Spring is right around the corner…

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010 | General

Although it’s hard to believe looking out the window this morning at the results of the latest storm (only a couple inches of snow–not bad), spring IS coming!  We’ve actually had a relatively mild winter here.  Lots of storms elsewhere in the country, but they all seem to be going around us here.  I just keep thinking about how much we need the precipitation and how happy we’ll be for it once spring arrives and Lamoille greens up and goes into full bloom.

We had a wonderful fall in Lamoille.  John and I got to spend some extra time there this year and really enjoyed long evenings on the patio, watching the deer go through the yard and visiting with neighbors we don’t get to see near enough.   There’s just a special peace to Lamoille that’s hard to describe until you’ve experienced it for yourself.

Some of the highlights of fall for us:  going for long walks at dusk,  watching a family of raccoons play in our yard, baking at Little Creek (more on that later), watching our 3-year-old son have the time of his life on his little John Deere tractor,  people-watching on the front porch of the Bitter-End Tavern, picking hawberries in the yard with our kids, getting a lesson in making Hawberry Jelly from our neighbor Gaylon,  and having a couple fabulous meals at the Pine Lodge.  We really had a great time!

Here is one of my favorite recipes for fall and winter, pure comfort food!  It comes from a great recipe book by Rebecca Rather, ”The Pastry Queen: Royally Good Recipes from the Texas Hill Country’s Rather Sweet Cafe.”

The Pastry Queen’s All Sold out Chicken Pot Pie

SERVES 6 -12 , 2 Pies

Ingredients

    FILLING

    • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 red bell pepper, diced
    • 8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
    • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    • salt & freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 purchased cooked rotisserie chicken or whole stewedchicken, cooled
    • 8 ounces fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces (optional)
    • 1 (8 ounce) package frozen peas (optional)

    CREAM SAUCE

    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
    • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (optional)
    • 1 dash hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
    • salt and fresh ground white pepper

    CRUST

    • 1 cup chilled unsalted butter
    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 10 ounces chilled cream cheese
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground white pepper
    • 1 large egg (to wash the crust)

    Directions

    1. To make the filling:  Melt the butter in a large sauté pan set over medium heat. Add the onion and potato; sauté for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, bell pepper, and mushrooms and sauté about 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Stir in the crushed red pepper and add salt and pepper to taste.
    2. While the vegetables are sauteing, skin the chicken, pull the meat off the bones and shred the meat or cut into bite-size pieces. Place the green beans in a microwave-safe bowl and add enough water to cover. Cover the dish and microwave on high power about 10 minutes, until the beans are tender. Drain thoroughly. Stir the beans, peas and chicken into the vegetable mixture. Set the filling aside.
    3. To make the cream sauce:  Melt the butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the chicken stock and cook the sauce over medium heat until it thickens to the consistency of a cream soup. Add the cream, hot pepper sauce, and salt and white pepper to taste. Pour the cream sauce over the chicken filling and stir to combine. Fill individual 1’/4-cup capacity oven-safe bowls three - quarters of the way to the top with the creamed chicken filling.
    4. To make the crust:  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cut the butter into 16 pieces. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse the butter and flour until crumbly. Add the cream cheese, salt, and white pepper. Continue pulsing just until the dough forms a ball.
    5. Set the dough on a flat surface dusted with flour. Use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thickness. Measure the diameter of the pot pie bowls—mine are about 4 inches across—and cut out dough rounds that are 1 1/2 inches larger in diameter. Whisk the egg in a small bowl. Lay the dough rounds on top of the pot pies, making sure the dough hangs evenly over each bowl. Brush the dough lightly with the beaten egg. Bake the pies for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Serve immediately.
      Enjoy!

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