Sunday, August 14, 2011

Salvage Mission

Sometimes, I hate technology. The other day I spent over two hours on the phone with Comcast, LG, SMC and Netflix trying to figure out why my movies would no longer stream. Everyone did an amazing job of coming up with an explanation why it was someone else's fault and why they could not possibly help me. All except SMC. They just never called back. When he got home, Ryan tried his best to rescue me from the drudgery by providing one store bought rotisserie chicken for our dinner. I was so relieved I didn't even care that the chicken tasted largely of cardboard and was about as moist. It didn't matter. At that point, the day was utter crap anyway. The only problem was the next day we were left with half of a really dry chicken. And our Netflix still wouldn't work.

Fortunately, the Netflix issue randomly resolved itself. And the chicken? I could fix that easily, and so can you!! Whether you've brought home a dud from the supermarket, or you are personally responsible for the dry bird (I won't judge), with just a little kitchen magic, it can be one of the most delicious, luscious dinners you've eaten - Chicken Pot Pie Turnovers. And if you're certain you'll never need to save yourself from overcooked poultry, just tuck this away until Thanksgiving. You can use it to save yourself from another day of turkey with stuffing as well. The flaky puff pastry crust will melt in your mouth. The cream and vermouth make a rich sauce, and the duck bacon? Oh lordy, the duck bacon.

Inspired by some Food Network show, although I couldn't find the recipe or the show when I went back to make it again. Sorry!

4 oz duck bacon (you can use regular bacon or pancetta)
1 T flour
1/2 medium onion chopped fine
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 C carrot, chopped
1/2 C peas
3-4 stems fresh thyme
1/2 C vermouth
1 C milk
1 t dijon mustard
1 1/2 - 2 C leftover chicken (or turkey), shredded
1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted (save the other, or make Apple Turnovers,
Alsatian Onion Tart or Palmiers (scroll down).)
optional: 1 egg to make an egg wash for the turnovers so they will be glossy and beautiful.

Preheat your oven to 400F. Get a large skillet, put it over medium heat. Chop your bacon product into small pieces. Cook for about 4 minutes, or until cooked through, but not overly crispy, don't blacken. Especially if you use duck bacon or pancetta this will result in a lot of delicious fat being released into the pan. Don't pour it off, but remove your bacon from the pan and set aside. To the delicious fat, add your onions and garlic, lower the heat if necessary. Cook for 3-5 minutes until softened and the onions are translucent. Add 1 T of flour and mix in. It should coat the onions and garlic and collect all that fat so that it will thicken your sauce. Then add the carrots and peas. Let it cook for just a minute or two.Then add your thyme (maybe 3-4 springs of fresh, stems removed). Increase the heat slightly and add the vermouth. Let it cook off (reduce the liquid by at least half), then reduce the heat to low and add your milk and your mustard. Mix it all in and cook until it's thickened a bit, just a few minutes. Add in your cooked chicken and your bacon. When it's time to roll the puff pastry, act fast and with cold hands. Using a bit of flour, roll out your sheet of puff pastry. Be gentle and be particularly careful with the seams, you may need to sort of press your thumb or fingers on them to keep them from separating. Use a knife to cut into four equal pieces, I think mine were about 4-5" square. Transfer these squares to your baking sheet. I lined mine with a silpat mat. Evenly divide your filling between the four squares. Fold them in half to form triangles and pinch and fold the edge closed. Cut a small slit in the top. If you want, take one egg, whisk it and the paint the top of each with egg, it will make it pretty, but won't alter the taste. I am too stingy and lazy. I used a milk wash (just brush the top with milk) instead. If you don't act fast with the pastry stage, your filling will break through the bottom, which is why I advise adding the filling once the pastry is already on the baking sheet. Pop them in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden brown and tasty looking. Be incredibly grateful that your leftovers will be far superior to the initial dinner.

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