Tuesday, January 06, 2009
It's feels natural to jump on the comfort food bandwagon in January. Enough with the holiday finger food, the bowls of nuts, and elaborate dinner parties; what we need now is a one-pot meal to sink our fork into and forget about how dang cold it is outside. I think you'll find this updated pot pie pretty satisfying.
Although I've been making variations on this dish for my family for a while, I might never have posted the recipe if it wasn't requested by an old friend of mine. OK, maybe 'request' isn't the right word, it was more like an order. In fact I believe her exact comment in response to this post was:
"I want your chicken leek pot pie recipe. I don't like baking, but I like cooking so lets get on with the real food!"
Yes madam! Well, she did used to boss me around something fierce back in the day, so it comes naturally to her. I guess some things never change, eh?
So here you go, Kelly, I've done my part. You better make these now to feed all those bambinos of yours. Trust me, they will thank you for it.
I usually make these in massive batches as they freeze and re-heat wonderfully.
(edit 1) Since we sometimes need 'heat & serve' instant meals (little children's tummies don't understand waiting), I bake these as I normally would for a dinner, then cool them down, wrap them well and freeze for a later date. I re-heat them in the oven to keep the pastry crisp.
(edit 2) I find blanching my garlic alleviates some of the not so fun side effects while maintaining the full flavor that we love around here. However, this is not scientifically proven, just an opinion. I don't do it often, perhaps just when I want to serve the dish to 10-month-old Mateo.
Chicken, Leek and Lemon Pot Pies
About 4 cups cooked, shredded chicken (I prefer dark meat and usually use thighs)
8 cloves of garlic, peeled and de-germed
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup white wine (Optional)
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon or 1 tsp dry (thyme is good, too)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1/4 cup whipping cream
Salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup green peas, defrosted if frozen
1 recipe pie crust or 450g puff pastry (my lazy way out, although in the photos I used my usual pie dough.)
1 egg, beaten with a pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
Place garlic in cold water, bring to boil, and boil for a minute or so. Drain and roughly chop. Reserve.
Cut very dark green leaves from leeks and discard. Wash leeks well and slice into 1/2-inch (1-cm) sections (I use about 2/3 of the leek)
Heat butter in skillet on medium heat. Add leeks and garlic and sauté for about 3 minutes or until leeks soften. Stir in flour and cook until pale gold, about 4 minutes, adding more butter if needed. Stir in chicken stock, white wine if using, tarragon, lemon juice and rind. Bring to boil. Add cream, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until thick and glossy. Season well with salt and pepper.
Stir in green peas and chicken. Place in a 6-cup baking dish or individual baking dishes. Roll out pastry 1/4-inch (5-mm) thick to cover top of dish. Cut a steam hole, decorate with any extra pastry cut in shapes, if desired. Brush with egg.
Bake pies on middle shelf of oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until pastry is golden and mixture bubbles. I usually set my baking dish or dishes on a cookie sheet as I inevitably get one that overflows.