Chicken Pot Pie

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It’s beginning to get a little cooler here, which I hate because I love summer.  However, I do like the comfort foods that are associated with fall and winter–stews, roasts, and pot pie!  It was a rainy day when I made this last week and I had leftover rotisserie chicken, so pot pie it was!  This recipe is adapted from Ina Garten, so you know it’s good!!!

Ingredients
2 cups shredded chicken
5 cups chicken stock
2 chicken bouillon cubes
12 tbs. unsalted butter
2 cups chopped yellow onions
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 cups diced carrots, blanched
10 oz package frozen peas
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
Pie crust
1 egg, beaten with 1 tbs. water

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a small saucepan, heat up chicken stock and bouillon cubes, making sure the cubes are fully dissolved.  In a large pot, melt butter over medium-low heat.  Add onions until they become translucent.  Add flour and turn the burner to low.  Stir mixture thoroughly until it becomes a very light brown, very wet sand with onion mixture.  Add stock and stir until it becomes thick.  Add salt, pepper, and heavy cream.  Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.  Then add chicken, carrots, and peas; mix well.

Divide mixture into 4 ovenproof bowls.  Divide pie crusts into 4 pieces to cover the bowls.  Brush some egg wash on the edges of the bowl, then place pie crust.  Crimp and seal crust over the bowl.  Brush crust with egg wash, sprinkle pepper (and sea salt) on crust, and then cut 3 small slits into the crust.  Place bowls on a baking sheet and place in the oven for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until the crust is golden brown.

Cook’s Notes
This can be a baby led weaning recipe.  I would either take a baby portion of the crust and stew and have it sit in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before serving.  Or I would just cook the crust separately and serve the warmed stew and crust.  The stew bit is already cooked, but when it comes out of the oven it is soooooo piping hot.  My son’s pot pie sat for an hour, even after we put an ice cube in, before it was cool enough for him to eat.

To save time, I always use a cooked rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.  A whole chicken costs $4.99 where I am, and we never eat an entire one for dinner.  So I repurpose the leftover chicken into the pot pie.  It’s easier and saves me time.  I also buy pie crusts just because it’s easier and saves me time.  But I know some people like to make their own crusts, which you can do of course.

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Crock-Pot Pot Roast

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crock_potProbably not the best post photo of food I’ve ever taken, but it’s hard to take a nice fancy plated photo when you have a monster demanding dinner and daddy monster away for the evening.

Anyhoo… I don’t know why, but I really don’t like using my crock-pot.  I know it is convenient cause you just throw things in the pot, set it, and then forget it.  I also know that it is much safer than say braising something in the oven, which is my preferred method of cooking.  But today I forced myself to find a decent recipe for the crock-pot.  With Baby #2 on the way, I doubt I’ll have time to really slave over a stove and oven.  Although this recipe probably isn’t the easiest of crock-pot recipes.  I adapted a Food Network recipe, and it was pretty tasty.

ingredientsIngredients
3-4 lb. chuck roast
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup flour
2 tbs. olive oil
1-2 tbs. butter
4 medium carrots, chopped into 1 in. pieces
4 stalks celery, chopped into 1 in. pieces
1 medium onion, chopped into 2 in. pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbs. tomato paste
1 cup red wine
3 cups low-sodium beef broth
4 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 tsp. all spice

Directions
Generously sprinkle kosher salt and ground pepper on your roast.  Heat the olive oil in a medium-high skillet.  Sear all sides of the roast (about 4 minutes per side), then transfer into the crock-pot along with your chopped veggies.

Reduce the heat to medium, and add the butter and tomato paste to your skillet.  Stir with a wooden spoon until you achieve a brick reddish color.  Grab a whisk, add the flour, and then add the wine.  Whisk vigorously.  You’ll end up with clumps, which is ok.  Make sure you try to scrape the bits off the bottom of the skillet.  Add the beef broth, bay leaves, thyme, and all spice.  Bring to a simmer.  Add some salt and pepper to taste.  Whisk until the gravy has thickened (it’s ok if there are still a few lumps).

cookingPour the gravy into the crock-pot.  Cover and set to low for 8-ish hours (or if you are in a hurry, high for 3-4 hours).  Your roast is done if both the veg and meat are tender (the meat basically falls apart with just a tug of the fork).  I also make sure that the meat reaches an internal temperature of 160°F.

Take the meat out, cut against the grain, place on your serving platter.  Toss the thyme and any of the bay leaves you can find.  Strain the veg and place along side your meat.  You should be left with the gravy in the crock-pot.  Taste it as it may need additional salt and pepper.  Take a little gravy and pour over your platter just to moisten, and serve the rest of the gravy on the side in your gravy boat.


oliver_pot_roast

I serve this with a side of mash potatoes for Oliver and I.  He did look at it a bit hesitantly.  But he does that with every meal, including cake!

oliver_approved

But judging from that face, it was a huge hit!  He also wanted a second portion of mash.  Not sure where he is putting all this food…

I’ve made pot roast before for Oliver when he was much younger and doing the baby led weaning.  You can give your baby everything in the pot, just make sure the chunks of meat are large.  They’ll end up gnawing and sucking on the beef, which is fine (they are getting some iron and enjoying the flavors).  Just make sure you leave out all the salt.

Zucchini Carrot Fritter

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Of all the recipes I have to get vegetables in Baby Monster, this is the one that he always enjoys.  And when you serve it with a dill sour cream sauce, it works as a great adult appetizer or munchie.  Adults love it, Baby Monster loves it–win win!

Ingredients
2 medium zucchinis, grated
2-3 medium carrots, grated
3 large eggs
~1/4 cup flour (I use whole wheat)
pepper, nutmeg to taste (salt optional*)
1 cup olive oil (for shallow frying)

Directions
Grate your zucchinis and carrots.  I use my food processor with the grater attachment to save time.  Add eggs and stir to combine.  Add your seasonings and stir again.  Then add your flour and combine until the vegetables become pancake like.  You may need more or less flour depending on the size of your vegetables.

Heat the olive oil in a shallow pan over medium heat.  I take a cookie scoop to scoop the vegetable mixture, place it in the hot oil, and then I use the back of the scoop to flatten it out to make a pancake.  Alternatively, you can use a spoon to do this, but I find the cookie scoop the easiest.  I usually put about 4 or 5 in a pan, but don’t over crowd your pan because it will cool your oil and makes the food more greasy.  Fry on each side for 2-3 minutes.  Transfer to a power towel covered plate.  You can serve as is or add more salt before serving.

*Salt should not be consumed by babies and young children, especially if they have difficulty drinking water.  Every child is different; use what you see fit.