving and I complimented him on that pie.

I would later learn that the pie dough was from a box and the gravy was from a can, but I still give him lots of credit for that pie.  There was still a lot of measuring, preparation and assembly involved. As the years passed and I confessed my non-love of broccoli, the pie took on other incarnations with carrots and peas replacing the wretched broccoli.

And then a funny thing happened. He was a single father and was doing his best to put food on the table for his two daughters and trying to set a good example. So, in turn, when I was dining with them, I tried to set a good example and not be fussy and eat what I was served. And over time, my palate grew in an unexpected way.  I learned to like, if not tolerate, just about everything. Including broccoli! These days we even grow broccoli, in our garden at our home together.

Here is his original chicken pot pie recipe. These days I usually make my own crust and my own gravy if I am making it, but I promise, it is still pretty darn good with the boxes and the cans.  And if you make it for someone else with love, isn’t that what really counts?

B&P Note: I’ve transcribed this exactly as written. It amuses me.

2 boxes –total of 4 Pillsbury or whatever pre-made pie crusts. Take out 15 mins before using

2 ¼ + lbs boneless breast of chicken, trim crap off – cut up, refrigerate

2 medium potatoes diced

1 bunch + broccoli crowns, trimmed of most of stem

3 or 4 carrots cut up diced

 

Boil veggies till soft (nothing falling apart.) Strain.

Open 2 cans Franco-American chicken gravy – cook till hot.

While cooking gravy, prepare two pie shells in pans.

Throw in chicken & veggies into hot gravy. Mix. Fill pies. Cover pies with remaining pie crusts. Baste with butter. Slit pie crust tops to vent heat before putting in oven. Cook covered in preheated 425 degree oven 20 mins. Remove foil cover & cook 25 mins more. Remove & let sit a minute before cutting.

Mr. Bread and Putter’s Chicken Pot Pie

BAH Note: I have to admit that I didn’t exactly recreate the original incarnation of Mr. B&P’s chicken pot pie. I was short on supplies and had a pie crust that was well past its prime.  My loosey-goosey version went something like this:

  • 1 rolled pie crust (premade)
  • 1 jar chicken gravy
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • frozen peas and carrots
  • diced rotisserie chicken (without the skin)

Heat oven to temperature called for on the back of the box of pie crust.

Combine gravy and cornstarch in a medium saucepan set over medium heat.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the gravy has thickened.  Add the peas, carrots, and chicken and stir to combine.

Transfer the filling to a 9 inch pie plate.  Top with the pie crust, crimping the edges as you go.  Cut four small slits in the top of the dough for steam to escape.  Place on a sheet pan and bake until the filling is bubbly and the top has browned.

If the edges of the crust are browning too fast, cover them with a ring of aluminum foil.

{printable recipe}

Pam Anderson’s Perfect One Dish Chicken Pot Pie

Today we’re going on a journey of the imagination.  Look at the photo above.  Now close your eyes and imagine quick and easy drop biscuits topping that bowl of appley, chickeny goodness.  That, my friends, is some simply delicious pot pie.

Now, you may have mixed feeling about pot pie.  Those frozen hockey pucks with cardboard crusts and thin, bland filling.  Dear friends, make no mistake, that is not potpie.  If the prepackaged variety is all you’ve ever known, this recipe may change your mind, and your life.

Before you start saying “I can’t make potpie, it takes too much time” or “I love potpie but I have an irrational fear of making dough”, take a moment.  Imagine a potpie that doesn’t require a rolled crust or an all day commitment.  Does that sound too good to be true?  Believe me when I say that it’s for real.

If one recipe could justify the purchase of a cookbook, this is it.  Because if you never made anything else from Pam Anderson’s Perfect One Dish Dinners, her Chicken Pot Pie alone is worth the list price.  With a minimal number of ingredients and the tiniest amount of effort, you too can enjoy potpie as it should be.  Rich and creamy, hearty and filling, in no time flat.  Just imagine the possibilities.

Chicken Pot Pie

Adapted from Pam Anderson’s Perfect One Dish Dinners

BAH Note: I halved the amount of chicken Pam calls for in her recipe because I prefer a high ratio of sauce to chicken in my potpies.  But that’s just me.  I also reduced the amount of flour in the sauce by half because I kept ending up with lumps.  That could have just been me also.  Please don’t be tempted to substitute onions for the leeks.  It just won’t be a good trade off.  I was quite wary of the leek for the longest time…until I used them in this recipe.  What I learned is that the leeks provide a subtle flavor and are the perfect complement to the apple and sage.  I also learned that when you don’t have the ingredients on hand to make the quick drop biscuit topping, you leave it off and call it Chicken Stew. I made this in a 5.5 quart dutch oven.  You could also bake it up in a 9×13 baking dish or two 9 inch pie plates, but I like keeping the number of dirty pans to a minimum.

BAH Tip: Leeks are deceptive.  They may look clean on the outside while the inside is full of gritty sand.  You don’t want that in your dish.  To remove the sand, cut the dark green tops off the leeks and then slice the leeks in half lengthwise.  If there isn’t much sand inside, place the halves under running water and separate the layers to rinse the sand away.  For particularly sandy leeks, fill a large mixing bowl with water, slice the halved leeks, and place the slices into the water.  Use your hands to swish the slices around so that the sand falls to the bottom of your bowl.  Use a slotted spoon or your hands to carefully remove the leek slices from the water, leaving the gritty sand in the bowl.

Base

  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 12 ounces evaporated milk
  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 large leeks, washed thoroughly (see tip above), light green and white parts only, chopped
  • 2 large apples, quartered, cored, and sliced thinly (Granny Smith is especially nice for this)
  • 2 to 3 cups of shredded rotisserie chicken or turkey
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 teaspoons dried sage

Biscuits

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 stick of butter, frozen
  • 1 cup buttermilk, cold

Place oven rack in lower middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees.

Microwave the chicken broth and evaporated milk in a large microwave safe bowl for 3 to 4 minutes until it is just steamy.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a dutch oven over medium high heat.  Add the leeks and apples and cook for 7 to 10 minutes until they are just tender.  Transfer the leek and apple mixture to a large bowl.  Add the shredded chicken or turkey to the bowl and set it aside.

Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in the now empty skillet set over medium heat.  When the foaming subsides, whisk in the flour and sage and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until golden.  Slowly add the warmed milk, whisking until smooth, and simmer, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens.  Add the chicken mixture back to the pot and stir until it is combined.  Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.  Top with biscuits and bake until the biscuits are golden brown and the filling bubbles, approximately 30 to 35 minutes.

To make the biscuit topping, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cheddar cheese in a medium bowl.  Using the coarse side of a box grater, carefully grate the frozen butter into the flour mixture and mix quickly with your fingertips to blend evenly.  Mix the buttermilk into the dry ingredients with a fork until the dough just comes together.  Use your fingers to pinch small rounds of dough and place on top of the filling.

{printable recipe}

Tug Of War

Pot Pie - After

Have I mentioned that I’m bad when it comes to sharing?  I must have missed that life lesson because in my mind, what’s mine is mine and you can’t have it.  I’m ok with some people borrowing things of mine, but it’s a pretty short list of approved borrowers.  And if I think there’s even a remote chance I won’t get it back, then the answer is no.   Of course,  if you’re willing to put up some collateral then we can negotiate an exchange.  Continue reading “Tug Of War”