Monday, November 7, 2011

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

Well it's been cold outside lately, and I thought some hearty comfort food would be perfect! 
 I got the inspiration for this super delicious chicken pot pie from my very favorite cook book. Betty Crocker has always been my go to for almost every recipe, but sometimes I like to take them from Betty to Bettie style. This recipe was called the 'Chicken Dinner Pie' in her book. 
My mom and I have been cooking out of her 1960's version since before I can remember. When I moved out she even found me a 1974 version of the book to have as my own! It is a very well loved cook book! I made some changes to the recipe, but it is so delicious! Enjoy! 

2 pie crusts (I bought mine pre-made to save on time)
2 sheets of puff pastry (freezer section! leave out on the counter to defrost while preparing recipe)
4 Tbs butter or margarine
4 Tbs flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp thyme
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup half and half (or cream, whatever you prefer!)
2 cups cubed cooked chicken* 
1/4 lb frozen peas
1 lb frozen sliced carrots
1 medium onion
1 egg
Non Stick Cooking Spray
*I've included how I cooked the chicken, but feel free to prepare it anyway you like!

Start by rolling out your pie crust. I roll mine with a rolling pin to get it a little thinner than it comes pre rolled. Spray your cupcake pan with a nonstick cooking spray. Cut the pie crust into large circles and place them into the pan. This recipe made exactly 14 mini pies and I had a little pie crust dough left over. Set the pie crusts aside while you get the rest ready.

For the peas & carrots, you can use canned, fresh, or frozen. I decided to go with frozen because they were on sale. 
 If you do use frozen, prepare your frozen peas and carrots as instructed on the label. The original recipe called for 1 lb of frozen peas (you can see in the picture above I used the whole lb while cooking), but as I was making the dish I was amazed at how many peas that was. I have a love/hate relationship with peas, and a love/love relationship with carrots, so I only used about 1/4 of the package of peas, and all of the carrots.

After I was done I strained my veggies, and chopped up the carrots into smaller pieces. If we were making a normal sized pie I don't think it would be necessary to cut them up, but since I work in mini size, I needed to miniaturize the carrots!
Chop up your onion, and in a pan with non stick spray cook them for about 2 minutes, until they are almost translucent. 
Next step is the chicken, I cut my chicken into small cubes (about the same size as the carrot pieces) and tossed them into a pan (non stick spray!) and cooked them all the way through with a little salt and pepper. The cooking time goes very quickly, seeing as how they are teeny tiny little pieces of chicken.e
By this point your kitchen should already be smelling delicious! I put my peas, carrots, onions, and chicken all into one bowl and set them aside to make the yummy gravy that goes in the pie! In a bowl, put in your flour, salt, pepper, and thyme in preparation for the next few steps, it makes it a whole lot easier on you!
In a medium/large pot melt the butter, once it is melted add the flour, salt, pepper, thyme and STIR STIR STIR as fast as you can to make sure there are no lumps! Here is what mine looked like after this point:
 Once all the ingredients are incorporated add the chicken broth and cream or half and half (I used half and half in this recipe). Something that is easy to do is to pre measure out all of the ingredients for the gravy because you are working pretty fast to make sure your butter doesn't burn. 
Keep stirring your mixture for about 4 minutes or until it is thick and creamy. You know you are done when you can scrape the bottom of the pot the gravy doesn't fill in that spatula spot right away.
Now add your chicken, peas, carrots, and onions directly into the gravy and stir it all up. Seriously you have to taste it at this point. Delish! If you need to add more salt and pepper, this would be the time to do it!
Use a ladle and fill up your mini pies. This is a good time to preheat your oven. Turn it to 350 degrees, and let it get all warm and toasty while you finish your pies!
Now your going to roll out your puff pastry dough. I add a little flour to the cutting board then lightly roll the puff pastry just to give it a little more stretching room, I rolled it enough to add about an inch in length and width. If you roll it too much though, it will not 'puff' just right, which of course I found out the hard way...
I cut one sheet into nine small squares.
 Wet the edges of the dough and you'll seal your mini pie in. This part gets kind of tricky seeing as how we are working with miniature pies! But try your best to get the puff pastry tucked around the outside of the regular pie crust. It doesn't have to be perfect, but try to get dough touching dough so that it seals up each mini pie. Here is a picture of one finished, and one that I just started:
 Poke some decorative holes in the top of each mini pie, this will also allow all of them to vent, so they don't explode in your oven.
Crimp around the edges of each pie with a fork to finish sealing them up. 

Last step is to beat up one egg in a bowl, and use your egg wash to brush on top of each pie. This helps give a beautiful golden crust! 
Pop them in the oven for 25 minutes. 
 Once they come out of the oven, let them cool for about 10 minutes and then eat away!!! If you want to freeze these, let them cool for about 2 hours before you package them up, it will help them hold their shape while they freeze.
Seriously, how good do these look?? 
It's a good hearty meal, and perfect for this time of year! Hope everyone is staying warm!!

Well hello there delicious chicken pie... Don't mind if I do!
cupcake bettie