Thursday, September 12, 2013

mini chicken pot pies

This is going to be a long post. Not because it's complicated, but because there are a lot of steps. It took me about an hour to make the whole recipe, which isn't too bad, but it's very labor intensive. So, prepare yourself. Also, I don't have any completed pictures because I designed this recipe to be a FROZEN meal, so Eddie can eat them for lunches. Keep that in mind- you can always cook these the whole time, or just the abbreviated time for freezing. I'll give you both instructions.
Let's start by making the pie crust. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Using VERY cold butter that's been cut into cubes (I pop my butter into the freezer for about 15 minutes before slicing) cut the butter into the flour with a pastry knife until in coarse bits.
The buttery bits don't need to be very small- the large the bits, the flakier the crust will be. Just try to cut them in as much as possible without beginning to melt the butter.
The next step is to stir in COLD water... and I do mean cold. Run the cold tap for a minute so that water is as cold as possible. Measure out 3/4 of a cup and add in several ice cubes. Pour in a quarter cup of water and stir completely.
Now, add in additional water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough just comes together. Sort of like what you see above.
Gather your dough together, wrap it in plastic wrap...
And pop it into the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes. Yes, that's boxed wine that you see. Don't judge me.
Meanwhile, start your filling. Carrots, celery, onion and olive oil start this off. Saute for about 3 minutes, and then add...
The garlic. This way, nothing burns. Cook for an additional 2 minutes, and meanwhile...
Chop up 2 medium sized potatoes into small cubes... as close to the same size dice as possible.
Once the veggies are done, remove them from the pan.
In the same pan the veggies were cooking in, drop in a large pat of butter and melt.
Drop in the potatoes, chicken stock and thyme and let cook (covered) for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.
As soon as the potatoes are done, add in the wine and let cook for 2 minutes so the alcohol cooks off. Then, add in the half and half, salt and pepper and flour. Whisk together.
Let this cook for about 3 minutes so that it thickens. Remove from heat.
Alrighty, stir in the cooked veggies, frozen peas and chopped cooked chicken. I just boiled my chicken, let it cool and then diced it up.
Make sure you take a taste to ensure the flavors are what you want at this point- add more salt and pepper as needed. Set this aside while you prepare the crust.
Get the dough out of the fridge and on a well floured surface, roll out the dough to about a quarter inch thickness.
Then, to make it easy, I just lay the pie pans on top of the dough and cut out circles about an 1/8 of an inch larger than the pan around them.
Doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to fit!
Now we are in the home stretch! Make sure the oven is preheating to 400 degrees, and spoon the mixture into the pie pans- I always grease the pans with cooking spray first. The amount of mixture you make will fill all 4 pie pans.
Top each pan with the pie crust and crimp with a fork to seal.
Brush the tops with whisked egg (and egg wash) to make a golden crust and into the oven they go. Here's the two instructions-

Eat It Now!
- If you want to eat it now, cook the little pies for about 25 minutes, until the pie crust is completely done, golden brown and flaky. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Freeze It For Later!
- If you want to eat these later, like a frozen pot pie you get at the supermarket, complete the following instructions.
Remove the pies from the oven after about 7 minutes of baking- the crusts will be set by them. Now are going to flash freeze. That means, we are going to put them in the freezer while they are still hot and stop the cooking process. Make sure if you are going to do this, if you don't have a tray in the freezer, lay down a trivet.
Put them directly into the freezer and chill for 30 minutes- that way they will be completely cool to the touch.
The only thing left to do is to pop them into freezer bags and then back into the freezer. When it comes time to reheat, you just place them on an aluminum lined pan in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes to thaw and reheat. Perfection!

Mini Chicken Pot Pie Recipes
1 3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons flour
1 1/2 Tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 stick butter, very cold cut into cubes
3/4 cup water with ice
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon butter
2 medium potatoes, diced
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/2 cup white wine
2 Tablespoons half and half
2 1/2 Tablespoons flour
1/2 Tablespoon parsley
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 large chicken breast, boiled and diced
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 large egg, whisked

To prepare crust, whisk together flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Using a pastry knife, cut in very cold butter until in coarse granules. Pour in 1/4 cup of cold water and stir until combine. Then, one tablespoon at a time, mix in enough water so that the dough comes together. Gather dough and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator to cool for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, saute onion, carrots and celery in heated olive oil over medium heat for 3 minutes on stove top. Add in minced garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove vegetables from heat and drop in butter. Melt butter and add in diced potatoes, chicken stock and thyme. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stir in white wine and let cook for 2 minutes to remove alcohol. Stir in half and half and flour, as well as parsley and nutmeg. Let this cook for 2 minutes to thicken. Remove from heat and stir in frozen peas, cooked vegetables and chicken. On a well floured surface, roll out the chilled dough to a 1/4 inch thickness. Cut rounds in the dough using the mini pie pans as a guide, about 1/8 inch large on all sides. Spoon the pie mixture into greased pie pans and top each with dough. Crimp edges with a fork and brush the tops with whisked egg wash. Place in preheated oven for 7 minutes for freezing or 35 minutes for immediate service. Enjoy!