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Chicken Pot Pie

Happy New Year everyone! As the holiday season ends its time to start thinking about getting back to reality! My swift kick of reality hit me this morning when I realized I needed to make food for myself for the upcoming work week. While I was cooking for myself, I also decided to make some food for my grandparents. For the past year or so I’ve been making my grandparents freezer meals because they aren’t as able to prepare meals as they once were. Today I made them chicken pot pie! This has become a staple that I make sure they have in their freezer all the time! Preparing the meal is a little labour intensive, especially if your knife skills are as bad as mine, but I guarntee its worth it in the end! I made a large batch today which has given me 3 pans of chicken pot pie (20ish servings). If you don’t want so much, I recommend halving the recipe!

Ingredients

8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 quart of vegetable broth (poaching liquid)

1 bunch of celery (finely diced)

4 large carrots (finely diced)

3 medium onlions (finely diced)

2 large yams (finely diced)

2 cartons of low sodium chicken broth

8 tbsp whole wheat flour

8 tbsp butter or margarine

2 tbsp thyme (dried) (use more if you use fresh)

3 tbsp za’atar seasoning mix *see note below about this seasoning*

1 tbsp celery seed (not celery salt!)

2 slices of thick cut double smoked bacon

2 packages of tendercrisp puff pastry

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup milk

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Method 1. Poach the chicken breasts in vegetable broth. This will take approximately 15 – 20 minutes.

** Note, if you’ve never poached chicken before it is a cooking method that I highly recommend, especially if you’re re-heating the chicken later. Poaching is a very healthy way to cook meat, as it renders and separates most of the fat, and leaves the meat incredibly juicy. I wouldn’t recommend using the broth afterwards. If you need to make sure you take out all of the fat and oils left from the chicken.

2. While the chicken is poaching fry the bacon on low. You’re bacon won’t burn, or taste over done if you cook it on low. For bacon lovers its hard (I know!!) to wait for bacon to cook, but the results speak for themselves!

3. In a soup pot cook the vegetables with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Continuiously stir the vegetables, as you don’t want any to burn on the bottom.

4. Once the vegetables are mostly cooked through add the cooked chicken (diced), and the bacon. Stir and add both cartons of chicken broth.

5. While everything in the pot comes to a boil make a roux. To make a roux add the butter and flour into a saucepan and cook on med-high until the butter has melted and the flour has begun to cook. This usually takes about 2-3 minutes. Once the roux has cooked add it to the soup pot and mix with a whisk vigorously.

6. Mix in 1/2 of milk once the mixture in the soup pot has thicked.

7. Once the mixutre has thicked portion equally into pyrex dishes. Leave 1.5 inches from the top of the pyrex.

8. Let the mixture cool a bit in the pyrex dish before putting on the puff pastry. While the mixture is cooling roll out the puff pastry to fit 1 inch over the pyrex dish. Once the mixture is room temperature put the puff pastry over top.

To Cook

Take out of freezer and bake for 75 minutes at 375 degrees. If you like, brush 1 large egg (well whisked), over top to make golden brown.

Notes:

1. Za’tar is a great thyme seasoning mix from Palestine. Check the hyperlink for more information. In Canada it can be purchased at Ten Thousand Villages locations for $6. Its well worth the money if you can find it!

2. Potatoes vs Yams. Traditionally potatoes are the starch in chicken pot pie. I have to say, I need a break from the traditional potato. Potatoes are very starchy, and are more for texture than for flavor. Yams or Sweet Potatoes have less starch and more flavor, they’re also better for your belt buckles.

3. To pea or not to pea?! Frozen peas are boring in my opinion! Why not add sweetness from the yams?

Hope you enjoy everybody!!

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