Sunday, November 23, 2008

Chicken Pot Pie

When I was a little girl, one of my absolute winter favorites was chicken pot pie. That's why it came as somewhat as a shock to me that I had no recipe for it in the cookbook my mother put together for me. It's been over ten years since I've lived at my parents' house and at least five years since I really mastered cooking, and I have never made a chicken pot pie. I don't know if it was fear of being unable to recreate it the way my mom made it, or my lazy nature, as chicken pot pie is rather work intensive. Either way, I never should have let this get to this point, because chicken pot pie is really damn good.

makes 2 pies in 1.4 L dishes

1 recipe pie crust
3 chicken breasts
~ 1 cup cream (1/2 cup for poaching, 1/2 cup for adding liquid)
1/4 C white wine
4 carrots, peeled and coined
1/2 package Birdseye frozen peas (this is about 5 oz)
1/2 mushrooms, stemmed and chopped
1/2 large onion chopped
1 T flour
1 T olive oil
2 t tarragon
salt and pepper
1 egg or 1/4 c egg beaters for egg wash on crust

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Trim and rinse chicken, pat dry. Place in a ovenproof dish in a single layer and season breasts with salt and pepper. Then pour over the first 1/2 c of cream, add slightly more if needed. Poach in your oven for 35 minutes. After 35 minutes the chicken should be cooked, let it cool and then cut into bite sized pieces. Reserve the poaching liquids. Bring a small pot of water to a boil and add your coined carrots. Let them cook for 2 minutes and then drain and set aside. In a large pan, sautee the onion in the olive oil. Add the tablespoon of flour. Cook for 5 minutes to allow the flour to cook. Then add the poaching liquid, stir well so that the flour mixture does not clump. Add the 1/4 C of white wine (or vermouth). Cook for 5 minutes. Then add the cut up chicken, peas, carrots, mushroom. Add the tarragon. Give it a quick taste, add more salt and pepper if necessary. Stir mixture together. If it seems really dry, you can add the other 1/2 c cream. Remember the mixture will release more liquid in the oven, so it will become juicer as it cooks, you don't want it overly soupy. Split the pot pie mixture between two ovenproof dishes. Roll out your two pie crusts. They will be thicker than a normal pie crust. Mold them down over the top of your dishes as shown above. Slash three vents in the top and use a basting brush to apply the egg beaters or well stirred egg as a wash to get the nice brown crust. Bake for 25 minutes at 425.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hold the Mayo

My husband's fear of mayonnaise has been documented elsewhere on this blog, but for those who missed that post, let's recap. Ryan hates mayonnaise. In any form. Don't try to trick him by offering him any aioli, oh no. He'll eye it suspiciously, and if truly pressed, he'll taste it with all the suspicion of a picky toddler and finally state with conviction, "that's definitely some kind of mayonnaise." I am honestly shocked he can even place an order at a deli counter when he's faced with all those tubs of coleslaw and macaroni salad, foods rendered inedible by their thick pools of whitish goop.

I strongly believe that the BLT is one of life's great pleasures. But if you're anything like me, you figure that a BLT is really a BLTM. Mayonnaise is what makes the whole sandwich work! The nice creamy goodness pulls it all together.

Fortunately, I have a trick up my sleeve that will prevent this delicious sandwich from being banned from our house. Avocado. Sweet, ripe avocado. I hate to admit it, but it's really much better than mayonnaise.

makes 2 sandwiches

1 avocado
4 slices good bread - I like french country
8 slices bacon (or turkey bacon)

1 ripe tomato
2 leaves of lettuce

Put the bacon on to cook in a large pan. Watch it carefully so it doesn't burn. Bacon only takes a few minutes on each side, but how long exactly depends on whether you are a crispy or chewy person. We like ours pretty crispy. Stick your bread in the toaster. While you're waiting for it to toast up, you can take your cooked bacon out of the pan and put it on a paper towel covered plate. Blot the top of the bacon too to soak up some of that grease. Wash and dry your lettuce and tear into nice sandwich size pieces. Slice up the tomato. Halve the avocado, scoop out the insides and mash up with a pinch of salt. When the toasts pop up, spre
ad half the avocado on one slice of bread and then place the tomatoes on top. On the other side of the bread, put down one of the leaves of lettuce and four strips of bacon. Then place the bacon and lettuce side on top of the tomato and avocado side. Repeat to make another sandwich.


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