Saturday, April 5, 2014

Chicken Pot, Chicken Pot, Chicken Pot Piiieeee!!!!

In my precious post, I mentioned how I have started making meals for other families in our community. There are some working Moms, friends, and Mom's that just don't like to cook, that don't have the time or motivation to get whole, made-from-scratch meals on the table. So I thought, with my obsession with cooking, it would be a perfect solution to start making multiples of the meals I was making for my family a couple of times a week, and sell them to these families. Well, it is working out really well, and everybody seems to like the situation. 

This is what I love about a community. We all have talents and resources that allow us to do different things. I happen to love meal planning, cooking, and feeding people. It is also a way to make a little extra money, and it allows some families to enjoy a home-cooked, whole food meal for a decent price. Its win win win!!!

So I've been making some favorites and some new dishes....a lot that are easily portable like casseroles, soups, salads, etc. I'll try to post some of these recipes on the site because they are all-in-one meals which I think are great, can be easily doubled or tripled, and are delicious and nutritious!! 

Here is my chicken pot pie. This is the way my Mom makes it, with maybe a few changes here and there. You can put whatever you want into a pie...but this is a great base chicken pot pie. 

I start with veggies - onion, celery, and carrot. The perfect base for any dish, really. I get them cooking in some butter. Then I add some red potatoes. 

I made the crust ahead of time. I'll include the recipe at the bottom. This is my FAVORITE pie crust recipe, and I use it for both savory and sweet pies. Next time I make it I'll take more pictures of the process for you. It is pretty simple, though!

The night before, I roasted 2 chicken breasts and 4 chicken thighs. This was for two pies. You can also use boiled chicken, roasted whole chicken....just any cooked chicken you have. I wouldn't recommend dicing chicken and cooking it though. I find chicken cooked that way to be tough and dry. I love roasting it!

To that, I add my spices: salt, pepper, thyme, and sage. These go great with chicken. Then I add some flour because that'll thicken the filling so it isn't just a soup in a crust. After the flour is mixed in, I add in chicken broth, and the peas! You have to have peas in chicken pot pie. I also add a dash of milk, just for a little creaminess.

I am a crust on the bottom-and-top kind of gal. Some people like it just on the top, but I love that juice-soaked crust on the bottom :).

There is the filling! So yummy.

Poke some holes in the top for ventilation...

Cooking in the oven!

I didn't get a great picture of the final product because I gave it to my friends hot out of the oven. And then I completely forgot when we were eating ours. I think you can get the picture from the filling pictures above though. I just love chicken pot pie...I'd eat it every week!

Chicken Pot Pie

This recipe is for one chicken pot pie, but can be easily doubled.

1/2 recipe pie crust, recipe below (2 disks)
1 1/2-2 cups cooked chicken, cut up
3 Tbs butter
1 sweet onion, diced
2 stalks celery (about a cup), chopped
3 large carrots, chopped into bite-sized rounds
2 large red potatoes - diced into small chunks
1 1/2 tsp salt (eyeball it) - taste at the end to adjust
1/2 tsp pepper
3/4 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp. sage
1/4 cup flour
1- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock - add enough so it is stew-like after thickening
1/2 cup whole milk or half-and-half

Saute the onion, celery, and carrot in the butter for about 10 minutes until starting to soften. Add potatoes and cook another 5-10 minutes. add the salt, pepper, thyme, and sage, combine and then add in the flour. Stir in the flour until you can't see it anymore, and then add the chicken stock. Stir until starting to thicken. Add in the chicken and peas, and heat through and let thicken some more. Add in milk and cook another 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll one disk of crust to just larger than your pie plate and lay it in the plate. Fill the crust with your filling. I use a deep dish pie plate. A smaller one wouldn't hold all the filling - you don't want your filling to "mound" because then it'll be more likely to make a mess all over your oven :). Roll out the second crust and top the pie. Cut of any excess crust and fold the edges together. You can decorate the crust however you like, just be sure to poke some holes in the top for ventilation.

Bake for 45 minutes or until crust is golden. Let cool at least 15 minutes before breaking into it and enjoy!

Fool-proof pie crust, my version

4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 Tbs. salt
1 Tbs. pure cane sugar
3 sticks cold butter
1/2 cup cold water
1 egg
1 Tbs. white vinegar

Combine flour, salt, and sugar. Use a pastry cutter or your fingers to incorporate butter into the flour until you get little pea-sized pieces of butter. Mix water, egg, and vinegar together and add to the flour mixture, and this will make the dough. You may need to take it out of the bowl and knead it a little to get it well combined. Divide into 4 equal sections and wrap. Place in the fridge for at least an hour. Take out 1/2 hour before you want to roll it out.

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