Monday, January 25, 2010
I've been flattened by a stomach flu that has left me without energy or appetite, it's pouring rain outside and it's Monday. Ick. Of course I still have a million things begging for my immediate attention, so I hope you will forgive this re-run from the UtHC archives. It's a good one--tasty enough to even tempt my fickle stomach right now. Enjoy!
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 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 a 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!"
I usually make these in massive batches as they freeze and re-heat wonderfully.
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.
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.
Chicken Pot Pies with Leek & Lemon
This is where comfort food meets gourmet. The addition of leeks, which are perhaps the most underestimated winter vegetable, and fresh lemon zest transforms a ho-hum chicken pot pie into something special that will brighten up a cold winter’s evening.
8 cloves of garlic, peeled and de-germed
3 medium leeks
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried, (thyme is good, too)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/4 cup heavy cream
Salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup green peas, defrosted if frozen
About 4 cups cooked chicken, shredded
450g puff pastry or 1 pre-made pie crust
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 dark green leaves, which are tough, from the leek stalk and discard. Wash leeks well and slice into 1/2-inch (1-cm) sections. Melt butter in a large 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. Reduce heat, stir in cream and simmer for 5 minutes or until thick and glossy. Stir in green peas and chicken and season well with salt and pepper.
Pour chicken mixture into a 6-cup baking dish or individual ramekins. Roll out pastry 1/4-inch (5-mm) thick to cover top of dish. Place pastry on top of baking dish and press edges to seal. With a sharp knife, pierce pastry once or twice for a steam hole and brush pastry 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.
Cool slightly before serving to avoid burns!