Sunday, February 20, 2011

Chicken Pot pie -Comfort food

Though there was definitely spring in the air today bright and sunny and at last you can feel the days getting longer, there was still that nip of winter and felt like something comforting and warm. My thoughts turned to chicken pot pie.

This amount would make enough for 4 generous portions, we had 3 for dinner (a unusual occurrence on a Saturday night) and enough for 2 lunches in the fridge.

For the filling

  • 1 whole chicken (or equivalent in pieces)
  • 4 carrots 
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Bunch of fresh parsley
  • 2 medium potatoes cut in to chunks
  • 4 stalks of celery chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 3 tablespoons of butter

for the topping

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped herbs (1 tablespoon of dried)
  • About 3/4 cup of milk

Place the chicken in a large pot add 2 of the carrots  1/2 the onion and 1/2 the celery all roughly chopped the bay leaf and 1/2 the parsley add enough water to almost cover the chicken. Add a little salt at this point as well.

Bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer and cover for about 3/4 of an hour to an hour depending on the size of the chicken and whether it is cut up.  A whole chicken will take a little longer.

When it is done the chicken should be cooked through and just starting to fall of the bones. Drain the chicken keeping all those lovely cooking juices.  Discard the vegetables they have given all the cause let the chicken cool a little while you make the sauce. pour the chicken stock into a separator so that you can get rid of any fat.

Wash out the pan or if you are lucky enough to have lots of pots and someone else washing up use a clean one.  Add the butter melt it over a medium heat and then add the remaining onion, carrot and celery this time chopped up a little smaller.  Sweat them out until the onion is translucent and add the flour.  Mix it in to the butter forming a roux.

The vegetables and roux waiting for the chicken broth
pour about 2 cups of stock into the pot and stir well to make sure there are no lumps.

Now add the potatoes and simmer for a few minutes to start the potatoes cooking. While that is happening pull the chicken off the bones and cut into large chunks, add this to the sauce and stir.  Taste for salt and pepper, and add some more if it is needed and some more chopped parsley. Pour into an ovenproof casserole.

Just waiting for it's topping.
Make the biscuit topping.

Add the flour baking powder and salt to a mixing bowl rub or cut the butter in until it is the texture of very course breadcrumbs.  Add the chopped or dried herbs, I just used parsley this time but often I will add thyme and or sage. Mix enough milk in to make a soft dough that you can press out to about an inch thick.  Cut in to pieces with a cookie cutter.

Valentine is passed but it is still November so I used hearts. Place these on top of the filling overlap a little but not too much and it is alright if there are small gaps for the steam to escape.

Ready for the oven
 Place in a preheated 350 oven for about 20 minutes until the topping is golden and the biscuits are cooked though.  Also if you can stab a potato to make sure they are also cooked all the better.

The finished pie
If you are not inclined to make the biscuit topping you could use frozen puff pastry but these really are good.

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