Dec 4 2008

Chicken Pot Pie, in Pictures

My English friend Dawn wanted to know what’s a chicken pot pie. This is a chicken pot pie:

These are American “biscuits”:

A skillet is a frying pan.

This is the recipe I’m planning to try for skillet chicken pot pie with biscuit topping. It’s from Cook’s Illustrated. It looks to me like a fairly complicated production (and also pretty fattening) so I may put it off depending on how much energy I have that night and how I’m feeling about the size of my butt. I know Sam would like it though.

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces), plus extra for the work surface
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Table salt and ground black pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion , minced (about 1 cup)
1 rib celery , sliced thin
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
2 cups frozen peas and carrots , thawed


1. For the biscuits: Adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees.

2. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Stir in the cream with a wooden spoon until a dough forms, about 30 seconds. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gather into a ball. Knead the dough briefly until smooth, about 30 seconds.

3. Pat the dough into a 3/4-inch-thick circle. Cut the biscuits into rounds using a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter or cut into 8 wedges using a knife.

4. Place the biscuits on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Set aside on a wire rack.

5. For the filling: While the biscuits bake, pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until the foam subsides. Brown the chicken lightly on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Transfer the chicken to a clean plate.

6. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter to the skillet and return to medium heat until melted. Add the onion, celery, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until incorporated, about 1 minute.

7. Stir in the vermouth and cook until evaporated, about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk in the broth, cream, and thyme, and bring to a simmer. Nestle the chicken into the sauce, cover, and cook over medium-low heat until the thickest part of the breast registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 8 to 10 minutes.

8. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Stir the peas and carrots into the sauce and simmer until heated through, about 2 minutes. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, cut or shred it into bite-sized pieces and return it to the skillet. Season the filling with salt and pepper to taste.

9. For serving: Place the cooked biscuits on top of the skillet or individual servings.

Dec 3 2008

What’s For Dinner

Today’s veggie box came late, and held: a big bunch of chard that is maybe not QUITE so beautiful as those that have gone before; three small-to-medium leeks; a big bunch of kale; a large fennel root, with fronds; a head of Napa cabbage; a bag of baby bok choy; 3 oranges; 3 lemons; about a pound of small red potatoes.

Menu plan:

Thursday lunch: braised bok choy with garlic (my toddler LOVED this last time I made it)
Thursday dinner: baked polenta with chard (yes AGAIN, don’t judge me–it’s delicious)
Friday lunch: kale with bacon (I made that today for lunch, and the sight of my baby stuffing his face with dark curly greens was OMG HEARTWARMING)
Friday dinner: steaks, and either roast asparagus or brussels sprouts (I’ve been kind of craving both)
Saturday lunch: we’ll most likely get crepes at the crepe place where they fawn over Robin
Saturday dinner: potato-leek soup
Sunday dinner: it’s Sam’s birthday, and he’s requested spaghetti carbonara and strawberry-rhubarb pie. I don’t know if I’ll even be able to find rhubarb this time of year, but I’ll try. Since we’re having people over I think I’ll supplement with a salad and home-made bread.
Monday lunch:boiled cabbage with butter and salt, maybe some bacon
Monday dinner: pork chops with roast carrots and fennel
Tuesday lunch: leftovers
Tuesday dinner: chicken pot pie — Sam asked for turkey pot pie after Thanksgiving, but I was too worn out. Now I’m more recuperated, so we’ll see what we can do.

As usual, oranges and lemons will be left to their own devices.

Dec 3 2008

Things I Call Robin

A Non-Exhaustive List

Difficult Child
Little Buddy
Mister Baby, Sir
Mister Cutie Toes
My Sweet Prince
My Young Apprentice
Punkin Butt