Saturday, March 27, 2010

Individual Chicken Potpies

I made this for a luncheon for me and a guest ... quite simple, and so tasty! Not to mention well balanced, with a good mix of veggies and protein. Yum! Oh, this is also a Thomas Keller (of The French Laundry) recipe ... who is just about the most famous American chef. So yeah, it's good. I should also point out the recipe he provides is for one pot pie ... I chose to make them into individual pies. So, you may have to tweak this by having more or less veg & chicken to suit the size of your dishes.

Ingredients (serves 6):

  • 1 cup 1/2" pieces red-skinned potatoes
  • 1-1/4 cups 1/2" pieces carrots, cut on the diagonal
  • 12 white pearl onions, peeled
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 24 black peppercorns
  • 1-1/4 cups 1/2" pieces celery, cut on the diagonal
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken (I just bought a rotisserie chicken from Loblaws)
  • 1 package frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 3 cups whole milk (3%)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1/2 tsp finely chopped thyme
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 1 egg, beaten

Make the filling:
  1. Put the carrots, potatoes and onions in small separate saucepans. Fill with enough water to just cover. Add 1 bay leaf, 1 thyme sprig and 8 peppercorns to each pan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook the veg until just tender, about 8-10 minutes.
  2. Drain the vegetables, discard the thyme, bay leaf and peppercorns and spread on a plate to cool. Cut the onions in quarters, leaving the stem end intact so they hold together.
  3. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the celery and cook until just crisp-tender, about 1-1.5 minutes. Drain and run under very cold water to stop the cooking (or put into an ice bath). Add to the other vegetables.
  4. Add the shredded cooked chicken to the vegetable mixture. Season with salt and pepper. 

Make the bechamel sauce:
  1. Melt the butter in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 2-3 minutes, whisking. You want to be careful not to brown the mixture.
  2. Whisk in the milk gradually, and heat to a gentle simmer, whisking often, until the consistency is like barely runny yogurt and coats the back of a spoon. Season with salt, pepper, thyme, parsley and cayenne. 

Assemble the pies:
  1. Heat oven to 375F. Divide the veg/chicken mixture evenly into individual oven-proof dishes so they're about 3/4 full (you'll need room for the bechamel sauce and the puff pastry on top. 
  2. Add even amounts of bechamel sauce to each pie and stir to integrate. You want it to be saucy and a little wet but not swimming in the bechamel.
  3. Roll out the pastry dough and cut into sizes to fit over the tops of your individual dishes, with enough to just overhang (the pastry will seal the dishes). Cover each dish. Cut a small V into the middle of each pastry to let the steam vent. Brush lightly with the egg wash.
  4. Place in the oven and bake until the pastry is golden, about 40 minutes. Allow to sit for a couple minutes before serving. Enjoy!

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