Saturday, October 17, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie

It's getting gotten cold here in Maine. Time for some comfort food. Real, homemade, good comfort food--like chicken pot pie.

Tuesday, I had the whole day off while Ms. Bic was at her very stressful job struggling to make headway on a complicated financial forecast that needed to be completed in a ridiculously short period of time. I wanted to have a good dinner ready for her when she limped home that evening.

So, as soon as I got out from under the covers that cold morning, I decided it was going to be chicken pot pie for dinner. Right after my breakfast, I got started on the crust.

I already had those ingredients on hand so I knocked that off before going shopping for the filling ingredients. Flaky pastry is always better if the dough sits in the fridge a few hours before rolling it out. The flaky pastry I like best for my chicken pot pie is an adaptation of a recipe I originally found in Rose Levy Beranbaum's wonderful The Pie and Pastry Bible. It incorporates one small (3 oz.) brick of cream cheese--which gives it great savory flavor and a deep golden color after baking. Click here for the recipe.

Update 3/19/10: Click here for a new recipe for a cheddar cheese flaky pastry crust that is equally good. Try them both!

As far as the filling, that recipe originated from one in Cook's Illustrated magazine's cookbook, The New Best Recipe, which in my opinion is one of the very best general cookbooks out there. The book would be a perfect gift for someone who wants to learn how to cook excellent versions of "standard" dishes.

My filling recipe (click here for it) is about as simple and straightforward as it can be while still creating a delicious, healthy filling.

The recipe serves four extremely generously. Leftovers are great for a few days in the fridge. As for wine: I'd recommend a soft, not-too-tannic, full-bodied red. Jadot's Beaujolais Villages (about $12) is ideal, La Vielle Ferme red (about $8) is very good with this, and Bota Box Cabernet Sauvignon (about $18 for a 3 liter box) is just fine in a swillable sort of way.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Stale Bread

I cant' wait to make this. From The Atlantic:
Migas are perhaps the apotheosis of old bread. The name literally means "crumbs," and that's pretty much what it is. This is humble food, food of poor shepherds in the dry hills of Extremadura, food which in Madrid is remembered with a mixture of rue and nostalgia as the hardscrabble fare of the hungry years after the Civil War. In those years it gave new life to the stale butt of bread, the last rind of ham, whatever fragments of chorizo or panceta might found. Of course what goes around comes around, and the generation which has grown up in the abundance of the last 30 years is rediscovering the charm of their grandparents' survival rations. Migas now appear on the menu of chic tapas bars all over the country...
Continue to recipe.