Comport food: in cold weather, nothing sticks to your bones better than delicious, hearty pot pies.
The warm and creamy Chicken Pot Pie speaks volumes. It is the ultimate comfort food. It will feed a family with its bread, meat, and vegetables and is marvelously satisfying. The beauty of the pot pie lies in its simplicity. It is just a couple of chicken breasts simmered with onions, carrots, and celery and combined with broth and cream, then tucked into a buttery crust and baked.
The texture of the meat is important. It should be moist, tender, and full of flavor. My mother taught me to add the chicken breasts and vegetables to boiling water and then turn the heat down to a low simmer and cook for about an hour. The meat will remain tender. Using skin-on, bone-in breasts makes a much more flavorful pie than using skinless breasts.
Lee Bailey, who was a masterful cook and one of my favorite cookbook authors, writes, "I have been serving chicken pot pie to mark special occasions for over fifteen years now. It never fails--there seems to be something so soothing about its flavor. And I believe it must have pleasant memory associations for most people as well...." His recipe includes a cornbread crust, and he prefers to boil a large hen because of its flavor and the higher yield of meat. It is a wonderful pot pie and definitely worth putting in your recipe box.
The perfect pot pie doesn't have to contain chicken. Cooked shrimp cloaked in cream and sherry, wrapped in a delicate crust, and baked in individual ramekins serves as a perfect entree. Even a nice cut of roast makes a luxurious beef pie. Use tender cuts of beef, an array of vegetables, and a robust stock combined with red wine and cream, and bake it in a flaky crust. Frozen peas seem to work well in this particular dish.
In England, tiny beef pies called Cornish pasties are sold on the streets just like New Yorkers sell hotdogs. They are simple pastries that include beef and root vegetables wrapped in tender pie crusts and served with apple chutney. Oh, how I wish there were street-vendors in Jackson selling Cornish pasties! But then again, eating on the street is another one of our Deep South culinary "don'ts." (My mother would say it is not lady-like to eat while walking.)
Serving a comforting pot pie to your family or a sick friend is thoughtful as well as tasty. These recipes can be easily doubled and frozen.
CHICKEN POT PIE CRUST: 2 cups all-purpose flour 8 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces 4 tablespoons shortening 1 teaspoon salt 2 to 3 tablespoons ice water Place flour into bowl. Using a pastry cutter, cut butter and shortening into flour until mixture resembles a course cornmeal. Add water a little at a time, stirring lightly with a fork until dough is formed and comes together. Shape into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. FILLING: 4 chicken breasts, bone-in and skin-on 2 carrots, peeled 4 stalks celery, cut in half 1 onion, quartered 1/2 stick butter 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 1 pint cream Milk to thin Salt to taste Pepper to taste Tabasco to taste Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add chicken breasts, carrots, celery, onion, and salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Let chicken remain in the pot for another 30 minutes. Remove chicken and vegetables from pot and cool, reserving stock. Pull meat from bones, and roughly chop the vegetables. In a saucepan, melt butter and whisk in flour until it forms a smooth paste. Gradually add chicken stock and cream until a thick sauce forms. Add milk if mixture is too thick Check seasonings, and add salt, pepper, and Tabasco sauce as needed. Stir in chicken and chopped vegetables and place in a heat-proof pie pan. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place prepared crust on top of filling and pinch edges of dough. Decorate with remaining dough as desired. Brush pie with a glaze made with the cream and egg yolk Bake for 30-45 minutes until crust is golden. Yield: 8 servings. GLAZE: 1/4 cup cream I egg yolk Blend cream and egg yolk together using a fork. LEE BAILEY'S CHICKEN POT PIE WITH CORNBREAD CRUST FILLING: l large hen 10 celery stalks 1 cup carrots, sliced 1 large potato, chopped 1 large onion, chopped 6 tablespoons butter or margarine 4 cops hot chicken stock 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour Salt to taste 1/2 teaspoon white pepper 8 drops Tabasco sauce 1 cup frozen baby lima beans Place the hen in a large pot and cover with water. Break the celery into pieces and put in the pot. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours until the chicken is tender. Skim off fat if necessary. Let chicken cool in the pot When cool, take the chicken carefully from the stock and remove the meat from bones. Discarding the skin, return the bones to the pot. Measure out 4 generous cups of the meat; cube and set aside. Simmer the stock another hour to reduce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Discard the bones. Place the carrots and potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water. Simmer for 10 minutes and drain. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Saute onion in the margarine until translucent. Meanwhile, heat stock Stir flour into the onion and mix well. Add heated stock slowly, stirring constantly. When smooth, let simmer for a minute and add the salt, pepper, and Tabasco sauce. To assemble pie, put a layer of chicken in the bottom of a shallow, greased 3-quart casserole. Sprinkle a third of frozen limas, carrots, and potatoes in the bottom. Add salt and pepper. Repeat layers until all the chicken and vegetables are used. Pour the stock sauce over all and top with crust.
CORNBREAD CRUST: 1 1/2 cups white cornmeal 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons baking powder 3 tablespoons sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1 1/2 cups milk 2 eggs, slightly beaten 1/4 cup oil Sift together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Set aside. Mix milk with the eggs and oil and combine with dry ingredients. Pour over chicken and vegetables. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Yield: 8 servings. CREAMY SHRIMP PUFF PASTRY PIES 4 tablespoons butter 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 cups cream Red pepper to taste 2 tablespoons sherry 1/2 pound extra sharp cheddar cheese 2 pounds cooked and peeled shrimp 2 large cans mushrooms 1 box Pepperidge Farm puff pastry Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter 10-12 (8-ounce) ramekins and set aside. In a heavy saucepan, melt butter and stir in flour to make a light roux. Add salt and whisk in cream until the sauce is smooth. Season mixture with red pepper Add sherry, cheese, shrimp, and mushrooms, stirring well. Ladle mixture into ramekins. Roll puff pastry onto a floured surface, and cut ten 3-inch circles with a biscuit cutter Place a pastry round on top of each ramekins, pressing to seal GLAZE: 1/4 cup cream 1 egg yolk Beat egg yolk with 1/4 cup cream. Cut tiny slits into the top of each pie and brush with glaze. Place ramekins on a cookie sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes until pastry is golden brown. Yield: 10 to 12 servings.
BEEF AND VEGETABLE POT PIE FILLING: 1 tablespoon oil or butter 3 pounds beef tenderloin or tender cut of roast beef, cut into pieces 7 cups stock 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste 1 cup red wine 2 bay leaves 2 cups carrots, chopped 1 cup onion, chopped 2 cups frozen green peas 2 cups mushrooms, chopped 1 cup tomatoes, chopped 1 cup cream Salt to taste Pepper to taste 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 3 tablespoons butter, divided 1 (17-ounce) package frozen puff pastry Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat oil in a saucepan with a heavy bottom. Add meat and sear on all sides. Add stock, tomato paste, wine, and bay leaves, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about an hour. Add vegetables and cream and continue cooking for 20 minutes. Check seasonings, and add salt and pepper to taste. Mix flour and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a small bowl. Stir paste into stock mixture and simmer until sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. Pour beef and vegetable mixture into a heat-proof baking dish and top with prepared puff pastry. GLAZE: 1/4 cup cream 1 egg yolk Beat egg yolk with 1/4 cup cream. Cut slits into pastry and brush with glaze. Race into a hot oven and bake 15-20 minutes until pastry is golden. Yield: 6 servings.
CORNISH BEEF PASTIES (shown below left) PASTRY: 3 1/3 cups self-rising flour Pinch of salt 1 cup butter, chopped Ice water Combine flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Using pulse button, add butter a couple of pieces at a time until mixture resembles cornmeal. Add ice water drop by drop until mixture comes together and is not sticky. Remove from bowl and pat into a 9-inch ball and refrigerate. FILLING: 1 small onion, chopped 1 large potato, peeled and sliced 1 tablespoon butter 18 ounces top round or chuck beef, diced 1/4 teaspoon mace 1/4 teaspoon dry English mustard Salt to taste Pepper to taste GLAZE: 1 large egg, beaten Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On top of stove, cook the onions and the potatoes in butter. Add beef and cook on medium heat, browning meat evenly. Turn heat down and season with mace, mustard, salt, and pepper. Cook for 30 minutes or until everything is tender. Divide pastry into 4 pieces and roll each one out between plastic wrap into a rough circle about 6 inches. Place a cup of the beef mixture onto the center of one side of the circle and fold pastry over. Brush egg glaze on edges to seal the pies and then brush over all. Crimp the edges as desired. Place the pasties on parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees and bake 15 more minutes. Serve with chutney or mustard. Yield: 4-6 generous servings. ANA'S CHICKEN POT PIE I am a newlywed and signed up for the NearlyWed. I love Mississippi Magazine! The recipes are great, so I thought I would share one that my sister-in-law shared with me. Amber C. Horn, Ridgeland 1 package piecrust (comes 2 per package) 1 can cream of chicken soup 2 cans mixed vegetables (drain 1 can) 1 large can chicken or 1 large chicken breast, cooked 1(6-ounce) package cheddar cheese, shredded Spices of your choice Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease pie pan and place one crust on the bottom In large bowl, mix soup, mixed vegetables, spices, and chicken. Pour mixture into piecrust. Cover with shredded cheese. Place other piecrust on top. Crimp edges together, and cut slits in the top. Bake until golden brown, approximately 15-20 minutes. Yield: 6-8 servings. MIMI'S CHICKEN PIE This has been a family favorite for years. Evelyn Slay, Pearl 4 chicken breasts 2 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup shortening 1 egg, beaten 3/4-1 cup water 1/2 stick margarine, divided Black pepper to taste Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Boil chicken breasts until tender. Reserve broth for dumplings. Cool chicken, and cut into small pieces. Put in a 2 quart casserole and set aside. Combine flour, salt, shortening and egg in bowl. Add 3/4-1 cup water and mix well. For dumplings, roll out 3/4 of the dough on floured board and cut into strips 1 x 3 inches long. Drop dumplings into chicken broth. Do not stir, but use a fork to separate. Boil about 5 minutes. Pour over chicken and dot with 4 teaspoons of margarine and black pepper. (Be sure to cover dumplings with broth.) Roll out remaining dough for top crust. Dot with remaining margarine. Bake for 30 minutes. Yield: 8-10 servings.
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|Title Annotation:||food / home matters|
|Author:||Burgess, Emily Hines|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2008|
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