Individual Chicken Pot Pies

I have always loved chicken pot pie. Even when I was a young girl I thought it so comforting. I especially loved the gravy. When my children were very young I began to learn how to bake. I bravely made white and wheat bread, homemade cakes and pies. Most attempts turned out pretty badly. I remember once serving company  homemade coconut cake it was so dry, all they could say was how much they admired me for trying. In time my efforts improved. I got to know the look and feel of bread and pie dough and mastered the cake batter. I made the chicken pot pie recipe in the Better Homes and Garden cookbook over and over again until I could make it pretty much perfect. My children have always loved it. To this day if I make a special  dinner they ask for that pot pie. The crust is flakey and crispy. The filling heavenly, with the flavor of fresh sage and thyme baked into the chicken. The tender pieces of chicken, sweet carrot, baby potatoes, and a few fresh peas add even more flavor. I love the idea of making them individual just like the banquet pot pies my Mom used to buy. Only these are oh so much tastier.

DSCF6627

DSCF6576

I like to bake my chicken in chicken broth, sprinkled with fresh sage, thyme, kosher salt, and fresh cracked pepper. The broth keeps the chicken very tender and flavorful.

DSCF6580

Chop the vegetables in a small dice. Keeping them the same size for even cooking.

DSCF6587Boil the potatoes and carrots together.

DSCF6582Sauté the onion and celery together.

DSCF6593

Dice the chicken.

DSCF6589The gravy is made in the in the pan I sauté the onions and carrots in.

DSCF6598

Add all of the cooked vegetables and chicken.

DSCF6605

Pour the filling into the tins.

DSCF6609

Put the crusts on top and egg wash and bake.

DSCF6615

DSCF6633

Time to enjoy!

Chicken Pot Pie

Homemade or store bough pie crust

3 cups chicken, diced

Good pinch of fresh thyme and sage, chopped

Kosher salt, to taste

Fresh cracked pepper, to taste

1 cup diced baby potatoes, yellow or red

2/3 cup carrots, diced

1/2 cup celery, diced

1 medium yellow onion, diced

¼ cup fresh or frozen peas

4 tablespoons butter

2 1/4 cups chicken stock or broth

¾ cup whole milk

1/3 cup of all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon ground sage

To prepare the chicken place the breasts into a baking dish add enough broth to generously coat the bottom, but not to cover the chicken. Sprinkle with fresh herbs, salt, and pepper. Bake 350 degree until the temperature reads 160 degrees. Rest chicken for 10 minutes. Boil the potatoes and carrots together until tender, strain and set aside. In a sauté pan melt the butter on medium heat. Add the onion, celery, salt, pepper, and ground sage. Be careful not to brown the onion. Cook until tender about 5 minutes. Add the flour to the pan stir with a whisk. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the broth while mixing with a whisk, and then add the milk and whisk to get smooth gravy. Cook until thick and bubbly. Add the chicken, potatoes, carrots, and peas. You may bake the pot pie in a 9 inch pie plate or individual tins. Pour the filling into the tins and top with your prepared dough. Cut a hole or slits in the crust to vent. Egg wash and bake at 400 degrees until golden brown and bubbling. I used only a top crust you may use top and bottom crust. You can also top with prepared puff pastry.

DSCF6615

Thanks for stopping by!

Carrot soup

DSCF6229

Carrot soup was always on the menu at The Mulberry Tearooms where I had worked for a short time. It is creamy and delicious. The grated carrot added after the soup is pureed compliments with a little texture. This soup was a favorite with all the customers and me! It was served with a warm baguette and butter. I loved to dip it into the soup. I penned down as much of the recipe as I could while at work on part of a menu. I took my penned notes and what I remembered when making the soup and came up with this recipe. Always use the freshest ingredients. I know you will love this comforting soup as much as I do. Enjoy!

DSCF6209

DSCF6211

DSCF6216

DSCF6218

DSCF6222

DSCF6225

Carrot Soup

2 Tablespoons of butter

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 ¼ lbs. fresh organic carrots, peeled and cut into 2inch pieces

4 oz. finely grated organic carrots

1 large onion, sliced

1 large clove garlic, minced

¾ teaspoon of kosher salt, or to your taste

¼ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper, or to your taste

31/2 cups good vegetable stock or chicken stock

¼ cup heavy cream

Good pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Crème fraiche or sour cream

Melt butter in a heavy bottomed pot. Add the sliced onion cook for about 5minutes just to sweat the onion. Add the garlic cook for 1-2 minutes then add the cut carrots, and salt and pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the stock, bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the carrots are fork tender. Puree soup in a food processor or emersion blender. If using food processor put the soup back in the pot. Add the grated carrot, fresh nutmeg. Cook 10 minutes more till soup is heated through. Serve with a dollop of crème fraiche or sour cream. Serve with French baguette or sour dough bread.

Note: If you don’t want the extra calories of the heavy cream you can omit it. You may need to add just a little extra stock after you puree.

Thanks for stopping by!!!

Beef and Guinness Pot Pie

DSCF2305I remember when my Grandmother lived with us for a time; she and Mom prepared what they called steak pie. It was chunks of beef, onion and a little gravy. The crust was plain and something was in the middle of the pie as a vent. I really can’t remember what it was but I’m thinking it was a shot glass. Is that possible? I don’t remember if I even liked the pie. I suppose I was just too young. I just remember Mom and Grandma in the kitchen together and preparing this meal. I have no way of knowing the recipe that was used Mom had no recipe box that I’ve ever known. But I remember the pie being served and want to bring it to my family table and remember these two special ladies whom I miss and love very deeply. I love pot pie and thought this was a great way of recreating Grandmas pie. To make the gravy extra rich and special I’ll add Guinness Stout Beer. I took all the flavors I love from my beef stew, deleted a few ingredients, added just a few new ingredients, to change up the taste and it’s now Beef and Guinness Pot Pie. The Guinness gives the gravy such a depth of flavor here. Out of the oven this pie is rich and delicious with a flaky crust. I have a feeling Mom and Grandma would just love it.

DSCF2315

Beef and Guinness Pot Pie

2lbs. chuck stewing beef, cut in 2” pieces

3-4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons olive oil

Salt

Pepper

2 large onions, cut in half then cut in half again, then cut into thick slices

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups carrots cut into 2” chunks

5 thyme sprigs, leaves removed

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons sugar

1 ½ cups beef stock

1 cup Guinness stout beer

1 short crust pastry or puff pastry

Season the meat with salt and pepper. Coat the meat with flour. You could use a zip lock bag for this.

In a heavy bottomed pot heat 1 ½ tablespoons of the olive oil Brown the meat in batches. You will need to add a little more oil for each batch up to 2 tablespoons total. Remove each batch to a plate. Add 1 more tablespoon of oil cook the onion 5 minutes. Add the garlic cook 1-2 minutes more. Add the meat back to the pot. Add Worcestershire sauce, sugar, 2 bay leaves, thyme leaves. Give this a good stir. Add the Guinness stout beer and beef broth; add just a pinch more salt and pepper. Give a good stir. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook 1 ½ hours till beef is tender. Remove the lid and simmer 1 hour to let the gravy thicken. Store this filling for your pie overnight in the refrigerator. This will allow the flavors to develop. Next day reheat the beef mixture. Prepare your short crust or puff pastry. Fill a 9 inch pie pan with the beef mixture. Top with the crust. Make a few cuts in the crust to vent. Bake in a 400 degree oven 20-30 minutes till golden.

Note: You could also add mushrooms. Cook them 5-8 minutes remove to a plate, and then cook the onion and garlic.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

Special Cottage Pie

sp9 In 1998 our family moved from Washington State to England. We lived there for about eighteen months. Shortly after we arrived a lovely British family we had met invited our family for dinner. It was the first home cooked meal we’d had since arriving. The menu was shepherd’s pie made with lamb, and bread and butter pudding for dessert. The meal was delicious and their hospitality was a blessing to us. I found as we traveled about England, Scotland, and Ireland they all had this on the menu but they called it Cottage Pie or Shepherd’s Pie and made it with a beef or lamb mixture and topped with potatoes that were toasted under a broiler. I have always made  mine with beef. I like to top mine with cheddar cheese and then put in back in the oven to get all melted. The ingredients are simple but very delicious. A comforting meal on a cold winter day.  I call it special cottage pie and this is my version.

sp4

sp5

sp7

sp8

Special cottage pie

For the filling

2lb. ground beef

3 large shallots, chopped

3 large cloves garlic, minced

2 bay leaves

½ teaspoon ground allspice

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoons tomato paste

4 small carrots sliced (boiled)

2 1/4 cups beef stock

For the topping

10 small Yukon gold potatoes

½ up ¾ cup whole milk  

1/2  – 1 stick butter

2 tablespoons sour cream

Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

¼ cup chopped fresh chives (optional)

Grated cheddar cheese (optional)

Prepare filling

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Brown the ground meat and reserve 2 tablespoons of the fat. Set Add the meat aside add reserved fat back  to the pan over medium heat add the shallot, garlic, and bay leaf cook for 1 minute. Add the meat back to the pan add the allspice, cinnamon, salt and pepper, 2 tablespoons of flour, carrots, and the tomato paste. Stir mixture together and cook 2 minutes. Add the beef stock slowly while stir to get a nice juicy consistency. You don’t want it to be to soupy looking. Cook about 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaves. Fill a pie plate with the mixture or individual oven ware.

For the topping

Boil the potatoes, drain, mash potatoes using electric mixer. Add butter, sour cream, salt and pepper, and milk. Whip till light and fluffy add the chives at last mixing. When mixing mash potatoes always mix the potatoes till they look smooth before adding milk this will reduce any lumps. Unless in fact you like lumps then mix less before adding milk. Top the meat mixture with the potatoes, I use a pastry bag to do this but you can just heap them on top. Bake 15-20 minutes till top browns add cheese at the last few minutes.

Thanks for stopping by!

Janet’s Beef Stew

DSCF4244

November’s here and there’s a  chill in the air today. I’m remembering the yummy comfort food dinners I made for my kids when they were young. One of their favorites was their Grandmother Janet’s beef stew. We made this stew together on one of her visits to Washington, State where we lived at the time. I have used this recipe ever since that day with just a few tweaks of my own. One of the magic ingredients in this stew is the fresh lemon juice. It gives the stew a fresh flavor. The beef, onion, garlic, fresh thyme, and Worcestershire sauce are mingling together in the pot. Then I add a big squeeze of half a fresh lemon. When the lemon juice hits the bottom of the pan the fragrance makes you instantly hungry. When I’m really craving a heartier dish, I omit the quartered potatoes and mash potatoes and top them with the stew and yummy gravy. I serve homemade biscuits with soft butter to dip in the gravy. I’m making this stew today and cherishing those memories of the past.

DSCF4251

DSCF4247

DSCF4255

Janet’s Brown Stew

2lb. boneless beef chuck, cut into 1”cubes

¼ cup flour to dreg the meat, optional

4 cups hot water

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 large onion, ½ chopped and half sliced in half

2 bay leaves

Fresh thyme, 3 sprigs

2 tsp. Salt

½ tsp. pepper

6 carrots, sliced into rounds

4 potatoes, diced

Canola oil, as needed to brown meat

In a heavy saucepan, brown meat in canola oil. I like to dreg the meat in flour with salt and pepper this is optional. You don’t want to crowd the meat the browning is very important to the flavor of the stew. Do the meat in batches and set aside. Add chopped onion cook 4-5 minutes till tender and then add the garlic cook 1-2 minutes. Add the meat back to the saucepan, bay leaves, fresh thyme leaves, Worcestershire, salt, and pepper, and lemon juice. Add the potatoes and carrots. bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer after the boil. simmer 3-4 hours. If you want a thicker gravy use 2 tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with a little water. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the stew then boil for 1 minute. Serve with biscuits or crusty bread.

DSCF4254

Thanks for stopping by!

Cream of Chicken and Potato soup

Cream of Chicken and Potato Soup
Cream of Chicken and Potato Soup

It’s a beautiful, chilly fall day here in South Jersey. My boys stopped by to visit today, so I thought I’d treat them to a comforting homemade soup. This soup reminds me of my chicken potpie filling, just a lot easier. I stopped at the food store after church and picked up a fresh rotisserie chicken to make the task a little easier. I want to cook them a homemade soup but have time to enjoy their company as well. Will call this semi homemade! The soup couldn’t be easier to put together. I peeled and chopped the veggies and put them in the pot, covered them with the stock cooked them till they were tender, and then added the prepared chicken.  While the veggies are cooking I made the white sauce then combined the two and our soup was ready. It’s rich and hearty, and tastes like it took hours to make. We all enjoyed the soup and spending some time together. Having my boys for a visit made my Sunday an extra special day.

Base of the soup.
Base of the soup.
White Sauce.
White Sauce.
Base of soup and white sauce combine.
Base of soup and white sauce combine.
Cream of Chicken and Potato Soup.
Cream of Chicken and Potato Soup.

Cream of Chicken and Potato Soup

Soup Base

5 Cups russet potatoes, peeled, washed and cut into 1 inch chunks

1 small onion, chopped

3-4 Carrots, peeled wash a cut into ½ inch rounds

2 Bay leaves

4 Sprigs of thyme remove the leaves and discard the stems

2 Boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cut into bite sized pieces, or the breast of one rotisserie chicken cut into bite sized pieces.

3-4 Cups chicken stock

½ Teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper to taste

Fresh parsley to garnish

White Sauce

5 Tablespoons butter

5 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups milk, whole or 2 percent

In a large pot add the potatoes, onion, fresh thyme, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and chicken stock. The stock should just cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Lower to medium heat to simmer the vegetables until they are fork tender. About 12-15 minutes. Add the cooked chicken. Remove the bay leaves. To make the white sauce, melt the butter in a large fry pan over medium low heat. Add the flour to the butter and stir with a whisk. Cook while stirring for 1-2 minutes to cook out the flour taste from the butter. Turn the gas up to a medium high heat and add the milk slowly while whisking into the butter and flour mixture. Whisk till the mixture becomes thick and bubbly. With a wooden spoon add the white sauce to the vegetable mixture over medium heat slowly to combine. Taste for the seasoning you may want more salt or pepper at this point. Garnish with fresh parsley before serving. Cook 5-10 minutes more and serve or simmer on a very low flame till you are ready to serve.

If you would like to make this soup vegetarian use vegetable stock and omit the chicken. You could add celery and more carrots to make it a little heartier.

Listen! the wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves, we have had our Summer evenings, now for October eves!

Humbert Wolfe

Thanks for stopping by!