Thursday, October 15, 2009

Gastronomy: Chicken Potpie, an Ageless Classic

I love to try new recipes and experiment with flavor profiles. There is something incredibly gratifying about creating a new concoction that actually turns out, because, let’s be honest, many times innovation in the kitchen leads to a disastrous meal. Any home cook can relay a long list of first time recipes that turned out very badly. Even so, we keep trying.

In my opinion, however, only one kitchen activity rivals the trials and joys of experimentation: Making a classic dish—the kind of dish that has been tested, full-proof, and passed down through generations. A dish, that time-after-time, satisfies you and your guests. One of my all time favorite classics is Chicken Potpie.

Meat pies mixed with vegetables have been around since the Middle Ages. Potpies were described as a crusted pastry made with poultry or meat and, usually, chopped vegetables. These pies were an affordable meal for modest dwelling families and rural workers—providing comfort and nourishment to get through brutal winters. Sound familiar? That’s because the rules of making a potpie have scarcely changed. The traditional chicken potpie in America has also been around since the late 17th Century and today, over 200 years later, the potpie remains a family staple that brings sustenance and comfort even on the coldest of days.

Chicken Potpie

3 large chicken breasts, boiled and shredded into large chunks
4 large carrots, roughly sliced
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 Russet potatoes, skinned and cubed
1 c frozen peas
½ stick unsalted butter
¼ c flour

8 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
1 package frozen puff pastry
1 egg, plus 1 T water to brush over pastry
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take out puff pastry to thaw according to package directions.

In large pot, melt butter in a large sauté pan; add shallot and cook until soft and translucent. Add flour to create roux. Add chicken stock, making sure to deglaze pan. Add carrot and potatoes. Bring to a hard simmer until sauce thickens and vegetables soften. Add peas and chicken; cook another five minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place mixture in casserole dish and cool down (about 15 minutes). Cut puff pastry to fit over pot pie and brush with egg wash. Bake for 45 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and the casserole is bubbly. Serve with a robust Chardonnay.

Serves 6

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Anonymous October 21, 2009 at 10:38 AM  

Wow. does that look good.

Anonymous October 21, 2009 at 12:06 PM  

Chick, chick, chicky-chick!

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After becoming mothers, sisters Sarah Romine and Leah Weyandt wanted to marry the activities and interests that they experienced before motherhood with their new found lives with children. This was not always an easy task—traveling to obscure places, shopping at off-beat boutiques, and sipping lazy-afternoon cocktails doesn't always fit neatly with parenthood. Stemming from their frustration, they meticulously searched, and continue to search, for activities, establishments, and entertainment that they take pleasure in and their families benefit from. The result? Mod City Mom.

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