Friday, February 22, 2013

Chicken Pot Pie

        A while back I did a post on a Beef Pot Pie that I had made. Well, pot pies are somewhat of a
regular occurrence for dinner at my house so here is a follow up post about a Chicken Pot Pie.
Much like the beef pie, a chicken pie consists mainly of meat gravy and pastry. I am also partial
to having vegetables mixed in as well and this is no exception. This one featured peas and carrots, which I find go really nicely in this recipe. I hope your family enjoys it as much as my family does.

prep time for pastry and pie: 30 - 40 minutes

cook time: 35 minutes with an additional 10 - 15 to set

  • 1 & 1/2 batches of your favorite pastry recipe
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 4 tablespoons butter - I've used olive oil with great results too
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 cans of chicken broth (about 3 & 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup powdered parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (12 to 16 ounce) bag of frozen vegetables

bake for about 35 minutes at 425 F and let sit for about 10 minutes before serving.

        The first thing that I start on is the pastry. Make 1 and 1/2 batches of your favorite two crust pastry recipe. I do 150% of my recipe because this will make a pretty deep pie and I like to have a thicker crust. You may find that your recipe is enough as it is. I divide the pastry dough into two parts (one slightly larger than the other), wrap in plastic wrap and put into the refrigerator until I've got the filling made.

         For the filling, I start after I get the pastry in the fridge to cool a little. Start by cutting the chicken and onion. I find it easiest to cut chicken while it is still a little frozen. Then after the onion and chicken is cut, I brown them. If needed, and this will depend on how lean your meat is, I add some extra virgin olive oil. About half way before the chicken is done cooking, add the garlic and salt and pepper to taste. As soon as the chicken and onions are done, I transfer everything into a suitable bowl to wait until the gravy is started.

        To start the gravy heat the butter in the saucepan. I like butter for the chicken pot pie because I think it compliments the other flavors really well. I have used extra virgin olive oil as well and that does a great job as well. After the butter has melted and is hot, add the flour and mix with a whisk to get all the lumps out. Heat the mixture for at least a minute, stirring often. Then add the broth or stock and parmesan cheese. Then mix with the whisk to get all the lumps out. Heat to a boil, then add the chicken and onion mixture that you saved. Again, heat to boiling. Add water until you get the consistency just a little bit thinner than you want the filling to be. Heat to boiling then turn the burner down as far as it will go. About half way through this process I preheat my oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

        At this point I roll out the pastry and line an appropriate pie plate. A 9 inch deep dish pie plate will work great. I happen to use my 9" x 9" square stoneware pan. It's a little more difficult to line the pastry into the pan but it works. As soon as you have the pie plate lined, mix the veggies into the filling and then transfer into the pastry. Now roll out and cover the pie, making sure to seal the edges well. Cut some slits into the top to vent and into the oven it goes. Place it on the middle rack and bake for about 35 minutes. Let sit for about 10 to 15 Minutes. You might not need to let it sit for a long as me because my stoneware pan keeps the heat really well.

        Using as a reference, again, I estimate each 1/6th pie serving has:
  • 835 calories
  • 67 carbs
  • 44 fat
  • 41 protein

        I usually use a  big spoon to serve it with. I'm not really as concerned with cutting nice slices as I am getting a good mix of crust and filling, and my family has never seemed to be bothered by it. My kids love it and eat it right up. If I am fortunate enough to have leftovers they are great reheated up the next day for lunch. Enjoy ....

Friday, February 1, 2013

Ginger Beer Marinade

        The other day I had my extended family over for a barbecue and decided to grill some ribs  I like the country style ribs as they have a lot of meat on them and I had some that I had previously bought on sale. I love to marinate and for all the obvious reasons. It adds moisture, flavor and helps tenderize the meat. They are also easy to make and use. I have also used ginger beer in a brine. Be sure to check out that post as well. A marinade is pretty much some type of liquid acid with seasonings that you soak the meat in prior to cooking. The acid is often vinegar, wine or lemon juice. So I whipped up a couple of batches of marinade for the ribs  The first one was my go to marinade for barbecue.
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 to 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 teaspoonful liquid smoke - I consider this a must if not using wood or charcoal to cook with
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
        I usually put all this into a gallon zip-top bag and mix by squeezing from the outside and then put about two to three pounds of meat, or just whatever fits. Squeeze out all the air you can and zip the top shut. You can use pretty much any container that seals water tight. This then goes into the refrigerator for about two hours. I've done longer and that has worked great as well, but two hours seems to be sufficient most of the time. A marinade works from the outside in so flip the bag over about every fifteen to twenty minutes to make sure that all sides get to have as much contact with the marinade as possible. When you are ready grill the meat as you usually would. You can also reserve some of the marinade to baste with wile the meat is cooking. If you do that, make sure that you give it plenty of time for the marinade to fully cook. After all, raw meat was in that juice and you don't want to contaminate your food. I then grilled the ribs and brushed on more barbecue sauce about five minutes before I took them off the grill.

        So that's my usual method for grilling barbecue. In addition to the batch of marinated ribs I just mentioned I did a second batch and tried a new marinade. This one with Ginger Beer as part of the liquid. I was first introduced to ginger beer a while ago. It is a popular soda flavor in many parts of the world, just not in the United States. I find ginger beer to be much stronger than ginger ale, at least when it comes to the ginger. As soda is acidic it can potentially make a good marinade. I used a bottle of Reed's Ginger Beer. The Extra Ginger Brew kind. I picked it up a while back at a Fry's (Kroger) grocery store. I've also seen ginger beer at world markets and the soft drink section at Bev Mo. I enjoy ginger beer but this Extra Ginger Brew was too strong even for my taste, so I never got around to drinking this bottle. On to the marinade.
  • 1 bottle of ginger beer - I think any brand will do
  • a splash of lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 teaspoonful liquid smoke - I consider this a must if not using wood or charcoal to cook with
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
        I just followed the steps mentioned above and it turned out great. I wasn't able to ever get all the air out of my zip-top bag as the carbonation in the ginger beer was constantly releasing gaseous carbon dioxide. I did my best though, and it did turn out great.
        I tried one without adding barbecue sauce on at the end, kind of like a control. It was juicy and had a nice flavor. So I think that this marinade is a good one even without the barbecue sauce. The ribs from this batch turned out great. They were more tender and the ginger flavor was a good addition to the barbecue flavor from the sauce. Both batches were great ribs, with the smokey flavor from the liquid smoke and the barbecue flavor from the sauce both working together to turn out an amazing flavor. The ginger beer marinade was a great enhancement to an already great flavor combination. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.