Chicken Pot Pie

Posted: April 24th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Dairy-free, Poultry | 2 Comments »

Chicken Pot Pies

My husband Ed and I are moving in less than a month, so lately I’ve been challenging myself to cook dinners from only what we have in the fridge/freezer/pantry, rather than going to the store to get new ingredients. Ok, so there might be a little laziness involved too, but it’s a fun challenge to make tasty food out of what we already have.

Tonight I decided to finally put to use the AWESOME Breville Pie Maker some dear friends gave to us as a wedding gift. Somewhat on the fly, I whipped up the filling, then broke out some puff pastry and pie maker and went to town. I may have overfilled the pies as I ended up with a bit of a mess, but honestly, they were still beautiful and quite tasty! I only made two pies tonight, but there was plenty of filling left for another four pies for dinner this week.

Don’t hesitate to experiment with this recipe, using different spices, filling ingredients, etc. What’s below is just what we had on hand. Onions, celery, and other veggies would have been great, too. The measurements are my best guess, so don’t feel too compelled to follow them precisely (except for the ratio of butter-flour-liquid).

Quick & Easy Chicken Pot Pies

INGREDIENTS
1-2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 potatoes
3/4 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup margarine (or butter)
1/3 cup flour
salt, to taste (about 1/2-1 teaspoon, depending on how salty your broth is)
pepper, to taste (about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon)
thyme, to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon)
2/3 cup soymilk (or regular milk)
Pepperidge Farms puff pastry (1 sheet makes 2 pies; recipe will make about 6 pies worth of filling)

DIRECTIONS

  1. About 40 minutes before you’re ready to make the pies, pull the puff pastry out of the freezer to defrost.
  2. Cut potatoes into small cubes. Put in salted water and bring to a boil. Boil till tender, 15-20 minutes, then drain.
  3. Cut chicken breast into cubes. Cut carrots into rounds. Put chicken and carrots in chicken broth with pepper, thyme, and salt to taste. Bring to a boil. Boil for 10-15 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
  4. In a skillet, melt butter or margarine over medium heat. When it’s entirely melted, add the flour and stir constantly for a few minutes. Then add the milk; continue stirring constantly – a whisk might be helpful. Pour in the chicken broth mixture and mix thoroughly. Cook over medium-low heat until the mixture thickens.
  5. Add the chicken mixture to the potatoes and stir. Add the frozen peas and continue to stir until heated through and distributed throughout.
  6. Heat up your pie maker by plugging it in. (It’s kind of like a waffle iron, with pie-shaped indentations.) Cut pie bottoms and lids out of puff pastry, using the molds that came with the pie maker. Place the larger piece in the bottom of the pie maker and press down with the tool that came with the pie maker to make an indentation. Put filling in pie – filling should be slightly below the crust level. Put the pastry lids on top of the filling and close the pie maker, making sure to latch it. Cook for 8 minutes, and you’re done! Easy as… PIE!! Hah.

Chicken Pot Pies


Tom Kha Gai

Posted: February 23rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Dairy-free, Poultry, Soup, Thai | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Tom Kha Gai

A few weeks ago we had a Thai-themed potluck at our house. It was a fantastic success. Tom kha gai! Cucumber salad! Banh mi! Spring rolls! Tea salad! Pineapple fried rice! Pumpkin curry! Pad thai! Sticky rice & mango! My contribution was tom kha gai, the delicious coconut milk soup that has always been my favorite Thai dish. I’d never cooked Thai food before, but it turned out to be incredibly easy. The catch is that you have to have access to some ingredients that might be hard to acquire, especially if you don’t live in a big city. But if you can find the ingredients, this soup is well worth making.

Tom Kha Gai

From CHOW

INGREDIENTS
4 cups chicken stock (Swanson’s Organic is good)
1/4 cup Thai fish sauce
Juice and zest of 1 lime
2 crushed kaffir lime leaves (if you can find them – if not, it’s okay to omit)
4-inch section lemongrass
1-inch section galangal, sliced (similar to ginger)
1/4 pound chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk (Chao Koh brand is good)
2 to 10 (to taste) small red thai chiles, slightly crushed
Cilantro leaves for garnish

DIRECTIONS

  1. Bring chicken stock, fish sauce, lemongrass, and galangal to a boil. Simmer 20 minutes. Strain if desired (the lemongrass and galangal is not edible).
  2. Add chicken pieces, coconut milk, and chiles. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add lime juice and zest and stir till mixed. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve.

Chicken Dumpling Soup

Posted: January 31st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Dairy-free, Other, Poultry, Soup | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Chicken Dumpling Soup

On Wednesday evening, my friend Morley came over for an evening of wine, soup, Obama, and studying. It was a good night. I had a bunch of bread-ends in the freezer that needed to be used up, so I decided to make chicken dumpling soup. The basic soup started with the chicken noodle soup recipe I posted not too long ago, but I omitted the noodles in lieu of dumplings. Morley had brought some lovely farm share leeks so I chopped those up and added them to the stock, which added a lovely, subtle new dimension. I’d never made dumplings before so I kind of winged it but it turned out great! The dumplings were a perfect, slightly sweet, spiced foil for the salty soup, and they stayed together wonderfully (much to my surprise). I used this recipe as a starting point for the dumplings, but ended up changing it pretty heavily. Here’s how I did it.

Chicken Dumpling Soup

INGREDIENTS

One batch of my chicken noodle soup, omitting the noodles and adding one chopped leek at the same time you add the onions, celery, and garlic.

6 cups bread crumbs (I used the ends of a few loaves of Orowheat whole wheat bread, pulverized in the blender)
1 cup soy milk (or real milk, or cream — I used soy so Ed could eat them)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 whole egg + the yolk of another egg
Olive oil for frying (a couple tablespoons)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Make chicken soup per the other recipe.
  2. While the soup is boiling, whisk together bread crumbs, salt, nutmeg, thyme, turmeric, nutritional yeast, and pepper.
  3. Add soymilk and mix well. Allow to soak in for a few minutes.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and egg yolk well. Add to the breadcrumb mixture and mix well. Roll into 1 1/4 inch balls and place on parchment paper. They’ll be a little mushy but don’t worry about it.
  5. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and heat it.
  6. Place evenly spaced dumplings in frying pan, minding the fact that it might spatter. Don’t place the dumplings too close to each other or they’ll be difficult to turn.
  7. When dumplings are dark golden brown on one side, turn them to another side and cook till it’s dark golden brown too. Repeat as many times as necessary until all sides are golden brown and crispy.
  8. Keep the dumplings separate from the soup. Add them to each bowl just prior to serving. They stay together fairly well in the soup, but not much longer than the time it takes to eat it. To reheat dumplings (as serving as leftovers), microwave them for 30 seconds before adding them to hot soup.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Posted: January 6th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Dairy-free, Pasta, Poultry, Soup | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

Chicken Noodle Soup

My poor Ed has come down with some sort of sickness, so I decided to make him some chicken noodle soup from scratch. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go back to canned soup now. This stuff turned out downright amazing. I combined a recipe for chicken soup from the January 2010 issue of Martha Stewart Living and this recipe by Tyler Florence and came up with this. Tasty tasty. Comfort food at its best.

NOTE: I have edited this a bit since I first posted it. Tweaked the quantities to make more soup happen! It’s great reheated. I’ve also made a few variations since I originally posted it: adding leftover spiced rice or dumplings instead of noodles, adding leeks, etc. I’ll post the dumpling recipe soon…

Chicken Noodle Soup

Adapted from Martha Stewart Living, January 2010, and Tyler Florence

Yield: About 8 servings

INGREDIENTS

2 lbs chicken thighs (about 5 thighs) (frozen or thawed, doesn’t really matter)
14 cups water
3 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed
3 celery stalks, sliced in half lengthwise then chopped
3 carrots, peeled and cut into rounds
1 small jalapeno pepper, cut into rounds (optional)
6-8 oz. wide egg noodles (or rice, or dumplings, or whatever you’d like)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Bring chicken, water, salt, pepper, bay leaf and thyme to a boil.
  2. Add onions, celery and garlic. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, 30 minutes.
  3. Remove chicken thighs. Add carrots. Simmer, partially covered, 30 minutes.
  4. While soup is simmering, remove chicken from the bone by using two forks. Pull into bite-sized pieces. Add bones back to soup as you’re going.
  5. When 30 minutes is up, add egg noodles. Taste broth and add more salt or pepper if it’s needed. I added a bit more salt. When in doubt, add more salt.
  6. Turn up the heat a bit and cook, uncovered, until noodles are tender — about 10-12 minutes.
  7. Add chicken back into soup and stir until it’s heated. Remove bones. Adjust salt and pepper as necessary. At the very end, add jalapeno peppers.

I love how easy it is to make soup!


Coconut Chicken (or Tofu) & Rice

Posted: December 7th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Dairy-free, Poultry, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Coconut Chicken & Rice

Tonight was one of those nights. I got home from work and asked Ed, “Have you thought about dinner yet?” “I would like to eat it.” “Yeah, me too.” Both of us were feeling pretty apathetic about the whole thing and neither of us had a clue what we wanted to eat. Being accustomed to eating out all the time, we have these nights pretty regularly now that we’re trying to cook at home more often.

I decided I would make something with chicken and rice, since we had both readily available. But what kind of chicken and rice? “Chicken and rice” sounds so utterly boring. I searched the internet and came up with a million recipes involving cream of mushroom soup. No thanks. Even if that was something I stocked my pantry with — and it’s not — Ed would never in a million years be able to eat it. Finally, I happened across this recipe — a breath of fresh air! I decided to spice it up a bit, leaving out the things I didn’t have (pimiento, saffron, green peppers) and adding a bunch of things I did (coconut milk, raisins, red peppers, and a bunch of spices). The result was hearty and delicious — salty, sweet, and subtly spicy: an updated version of the classic cream of mushroom soup recipes. Perfect fare for those freezing nights when all you want to do is eat some comfort food and curl up with a good book.

This dish is also dairy and gluten free, and can easily be made vegan by substituting cubes of tofu for the chicken. And did I mention it was incredibly easy to make? Just leave a bit of time for it to bake; it needs to be in the oven about an hour and a half.

Coconut Chicken & Rice

Yield: 4 large servings, plus extra rice
Time to cook: 1 1/2 hours, plus a few minutes of prep

INGREDIENTS

4 1/2-lb pieces of chicken (I used 2 bone-in thighs and two boneless skinless breasts) (replace with 1 pound of firm tofu, cut into 1cm cubes for vegan)
2 cups short grain brown rice
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 small cloves garlic, smashed
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 oz frozen green peas (half of a 16-oz. package)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
3/4 cup raisins (I used thompson flame raisins)
1 13.5oz can of coconut milk
1 1/4 cups water (stock would be tasty too, I bet)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Heat a cast-iron dutch oven (or similar heavy, oven-safe pan) over med-high and add olive oil. Sautee pepper and onion until onions are starting to get translucent and soft.
  2. Turn off the heat and add all other ingredients except chicken (or tofu). Stir well, till everything is mixed. The veggies will float but that’s okay.
  3. If using chicken, dunk chicken pieces into the mixture till submerged, then bring them back out and rest them on top of it (chicken will be submerged about halfway). Sprinkle a little more kosher salt over the tops of the chicken pieces. If using tofu, just mix the cubes of tofu in with the rest of the ingredients. Cover the pot and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Remove cover and cook for 5 more minutes. That’s it!

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