May 22, 2011

Pot Pie: 2 Ways

Chicken Pot Pie is a classic example of comfort food. We took the idea of a basic chicken pot pie and added our own inspiration;  Caitlin added artichokes and parsnips to her pie while Monica deconstructed the dish, using buttermilk biscuits as her "crust."  The great thing about pot pie is the versatility: you can experiment with different veggies and herbs, as well as make it with various meats or go veggie. This is definitely a dish that you can add your own signature stamp to; it's always fun to make food your own!
Caitlin's Version with a traditional crust
Caitlin: Well summer is supposed to be coming soon, however you'd never guess up here in Eugene with this lovely rain interspersed between sunny days. Needless to say, chicken pot pie still makes a great comfort dish this time of year - rain or shine. As many of you know, we're avid watchers of Top Chef and Carla won the Jimmy Fallon episode with her rendition of chicken pot pie. From what the judges and everyone around the table said, what made her dish spectacular was the crust on the bottom of the bowl as well as the top. Couldn't agree more. It's a little disappointing when you break into the pie, take a bite of the gravy and veggies but soon realize that there's no crust to enjoy on the bottom - almost makes it not worth eating. Now, that being said, I made chicken pot pie for dinner one night with quite a few people and I couldn't bring myself to make anymore crust, so I let the bottom go bare - major faux pas on my part, but it was a last minute thing...
Anyway, one great thing about pot pies is that it allows you to use up all your leftover veggies in the fridge that are on their way to rot city if you don't use them soon. I had large amounts of carrots, parsnips and corn that needed to be used, so what better way then to throw it in a pot pie. I also added peas, roasted garlic, artichoke hearts, squeeze of a lemon and tad of white wine for extra flavor. It all went great together with the buttery crust - even the kids will enjoy this one!

Monica's Deconstructed Version with Buttermilk Biscuits
Monica:  I love pot pie, especially when I am craving something that is warm on a cool night.  I am not a fan of pot pies that have too much cream or are full of a flour based gravy and not enough veggies.  I decided to try something different with my version.  I usually make a pot pie with a pie crust bottom and mashed potato topping, but this time I wanted to take the pot pie apart and use buttermilk biscuits as my pie element.  Since I am not very familiar with making food with a bit of a Southern flair, I followed the Neely's recipe for buttermilk biscuits virtually word for word, however I modified the cooking temperature (which I will note on the method portion) in order to make sure the biscuits were properly baked.  I also love peas and added peas, carrots and roasted corn to my veggie mix.  The roasted corn when mixed with the biscuit and gravy was such a great element to the otherwise traditional mix.  I hope you enjoy my version of a Southern inspired dish with a modern flair...Bon App├ętit y'all!

Ingredient Lists & Method
Caitlin's Crust Recipe
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water


Place flour, salt, sugar in bowl of a food processor and process for a few seconds to combine. Add the butter pieces to the flour mixture and process about 10 seconds until mixture resembles course meal. Add ice water in a slow and steady stream until the dough holds together, but no more than 30 seconds. 
Alternatively, mix dry ingredients then cut the butter pieces in with a knife, or use your fingers to mix. Add water and mix until it holds together.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Divide into two pieces and place onto two separate sheets of plastic wrap. Flatten and form two discs. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before using.

When you're ready to us it, roll it out on a floured surface until 1/2 inch thick. You can adjust the size of the discs depending on what size bowl you'll be using.

Monica's Biscuit Recipe
2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons ice cold butter
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
(Since I am no biscuit expert, this is the Neely's recipe I found & used word for word, only variation, I lowered their recommended oven temperature to 425 for better baking results)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Slice butter and put on a plate in the freezer.

Sift the dry ingredients together into a bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or a fork until it looks like coarse sand. Add the buttermilk and continue to cut the dough together. Turn out onto a floured surface and gently bring together. Gently press the dough into a rectangle until it is between 1/2 and 3/4-inch thick.

Use a round cutter that has been floured to cut the biscuits. Place in the freezer for at least 20 minutes.Remove biscuits from freezer and place on parchment paper on a baking sheet so they are touching each other. Bake for 20 minutes
Chicken Pot Pie Filling
(You can use any variation of this filling according to your preference of veggies..we both made similar fillings with different veggies)
Boneless Chicken Breast
Fresh Roasted Corn
Carrots, small dice
Parnips, diced
Artichoke Hearts
Chicken Broth
Fresh Lemon juice
White Wine

Preheat oven to 375. Saute whatever meat and veggies you plan on using in butter. Add flour and stir for about 1-2 minutes. Slowly add stock and stir to thicken. Season with s&p or fresh herbs, wine or lemon juice. You can also add cream, if you want a creamier stock, or even cheese. Let it cook for about 10-15 minutes until you get a nice, thick filling.
If you're making the traditional crust, line the bottom of a ramekin with crust, fill it about 3/4 of the way full. Place crust over the top and press down the sides. Brush the crust with eggwash and make 3 slits in the top. Bake on a cookie sheet in the oven for about 45 minutes or until the crust is browned, and the filling is bubbling out of the slits.
If making the deconstructed version, cook the filling about 40 minutes on the stove. Spoon into a bowl and crumble the biscuits over it.

We both decided to use different veggies. Caitlin incorporated parsnips and artichokes in her pie.  Monica opted for peas, roasted fresh corn, and carrots.  Have fun with what you like! If you want to make it with beef use beef.  If you want to make it veggie, omit the meat and make a veggie based gravy with veggie stock.  

Caitlin: I was feeling a bit folksy with this one; I had a nice mix of the Avett Brothers, Mumford & Sons, Dylan, Ellis (a great folk singer that I was recently introduced to), My Morning Jacket and so on.
Monica: Music for the evening meal...stuck to some old/new American classics to go along with this classic Southern inspired dish (as Southern as a girl from Southern California can be).
1) Bob Dylan:  Just Like A Woman
2) Johnny Cash: I Got Stripes
3) B.B. King: Let the Good Times Roll
4) Avett Brothers: I And Love and You
5) Willie Nelson:  Crazy

Drink of Choice
Pinot Grigio, light enough to go with this heartier meal.

A Recipe to Remember?
Yes!  It is a classic comfort food that is open to various interpretations.