Chicken Pot Pie

slice of pie

Chicken pot pie is one of those comfort foods from my childhood I always craved. But this is not your pop-in-the-oven Swanson’s pot pie; it involves a few hours of chopping and stirring. But your reward will be a fresh-tasting delicious pie that’s worth all the trouble.

This deep-dish pot pie serves 6. I only make a top crust. You can make the crust the day before and refrigerate it as a plastic wrapped disk. Roll in out right before you make the gravy.

veggies for pot pie

I use my pie crust recipe for one crust:

1 1/2 cups all purpose  flour, divided

1/2 tsp salt (I use sea salt)

1 cube (8 Tb) cold butter

1 Tb frozen shortening (Crisco)

1 large egg yolk

1 -2 Tb ice water.  I fill up a small cup with cold water and ice cubes and let it sit a few minutes, then measure it out.

2 tsp white vinegar

1 egg white to brush inside crust

Add 1 cup flour and salt to food processor and pulse a few times to mix. Add butter and shortening and pulse until it becomes a paste. Break up the dough with a knife and then add 1/2 cup flour and pulse until the flour-coated butter pieces range from from pea-sized to crumbles. Empty processor into a medium mixing bowl.

Mix vinegar with 1 Tb ice water and egg yolk.  Add this to the flour and fat mixture and gently fold and press it into the dough with a fork. Drizzle in more ice water, one teaspoon at a time, until it’s moist. Gather it into a ball then flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 10 minutes.

After dough has chilled for 10 minutes, pull out dough for bottom crust. You will now layer the dough with the fraisage technique. Pull an egg-sized piece off the disk and press down on a lightly floured surfaces with the palm of your hand, sliding forward about 4 inches. Set it aside and repeat with the rest of the dough, layering the each piece of flattened dough on top of it. Form a ball and then a disk and re-wrap in plastic and refrigerate while you make the pie filling.

Vegetable and Chicken Filling

2 ½ cups chicken stock. Use Roz’s Jewish Chicken Soup for best results

8-10 small or 20 tiny white pearl onions

2 large boneless, skinless chicken half-breasts, cubed

2 large Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed

3 large carrots, cubed

5 outside stalks of celery, cubed

About 10-12 medium white mushrooms, quartered

2 small zucchini, cubed

½ lb English peas, shelled (If you can’t find fresh ones, substitute 1 cup frozen peas)

Directions:

Chop the chicken and vegetables ahead of time. You can shell the peas while the veggies are cooking.

Place the cubed carrots, potatoes, celery and chicken in a separate bowl to cook together.

Quarter the mushrooms and place in their own bowl.

Place the boiled onions, cubed zucchini, the shelled peas in separate bowls as well.

Heat chicken stock to boil. Place pearl onions in boiling stock for 3 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon to cool on a plate or cutting board.

Stir cubed potatoes, carrots, celery and chicken into boiling stock. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 8 – 10 minutes. Remove from stock with a slotted spoon, into a large bowl. Add mushrooms to stock and cook for a couple of minutes. Add zucchini to mushrooms and cook for just one minute. Remove vegetables with a slotted spoon in to the bowl with the other vegetables.

Cut the root end off the onions and squeeze the onion out from its skin, and put in the bowl.
Mix all the cooked vegetables and chicken together with uncooked shelled peas in the large bowl, then set aside.

Remeasure the stock, adding more if necessary. Place in refrigerator to cool.

Remove chilled pie dough from refrigerator. Roll between two sheets of plastic wrap out to approximately 1 ½ inches beyond the edge of the casserole edge.  Set it back into the refrigerator to rest about 10 minutes while you make the gravy. Let it warm up on the counter for another 10 minutes.

pot pie without crust

Gravy:

4 Tb butter

1/3 cup flour

1 1/2 cups chicken stock

3/4 cup milk or oat milk

1 Tb white wine or dry sherry

½ tsp dried thyme or 1 tsp fresh thyme, minced finely

Several grinds black pepper

1 to 1 1/4 tsp sea salt, to taste

In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Whisk in flour and continue whisking over medium heat for several minutes. Add pepper and thyme and continue to whisk. Whisk in cold chicken stock, milk and wine. Add salt to taste, starting with ½ tsp then slowly up to 1 1/4 tsp, depending on the saltiness of your broth and your taste. Cook over medium-high heat until gravy thickens, then cook a few more minutes, whisking constantly.

Assembling the pie

unbaked pot pie

Heat oven to 425◦

Pour the gravy over the mixed vegetables and chicken in the large bowl and stir until the gravy is mixed in with them. Grease or spray a 2.5 liter (10.5 cup) casserole bottom and sides with nonstick spray. If you have a pie bird, place it in the middle. Pour the chicken and vegetables into the casserole, making sure the gravy is mixed well. With a large spoon, make a mound in the middle of the filling, so that the sides are lower than the middle.

If you are using a pie bird, cut a small hole or slot for it in the middle of the crust. Carefully lift the crust so that is centered over the pie. Crimp the edges of the crust with your fingers. If you aren’t using a pie bird, cut a few slits in the crust so that the steam can escape.

To avoid burning the edges of the pie, place a pie shield over them or cover them with foil. Place the casserole in the middle of the oven. Bake for 30 -35 minutes until crust is crispy and browned. Let the pie cool a bit before cutting it. The gravy will thicken as it cools.

baked chicken pot pie

Mac and Cheese with Cauliflower and Broccoli

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This grown-up version of the classic comfort food gets heat from cayenne, white pepper and dry mustard, and sharp flavor from extra sharp cheddar, Gouda and Parmesan, and a kick from the Chardonnay. I add cauliflower which is good on its own with the cheese sauce, and if you like, broccoli for extra color.
Preheat oven to 375◦

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Serves 6 – 8

Ingredients                                                                                                                                          ½ large onion (or 1 small onion)
1 large head cauliflower
1 head broccoli
2 Tb butter

1 cup elbow macaroni. I used whole wheat for extra nutrition.
1 tsp salt

Panko or regular breadcrumbs if desired

Sauce:

¼ cup butter
¼ cup all purpose flour
a few shakes cayenne to taste
¼ tsp dry mustard
1 bay leaf
¼ tsp white pepper
½ tsp salt
1 ¾ cups milk (I use 1%)
¼ cup dry white wine such as chardonnay
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup grated Gouda cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Melt butter in heavy frying pan. Finely chop onion and stir into butter over medium-low heat until soft. While the onions are cooking, slice cauliflower and broccoli and cut into flowerets. Stir into onion mixture and cook for 20 minutes until vegetables are tender. Alternatively, you can roast the cauliflower in the oven and add to the onions and broccoli.

Boil a large pot full of water. Stir in salt and macaroni and cook for 10 minutes over medium heat until soft. Drain. Pour back into the pot. Stir the cauliflower and broccoli into the macaroni.

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Sauce directions
Melt butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Sift in flour, cayenne, mustard, salt and white pepper, and whisk until it makes a smooth paste. Cook the roux for 5 minutes, whisking constantly. Slowly whisk in milk until smooth. Add bay leaf. Cook this béchamel sauce for 15 minutes, whisking often.

Turn off heat. Remove bay leaf. Whisk in grated cheese until fully incorporated in sauce. Whisk in ¼ cup wine. Adjust salt and cayenne if desired.
Pour cheese sauce over macaroni and vegetables and stir until it is well combined. Spray a large casserole with non-stick spray. Pour mixture into casserole. Top with breadcrumbs or panko if desired.

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Bake at 375◦ for 20 minutes, until the top is nicely browned.

Steel-cut oats oatmeal with apples and nuts

???????????????????????????????This fiber-rich, creamy and crunchy oatmeal will stick to your ribs on these cold winter mornings when you need something to warm you up and keep you going.

I used the quick-cooking steel cut oats from Trader Joe’s. They cook in only 8 minutes. Nuts add crunch and protein, and apples and/ or raisins add sweetness and fiber. This recipe serves 2, but you can double or triple it to store some for those weekday mornings when you need a quick warm-up before work. It’s all-natural, so much better than those instant oatmeal packets.

Serves 2

1 1/2 cups water

a few shakes salt

1/2 cup quick-cooking steel cut oats

2 Tb ground flax seed

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 apple (I used a honey crisp apple)

1/4 cup raisins

1/2 cup walnut pieces

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1/4 cup milk

1 Tb cream (optional)

pure maple syrup or brown sugar (optional)

Peel and chop the apple into bite-size pieces. Bring water to a boil. Add salt, oatmeal. flax seed, cinnamon, apple and raisins. Lower heat and cover pot, and cook for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat and stir in nuts and milk for one minute. Pour into bowls and add a tablespoon of cream for a treat. If you desire added sweetness, add maple syrup or brown sugar to taste.

Gluten-free Cornbread

???????????????????????????????To make gluten-free cornbread, I substituted masa harina, the corn flour used to make tortillas or tamales, for wheat flour in my cornbread recipe. The result was a fluffy textured cornbread which had a taste of tortillas. I added a bit more salt. You can put rosemary in it if you like.

Ingredients:

masa harinamasa harina

1 cup 1% milk

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 cup cornmeal

1/2 cup masa harina

¼ cup ground flax-seed

1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary (about a one-inch sprig) optional

3/4  tsp salt

1 Tb sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup applesauce

1/4 cup olive oil

2 eggs

Preheat oven to 425’

Add vinegar to milk and let it curdle while you mix the other ingredients.

Sift baking powder and baking soda. Stir in the rest of the dry ingredients and rosemary if using, and mix well.

Mix eggs with milk in a separate bowl, then stir in applesauce and oil until well mixed. Pour into dry ingredients. Mix with a large spoon only until ingredients are combined.

Spray an 8 inch square pan with olive oil spray. Pour in batter.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Delicious out of the pan, or use for making Low-fat cornbread sage stuffing with chestnuts and apples.

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2 Spinach & Vegetable Quiches

What do I do when I buy a huge bag of spinach leaves on sale for only $1.87?
First I make a lot of spinach salads including Raspberry Pecan Salad, then spinach over easySpanakopita, Lebanese Spinach Pies, and throw it in Linguine with Prawns, and then I make spinach quiche. 
Since there’s so much spinach, I made a few quiches and experimented with the ingredients. I used 6 cups of spinach per quiche, and added half the spinach at a time so it would fit in the pan. It wilts quickly so you can add the rest after a couple of minutes. Of course you can make these quiches with frozen spinach. I won’t tell anyone.
 
I made the crust using pie crust and the same custard for Broccoli and Veggie
 
Quiche
First make the custard. You can use this custard for either quiche.
 Custard:
Whisk together until well blended:
3/4 cup warm milk (heat in microwave in a glass measuring cup)
2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
a few shakes pepper
For each quiche, I used 6 cups fresh spinach. Here are two variations:
 quiche w slice out
Spinach Quiche with mushrooms, bacon and red bell pepper: (This can be made without bacon and still satisfy!)
2 tsp olive oil
1 large red onion, chopped
½ red bell pepper, chopped
3 large white mushrooms, sliced
2 pieces crumbled bacon (discard fat)
2 one-inch sprigs finely minced rosemary
1 cup grated Jarlsberg cheese
1 egg for painting crust
 
Preheat oven to 425◦Sauté red onion and red bell pepper in olive oil until they soften. Add sliced mushrooms and rosemary. When mushrooms are soft, transfer vegetables to a bowl.

Add 6 cups spinach to the pan, cooking over low heat until spinach wilts. Transfer to a colander and press the water from the spinach. When spinach is cool enough to handles, pick it up and squeeze all the water out of the spinach. Mix it with the bacon and the other vegetables.

Cover the pie crust with parchment or foil and weigh it down with pie weights or beans on top. Blind bake crust for 15 minutes at 425◦

Remove from oven and paint an beaten egg on the bottom of the crust to prevent sogginess. Add leftover egg to custard. Bake for another 5 minutes to set the egg and brown the sides of the crust.

Lower oven temperature to 375◦

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Place the pie crust on a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet lined with foil. Sprinkle 3/4 cup of the Jarlsberg cheese on bottom of pie crust, reserving a few tablespoons.

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Put the vegetable mixture on top. Pour the custard over it until it’s about 1/2 inch below the top of the crust. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Pour custard over vegetables. Sprinkle with reserved Jarlsberg cheese. Cover with a pie shield to protect crust from burning.

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Bake for 40 min in 375◦ oven until top begins to brown and an inserted knife comes out clean. Cool before eating.

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Spinach Quiche with Rainbow Roasted Vegetables and feta
 quiche in tart pan
You can make this in a pie pan or a tart pan.
 6 cups fresh spinach or 1 cup frozen spinach
I cup Rainbow Roasted Vegetables, chopped
3 Tb crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup grated Jarlsberg cheese. (You can substitute Swiss cheese, but I like the nutty taste of Jarlsberg)
1 egg for painting crust
Custard:
Whisk together until well blended:
1 cup warm milk
2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
a pinch of white pepper
 Preheat oven to 375◦
Wilt spinach and remove with a slotted spoon, squeezing out liquid, and place in a medium bowl. If using frozen spinach, microwave with a little drizzle of water, then drain in a sieve, squeezing all the liquid out. This is important if you don’t want a waterlogged quiche!
Stir in roasted vegetables and crumbled feta cheese.
 pie crust with parchment and pie weights
Place parchment paper or foil on top of the crust and cover with ceramic pie weights or beans to prevent the crust from puffing up.  Blind bake the crust for 15 minutes at 425. 
Remove the pie weights and parchment.
Paint an egg on the bottom of the crust to prevent sogginess. Add leftover egg to custard.
egg baked on crust
Bake again for 5 minutes to set the egg.
Let cool on a rack for a few minutes.
 Sprinkle most of the Jarlsberg cheese on bottom of pie crust, reserving a few tablespoons.

Add spinach,vegetable and feta mixture

Pour custard  over vegetables.Sprinkle reserved Jarlsberg cheese on top.Cover the edges of the pan with a pie sheld to prevent the edges from getting burned.Bake for 30 min in 375◦ oven until top begins to brown and an inserted knife comes out clean. Cool to room temperature before eating.quiche slice

kneydlekh קניידלעך Matzo Ball Soup

I make Matzo balls, what my mom calls kneydlekh קניידלעך in Yiddish ki -NAY- dl-ekh (make the last sound (ekh) by clearing your throat), for special occasions like Passover and Rosh Hashanah, or just to help the heal a bad cold. Serve them in Roz’s Jewish Chicken Soup

Are you wondering if adding baking powder is kosher for Passover? All I can say is that the Manischewitz matzo ball mix which is kosher for Passover contains sodium bicarbonate and monocalcium phosphate which are the active ingredients of baking powder. So if they can make their matzo balls light and fluffy with that, so can I!

Makes about 15 medium matzo balls (1/4 recipe in parentheses)
4 (1) large eggs
2 (1/2) tsp schmalz (rendered chicken fat). Use the fat that rises to the top of the soup
(vegetarian version: use 1/4 cup (1 Tb) oil only)
3 Tb (2 1/4 tsp) canola or vegetable oil
1 tsp (1/4 tsp) garlic infused olive oil
1 (1/4) cup matzo meal
2 (1/2) tsp salt
1/4 tsp (a shake) white pepper
1 tsp (1/4 tsp) baking powder
1 Tb (3/4 tsp) minced parsley leaves
1/2 tsp (1/8 tsp) dried or 1 Tb (3/4 tsp) fresh minced dill weed
 
1 TB (3/4 tsp) schmaltz added to boiling water
1/4 cup (1 Tb) soup added to boiling water
 
 

Whisk eggs in a medium bowl with schmalz and oil.

Mix herbs, matzo meal, baking soda, salt and pepper in a separate bowl. Gently fold into the egg mixture.

Cover bowl and refrigerate for 40 minutes

While dough is resting in the fridge, boil a large pot of water (at least a gallon). Add a tablespoonful (3/4 tsp) of schmalz (unless you’re making vegetarian ones) and 1/4 cup (1 Tb) soup. This will give the kneydlekh more flavor. If you have plenty of soup, you can just boil the kneydlekh in the soup.

Wet your hands and roll  about 12 (4) golf-ball sized matzo balls. Put them on a plate

Drop them in the boiling water. Cover pot tightly and lower heat to simmer. Cook for 40 minutes. Balls will double in size and should be soft. If you are going to store them for later, place them in a container with just enough broth to cover.

You can sprinkle more dill and parsley on the soup when serving.

Olive Oil Cornbread

olive oil cornbreadThis light cornbread is super moist from olive oil, applesauce and corn kernels. I added ground flax seed for its Omega-3 benefits.

Ingredients:

1 cup 1% milk

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 cup cornmeal

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

½ tsp salt

1 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

1 Tb ground flax seed

2 eggs

½ cup applesauce

¼  cup olive oil

½ tsp honey

½ cup frozen or fresh corn kernels

1 Tablespoon butter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425’ Add vinegar to milk and let it curdle while you mix the other ingredients. Place corn kernels in a small bowl with a splash of water and microwave for two minutes. Set aside to cool.

Sift white flour with baking powder and baking soda. Stir in the rest of the dry ingredients and mix well.

In a separate bowl, whisk eggs with applesauce, oil, honey and milk. Pour into dry ingredients. Add corn, then mix with a large spoon only until ingredients are combined. Spray bottom and sides of an 8 inch square pan with nonstick spray. Add  1 tablespoon butter and place pan in the hot oven for a couple of minutes while the butter melts. Tip pan to distribute butter evenly on the bottom of the pan. Pour in batter. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Nice with soups or stews.

Rosemary and olive oil cornbread

 

Thanksgiving Recipes

I am delighted to share my posts for a Thanksgiving feast. I am thankful that you have taken the time to read my posts and perhaps tried out the recipes. Happy Thanksgiving! Roz

Thanksgiving Turkey

chunky-kabocha-soup-with-appeal

Chunky Kabocha Soup with Appeal

???????????????????????????????Kabocha Squash Coconut Soup

Two Autumn Fruit Salads: Sweet and Spinach

serving in casserole

Green Beans with Chestnuts

Light as a feather cream biscuits

Fruit juice sweetened, no sugar Jellied Cranberry Sauce

Low fat creamy garlic mashed potatoes

Rosemary and olive oil cornbread

Abuelita Luz’s Camote con leche (Yam Pudding)

fluted pie crust

pie crust

DSC03214Pumpkin Pie

pie slice

Drunken Pecan Sweet Potato Pie

Tortillas de maíz hechas a mano – Homemade corn tortillas

Today I am posting my 100th blog entry! I wanted to make it special. I am posting my handmade tortillas because one of my first recipes was I’ve perfected this soup by popping  homemade tortillas into the broth.

I am fortunate to work in the Fruitvale section of East Oakland, near La Finca tortilleria which sells both their own tortillas and the fresh masa (dough). I’ve bought their tortillas for years, because I love to take home a warm package and because they are preservative-free. I recently dug out my tortilla press and began making my own tortillas from their fresh masa. This is stone-ground nixtamal, corn soaked in a lime mixture.

You can also make decent tortillas from dry masa. Mix 1 cup of the masa to a bit more than 3/4 cup water in a bowl. The dough should not be dry (the balls of dough should not crack) or too wet.

The trick was to make the tortillas not stick to the pan or come out misshapen. The key is to have the comal hot enough and to handle the tortilla carefully so it doesn’t bunch up. My friend and colleague Maria  helped me perfect my tortillas and showed me how to make them puffy by pressing on them lightly after turning.

Here’s the drill: Heat a comal or heavy frying pan. Spread a long piece of plastic wrap over the inside of the tortilla press. Roll a golf-ball size piece of masa into a ball and place it slightly off  the middle towards the back of the bottom press.

Flatten it a little bit with your hand, then close the press and press the handle down. Don’t press so hard that the tortilla is too thin and squishes out beyond the edges. When you open the press, the masa should make a perfect circle.

Carefully peel one piece of the plastic off the tortilla. Holding the loose plastic over your hand, flip the tortilla on your hand.

Then carefully pull off the other side of the plastic. Flip the tortilla back on  your bare hand.

Slide the tortilla on the hot comal so that it lies flat on the comal. I usually can fit about 3 tortillas on my comal.

Heat the tortilla until the sides begin to dry out and start to curl up slightly. (Don’t turn them too soon or they will crumple and stick.)

You should be able to flip them with your hand, although you can use a spatula if you wish. If the comal is hot enough, they won’t stick. Heat the other side for half as long. Both sides should be lightly toasted. Flip it one more time and press your fingertips on them several times.

This somehow makes them puff up, which looks really cool.

Tonight we had tacos de Tinga de Pollo with homemade tortillas.

I love quesadillas with grated or sliced cheese on the puffy tortillas.

Broccoli and Veggie Quiche for a Nursing Mother

My cousin just had a baby and I wanted to make her a quiche rich in calcium and easy on the spices. I included broccoli which is rich in calcium (178 mg per cup) and sharp cheddar which complements the broccoli. I topped it with sliced heirloom tomatoes, because well, they are in season and also complement the cheese. For flavor and color I added a bit of fresh thyme, red onion, red bell pepper and a couple of large mushrooms. I used 1% milk but it came out nice and creamy.

Make a single pie crust using my pie crust recipe.

Then brush a beaten egg in the bottom to guard against sogginess from the filling. (One egg will be more than enough to cover the pie bottom. Add the leftover egg to the custard.)

Preheat oven to 375◦

Filling ingredients: Makes 1 quiche (using a 9” pie pan)

Filling:

1 tsp olive oil

1 small broccoli with stem

1 very small red onion

1 red bell pepper

2 large mushrooms

1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves

1/4   tsp salt

1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 medium tomato (I used an heirloom tomato)

Custard:

1 cup milk

2 eggs

1/4 tsp salt

Slice onion and bell pepper and sauté in 1 tsp olive oil. Slice mushroom and add to sauté.

Strip the outer peel from the broccoli stem and slice broccoli stem. The stem is actually quite tender underneath the tough peel. Slice florets and discard lower branches. Add to vegetables with fresh thyme leaves and salt. Continue to sauté until the broccoli and other vegetables are well cooked, but broccoli florets are still a bright green.

For the custard, I warmed the milk for a minute in the microwave. Beat eggs, and add milk and salt. I used the blender, but you can beat it with a whisk instead.

Place 1/4 cup grated cheese on the bottom of each crust and add the vegetables. Pour in the custard. It should be at least 1/2 inch below the top of the pan, otherwise it will spill all over the oven!

Slice 1/2 of a  medium heirloom tomato into 3 rather thin slices and place them atop the custard. Sprinkle on the rest of the cheese. Bake for 30-40 min in 375◦ oven until top begins to brown and an inserted knife comes out clean. Cool before eating.