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A passion for food, wine, friends and entertaining is a big part of our life. This is a way for us to document our experiences, passion for food & life and also share it with others.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Gutsty Cooks Chicken Pot Pie & A Lesson Learned

So I've been very conflicted about making this week's Gutsy Cooks Club Chicken Pot Pie. One reason is it's supposed to be spring and this particular dish, although one of my all time favorites, is a comfort food more suited for a cold wintry day. Another reason the past few weeks have just been crazy busy so a dish like pot pie is more time consuming than I can pull off currently. And lastly I really wanted to make an adaptation to this recipe from The Illustrated Kitchen Bible that called to use puff pastry on the top only; I am a firm believer that the best pot pies have full crust; top, bottom & sides. But I read Monica's post about how light and fluffy the recipe was with the puff pastry and I knew I just had to make it.

So on this particular Wednesday night I was at school trying to get caught up late but I was still determined to make this dish. It was blustery outside; pouring pelting rain, windy, 42 degrees, yes, you read that right 42 degrees.
So the whole comfort food thing was sounding good after all.

I stopped by our local Safeway, picked up a rotisserie chicken and some whipping cream and was set to arrive home at 7:15 p.m. I was still determined to do this, (read: stubborn wife.) Luckily G also loves chicken pot pie and although he was starving he agreed and offered to help even.

I took the puff pastry from the freezer, and was sure it would defrost while we prepped everything else.

I made several adaptations to the recipe; I added potatoes instead of parsnips. I can't have a pot pie that doesn't include potatoes. It just wouldn't be the same. I used asparagus instead of fava beans or peas. And also added mushrooms and tarragon (this herb seems to be hitting the spot lately.)

I cooked the veggies, made a roux by adding flour, hot chicken broth and eventually whipping cream as the recipe called for. I seasoned with salt, pepper and my chopped tarragon.

I chopped and added the rotisserie chicken.

 Here's where the lesson learned comes in. (for part of this I so should have read Monica's tips about shrinking crust prior.) For starters when we were finally ready to roll out the puff pastry it was still very frozen. We put it in the microwave on defrost for a bit. The first bit wasn't quite long enough so we went for a bit more. When we pulled it out the second time it was a bit too long. Oops.

The edges of the puff pastry on a few spots were hard. So G decided to roll it all into a ball and start rolling from scratch. That created a new problem; now the puff pastry was a bit greasy.
We did eventually get it rolled out, but it was easy to see the puff pastry wasn't just right. If it wasn't 8 p.m. at this point we would have ran quick up to the store and started with a new box of pastry but we were just pooped to do that so we stuck w/ what we had.
I decided to make 4 small pot pies as opposed to 1 big one. I filled each ramekin w/ the filling and then was just barely able to stretch the puff pastry we had left over the 4 individual pies.

 I then brushed them w/ an egg wash and sliced a vent in each one. I could tell they weren't going to come out picture perfect.
While they baked for 25 minutes. We had some salad and G opened a bottle of wine. A new one for us. A Columbia Valley Red Wine called The Surveyor made by Snipes Gap Vineyards in Prosser, WA. A blend of 69% Cab and 31% Merlot.

It was an approachable easy drinking red.
Finally the timer on the oven beeped and dinner was served @ 8:30 p.m. And out from the over came the four most ugly little pot pies you could imagine.
But what's ugly on the outside was delicious on the inside. The texture of veggies was just right, the seasoning and especially the addition of the tarragon was a hit.
Lesson Learned: Don't defrost puff pastry in the microwave. And secondly don't try to roll all together and flatten it from scratch.


  1. You guys!!!! Puff pastry in microwave is a resonding NO-NO!... tip: take out of the of the freezer, put it in the refrigerator and let it defrost there.. then and only then take out about 10 minutes or so before you are going to roll it out and use it and leave at room temp before working with it.. then, what I do (trick I learned and works wonders) after covering what every I'm making or after I set up whatever I did with it, I place it back in the freezer to get cold again - this helps the butter firm up again, creating the puff in the pastry.

  2. I'm laughing but I have no doubt the flavor was just divine! Hope it warms up soon for you guys. xo


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