Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie with Peppery Chive Biscuits

So, back to our dinner party from the other night.  Yesterday I posted our dessert, Cream Cheese Stuffed Pumpkin Roll and today I will share with you our yummy fall dinner.  As I stated earlier, this meal is a perfect make ahead meal.  It's special enough to share with friends but easy enough to keep your sanity while entertaining, and we all know keeping our sanity is a good thing.  This recipe calls for a 9x13 pan but I think it would be really cute to cook up in individual crocks if you had them.  The ingredient list is fairly lengthy but most of it is stuff I already had in my pantry.  That said, this is definitely a meal you want to make when you have a little extra time to devote to your dinner, but trust me it will be worth the wait.  The biscuits alone are enough to send you right into a foodie frenzy!  
Chicken Pot Pie with Peppery Chive Biscuits
from Joy the Baker (<- pretty much the coolest chick on the internets)

For the Biscuits:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper (depending on how spicy you like your biscuits)
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1/4 cup (2 ounces) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
4 ounces (half of a brick) cream cheese, cold (I used low fat)
3/4 cup buttermilk, cold

For the Filling:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups whole milk (I used skim)
4 ounces (half of a brick) cream cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
3 cups shredded chicken meat (I used a rotisserie chicken)
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil (I used olive oil)
1 small onion, diced
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 cup thinly diced carrots
1 cup diced zucchini (optional)
1 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

Start by making the biscuits.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, black pepper, and chopped chives.

Add butter and cream cheese to the dry ingredients.  Use your fingers to quickly incorporate the fat into the flour.  Break up the butter and cream cheese with your fingers until some of the fat is the size of oat flakes and some of the fat is the size of small pebbles.  Always remember, less is more in these situations - if you over work your dough, the biscuits will turn out tough.
See the little chunks of butter?  That's good!
Make a small well in the center of the fat and flour mixture.  Add the buttermilk.  
Can I just go swimming in there?
Using a fork, combine the wet and dry ingredients.  Try to moisten all of the flour bits with the liquid.  
Dump the shaggy biscuit dough onto a lightly floured work surface.  Knead together until dough forms a disk about 1 1/2 inches thick.
Don't worry about making it look perfect, the less you handle it, the better!
Use a round, 1 1/2-inch biscuit cutter (I used a drinking glass that was about 2 1/2 inches and it made the perfect amount) to cut biscuits.  Gather the dough scraps, knead for a few turns, and cut out more biscuits until no dough remains.  I got 12 biscuits.  Refrigerate the biscuits until ready to bake.  

Next, make the filling.  Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Dice onion, garlic, carrots, zucchini (if using), and thaw the frozen peas.  Set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.  Whisk in the flour.  Mixture will be very thick.  Heat for 1 minute.  
Looks weird but stick with it.
Turn to low and add the chicken stock.  Whisk until no flour bits remain. Whisk in the milk and add the cream cheese.  Heat over medium low heat, stirring often, until cream cheese melts and the mixture is the consistency of warm, thick pudding (mine was a bit thinner, I'm assuming from the skim milk).  
Add chicken, lemon, and nutmeg.  Stir.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  
Remove mixture from heat and set aside.
In a skillet over medium heat, melt butter (or olive oil, if using).  Add onions and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes.  Add minced garlic and saute for one minute more.  Add carrots, zucchini, and peas.  Cook for  about 3 minutes.  The vegetables will not be entirely cooked through but they will continue to cook in the oven.  
Remove from heat and add vegetable mixture to the creamy chicken mixture.  Stir to combine.

Spoon filling into a 9×13-inch pan.  Remove the biscuits from the fridge and place them on top of the filling.  Brush the tops of the biscuits with heavy cream, buttermilk, or egg wash.
Bake for 20-23 minutes, or until biscuits are puffed and golden, and the sides of the pot pie are bubbling.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Enjoy the goodness that is chicken pot pie!
This recipe is definitely a keeper and one that I plan to repeat many times over the years, thank you Joy the Baker!

Hope you are all having a great week!


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Rollin' In the Pumpkin

Last Sunday we were lucky enough to have some friends over for dinner (check out The Sweet Art!), which gave me the perfect excuse to spend most of the day in the kitchen.  I love Sundays where there is no rush and I can pour a little extra love into my cooking/baking endeavors.  I have learned that when we are entertaining it is best for me to prepare as much ahead of time as possible.  While I wish I were that person who can chitchat in the kitchen while measuring and mixing and end up with a fabulous meal, that just isn't me.  So rather than stress myself out, I just choose recipes that can be made ahead of time with minimal last minute assembly required.  I mentioned in an earlier post that I recently started using Pinterest, cue menu for dinner party.
I decided on a hearty chicken pot pie followed by a pumpkin roll for dessert, swoon!  I will save the chicken pot pie recipe for tomorrow because right now all I have on my mind is that roll of spiced pumpkin goodness studded with chopped walnuts and stuffed with vanilla cream cheese frosting.  This was my first attempt at making any kind of "roll" dessert and I think it turned out pretty well.   
Cream Cheese Stuffed Pumpkin Roll
from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 eggs
2/3 cup mashed (canned) pumpkin
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 15x10-inch jelly roll pan.  Cut wax paper to fit the bottom of the pan and leave an inch overhang on each of the short ends of the pan. Lightly grease the wax paper and sides of the jelly roll pan.
Mix the sugar, flour, salt, soda, cinnamon, eggs and pumpkin in a large bowl and pour mixture over the waxed paper.
Sprinkle the walnuts, if using, on top of the mixture. (I did this but a lot of my walnuts stuck to my tea towel so next time I will probably mix the nuts into the batter.)
Bake for 14-15 minutes until edges pull away from the sides of the pan and center is done.

Lay a large, clean dishtowel on the counter top (it is best to use a dishtowel without any texture – a tea towel or similar towel works best). Spread a thick dusting of powdered sugar all over the towel.
When the cake comes out of the oven, turn the pan upside down on the powdered sugar-laden towel so the wax paper is on the top (helps if your husband is around to help you lift off the piping hot pan!).
Gently peel off the wax paper, being careful not to tear the roll.
Starting at one of the short ends, roll the pumpkin cake up with the towel to cool.
While the roll is cooling, mix the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar together until it is light and creamy. Once the roll is cool, unroll and with an offset spatula, carefully spread filling in an even layer over the cake.

 (Spread all the way to the edges, I left space because I thought it would ooze out but it doesn't)

Roll it up without the towel and place in the refrigerator (covered with plastic wrap or wax paper) for about an hour before serving. 
I dusted mine with additional powdered sugar before serving.