Tasty Hobby

Because food matters

Chicken Pot Pie

This recipe was adapted from Ina Garten’s Chicken Pot Pie via Smitten Kitchen.  Sorry I don’t have any pictures; I still haven’t gotten the hang of stopping cooking to take them.

  • 2 chicken breasts, boneless or bone-in, skinless or skin-on
  • 4 chicken thighs, bone in for more flavor, bone out for less work
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes (if you use Better than Bouillon, the exchange is 4 teaspoons)
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 large or two small white or yellow onions
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 10-16 oz. bag of frozen mixed vegetables (some combination of peas, carrots, corn, and/or green beans)

For a shortcut, use a cooked rotisserie chicken from the store.  Or, you can cook the chicken a day ahead, if you want.  Either way, rub the oil on the raw chicken and season with salt and pepper.  Cook the chicken however you want.  (I used the oven, but the stove top or slow cooker would also work fine.)  Remove the chicken from the bones (discarding the fat) and chop it up.  The goal is to end up with about 5 cups of chopped chicken.  You can use the bones to make stock, either freeze the bones until you have enough to fill your pot half-way, or make a small batch and freeze it.

In a small pot, heat the stock and dissolve the bullion in it.

In a large skillet or other large pan (I used a 12″ saute pan that is about 3″ deep), melt the butter and cook the onions over medium-low heat until they’re translucent – about 10-15 minutes.

Turn the heat down to low, add the flour, and cook for 2 minutes, being sure to stir the whole time.  This essentially creates a roux, which is the base of the creamy part of the pot pie.  Add the stock, about a cup at a time and keep stirring.  You want to get the flour mixture dissolved in the stock.  Once all the stock is added, let that cook for about 2 minutes.

Add the chicken and the veggies and let everything warm through.

I like to serve this in bowls with cream cheese biscuits for a ‘deconstructed’ pot-pie.

 

Cream Cheese Biscuits

Once again, I’m just going to provide a link to this recipe for cream cheese biscuits.  I’ve made these a few times and they’ve been consistently great.  I didn’t brush the biscuits with butter and they turned out fine, but maybe a little pale.  Also, I used 3/4 c. whole milk with 1 T. white vinegar instead of the buttermilk.

I’ve added about a cup of shredded cheddar cheese to these and used chive and onion cream cheese.  Next time, maybe I’ll mash some strawberries in with the cream cheese and/or add some strawberries.

I’d be curious about how to adapt this to use regular (not self-rising) flour.  Let me know if you have suggestions.

Strawberries and Cream Biscuits

Go make these strawberry and cream biscuits.  They’re amazing.   I had to add a couple of tablespoons of water to help the dough come together and next time I make them, I might decrease the sugar by a tablespoon.  There’s really nothing much I can say about these that hasn’t already been said on Smitten Kitchen’s blog.  Her photography is way better than mine, too.

UPDATE:  Since this is someone else’s unique recipe and I didn’t make any changes, I’m not going to post the recipe.  Use the link above to see it.

Homemade Pasta

From The Homemade Pantry by Alana Chernila

Many pasta recipes call for egg yolks, which means you have to find something to do with the egg whites. I like this recipe because it uses whole eggs, which makes life easier.

2 cups flour
3 eggs

Mix the eggs and flour together. Alana recommends making a pile of flour on the counter, putting a well-shaped hole in the pile and cracking the eggs into the well. I envisioned 87 ways that could go wrong, so I wimped out and used the dough hook on my KitchenAid stand mixer, but you can use a bowl and fork, or the dough blade on a food processor.

Form into a ball and flatten to a disc shape. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 15-30 minutes.

Cut off a piece of the dough and keep the rest covered while you work. Roll out the dough as thin as possible, ideally with a pasta roller. It will thicken when it cooks, so thick dough means really thick noodles.  You may need to sprinkle the dough with more flour as you roll it out.

One tricky part of this process is finding space to lay out the noodles so you can cut them into pieces or strips and let them dry for a few minutes. If you have a wooden laundry rack, that would work great (not an option at our house because of the dog).

This recipe makes about a pound of pasta, which will only take about 3 minutes to cook in boiling water. If you have a kitchen assistant, have them put the noodles in the water while you stir the pot to keep them from sticking together.  My mom and I put all the noodles in a bowl, then dumped the bowl into the pot of boiling water.  Be careful as you stir, since the water will splash.

Next time, I’ll probably add in some dried herbs. I’m also thinking this would be great in a lasagna dish.  I haven’t tried this, but I’ve read that you can freeze the uncooked pasta, and then cook it directly from the freezer.

Stats: 2 down 99 to go

Meatballs

Summer is not the ideal time to be turning on the oven for dinner, but I’ve made some meatballs lately and really like the way they turn out when they’re baked instead of pan-fried. Here are three ways I’ve made meatballs lately.

  1. (Pictured) 1 lb. Beef w/ 1 T. miso, 1 T. soy, 1 T. oyster sauce, 1 T. garlic, 3 green onions (scallions), 1/2 c. bread crumbs.
  2. 1 lb. Beef w/ 1/2 c. bread crumbs, 1/4 c. parmasean, basil, oregano, thyme – total dried herbs of 1 t.
  3. 1 lb. Lamb and 1/2 lb. cooked bacon w/ 1/4 t. garlic powder, 1/4 t. onion powder, and 1 t. oregano, and two hot dog rolls – broken up

In a bowl large enough to hold the meat and the other ingredients, mix together everything except the meat. Break the meat into bite-sized pieces as you drop it into the bowl. I think this method helps get the flavors mixed into the meat, but doesn’t require lots of mixing, so it keeps the meat tender.

Form the meat mixture into balls and attempt to keep them sized the same.  If you want a bit of crunch, roll them in breadcrumbs as you form them.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, if you have about 16 balls. Fewer balls mean that they’re larger and will need more time.

Fried Rice

First, I’d like to thank  Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen for this post.  Second, I’d like to thank my mother for introducing me to oyster sauce.

Fried rice isn’t difficult to make, but you do need to know a few things.

  1. Use old rice.  I picked up some white rice from a local Chinese restaurant and then spread it out in some flat bowls to dry out in the fridge for a couple hours.
  2. Use high heat and an oil that can handle the high heat.  I used sesame oil because it has a higher smoke point than the olive oil I usually cook with.
  3. Leave it alone.  It’s called stir-fry, but apparently that doesn’t mean you’re supposed to stir it all the time.  Give the rice a minute or so to cook before stirring it.  Then be sure to give it another minute or so.
  4. Cook ingredients separately.
  5. Have everything chopped and ready to go before you start cooking.  This comes together really fast, which is why there aren’t any pictures of the process.

 

One of the great things about fried rice is that you can use whatever you have around.  Here’s what I used.

  •  2-3 eggs, beaten
  • 3-4 green onions (scallions)
  • 1 small red pepper
  • 1 T minced ginger
  • 1T minced garlic
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 4 cups of rice, preferably a day old
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 2 T oyster sauce (or fish sauce or more soy sauce – but be careful not to end up with a super salty dish)

    Thanks to Crane Dance Farm for the humanely raised chickens that produced these eggs with such orange yolks.

In a small skillet, I cooked the eggs.  In a larger skillet (I used a stainless steel pan, but I’d recommend a non-stick one if you have it), I cooked the chicken most of the way through, then moved it out of the pan and into a bowl – the residual heat will finish cooking it, without drying it out.  Then, I cooked the onion, garlic, and ginger and move them to the bowl with the chicken.  Next came the red pepper, which I didn’t cook for very long because I wanted to keep some of the crunchiness.  When the pepper started to get soft, I added it to my bowl of cooked items.

To cook the rice, I put some oil in the pan and spread out the rice.  Give it a minute or two and then stir and give it another minute or two.  Add the sauces and stir, then add the cooked chicken and veggies.  It doesn’t need long on the stove at this point, just long enough to warm everything through.