Chicken Pot Pie


 
Chicken Pot Pie - a rich and flavoursome chicken, bacon, and vegetable mixture is topped with a flaky tender crust, and baked until deeply golden. The perfect winter comfort food
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Chicken Pot Pie - a rich and flavoursome chicken, bacon, and vegetable mixture is topped with a flaky tender crust, and baked until deeply golden. The perfect winter comfort food
Chicken Pot Pie - a rich and flavoursome chicken, bacon, and vegetable mixture is topped with a flaky tender crust, and baked until deeply golden. The perfect winter comfort food
Chicken Pot Pie - a rich and flavoursome chicken, bacon, and vegetable mixture is topped with a flaky tender crust, and baked until deeply golden. The perfect winter comfort food
Chicken Pot Pie - a rich and flavoursome chicken, bacon, and vegetable mixture is topped with a flaky tender crust, and baked until deeply golden. The perfect winter comfort food
Chicken Pot Pie - a rich and flavoursome chicken, bacon, and vegetable mixture is topped with a flaky tender crust, and baked until deeply golden. The perfect winter comfort food

Well, I think it is fair to say that we are elbow deep in silly season. There are orders coming out our ears, I've put off making my great grandma's christmas cake at least four times because I'm scared of the recipe (it bakes for SIX HOURS), and I have a list a mile long of things I want to do before Christmas. I will admit that it doesn't feel very festive around our apartment - we aren't getting a christmas tree this year. As much as I would love to, our current foster cat Winnie doesn't have the best track record with leaving the plants alone, so I have a feeling that a tree would result in far too many ingested pine needles on her part. Not a fun time. 

The best part about Silly Season though, is all of the comfort food. I'm still getting used to it not being boiling hot over xmas like it is back in NZ (and continuously in a state of denial that a cold Christmas is FINE and I'm not at ALL homesick), but am taking every chance I can get to make us cozy meals to take the edge off a little. 

This is one of my absolute faves, and for Rich is a total taste of home. The recipe for this comes from a laminated piece of paper they have in their kitchen at home - I think it might be from his sister's cooking class when she was at school or something along those lines. Regardless, it's an epic recipe. It's a flavourful veggie-chicken-bacon-sauce situation, covered with a lid of flaky pastry. I made my own for this pie because I had some in the fridge, but store bought works just as well and is equally as delicious, and much easier. There's a little chopping and cooking and mixing to do to prepare the base but it's totally worth it. I've also made this a couple of times after thanksgiving, adding turkey and stuffing, and it is next level. This is what comfy and cosy is meant to taste like. 

A few wee tips:

  • I made this with home made pastry, but 500g of ready made puff pastry, thawed, works perfectly in it's place!

  • I pulled my best Julie Jones with the lattice - it was easier than I thought! I just latticed on a piece of parchment, then popped it in the freezer for a little bit to firm up. I then used a round tin the same diameter as my dish, and cut out a circle, which I slid onto the top of the pie. It was super effective and there were no edges to fiddle round with

  • A plain lid of pastry works just as well here! You do you.

  • I often make this earlier in the day, and keep it in the fridge until I'm ready to bake it for dinner. That way you can just throw it in the oven when you need! Make sure to adjust the cooking time slightly if you are cooking it from cold.

  • I use two pans to make this - one for the bacon and chicken and one for the veggies. It makes it much easier but you can do things in batches if you just want to use the one frying pan!

 

 

Chicken Pie

- Serves 4-5 people -

Pie Dough
2 1/2 cups (310g) Flour
Pinch of Salt
2 sticks (226g) cold butter, cut into cubes
1 cup (240ml) cold water
1 cup ice
1/4 cup (60ml) Apple cider vinegar

Filling
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
One medium onion, finely diced
3 ribs of celery, finely sliced
2 medium carrots, peeled and finely diced
Salt and pepper to season
100g bacon, de-rinded and roughly chopped
750g skinless boneless chicken breast, cut into small cubes. 
3 Tbsp Flour
1 1/4 cup (315ml) chicken stock
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp dried Thyme

1 Recipe Pie dough, alternatively 500g puff pastry, thawed
Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water

 

- PROCESS -

PIE DOUGH

Place flour and salt into a large bowl. Cut butter into chunks, and add to the flour. Toss lightly to coat. Working quickly, using a pastry blender or  your fingers,  cut the butter into the flour mixture until there are only pea-sized chunks left. You want a few lumps of butter remaining to keep the pastry nice and tender.

Combine ice, water and cider vinegar in a bowl. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the ice water into the flour and butter mixture, and using a stiff spatula or your hands, mix in well. Continue adding water a tablespoon at a time ( I normally need about 8-10 tbsp) until you have a dough that holds together well, but is not too wet. Squeeze together with your fingertips to make a homogenous dough. Shape into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Rest in the fridge for at least two hours, or preferably overnight. 

FILLING AND ASSEMBLY

Preheat the oven to 400˚f / 200˚c. Prepare a dish with a 6 cup capacity (I used a 9 inch diameter casserole dish, but a rectangle shape would work well too)

Melt 2 Tbsp of the butter in a large skillet or frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and carrot. Cook gently, stirring often, partially covered, until tender, approximately 20 minutes. Season well with Salt and Pepper. Remove from the heat while the chicken and bacon is finishing.

After the vegetables have been cooking for 10 minutes, heat a second frying pan over high heat. Add 2 Tbsp of butter, then add the chopped bacon and chicken. Cook until the chicken is golden brown, and cooked through. 

Return the pan of vegetables to low heat, and add the flour and 1/2 tsp salt. Stir well, then add the stock, cream and thyme, and stir until well combined. Fold through the cooked chicken and bacon and stir to combine. Remove from the heat and turn the filling into a dish with a 6 cup capacity. 

Remove the pie dough from the fridge. Roll out until it is approximately 1/8" (3mm) in thickness. Cut a thick strip (as shown in photos) and use to place around the edge of the dish to help seal. Brush the strip lightly with egg wash. Cut the remaining dough into strips, and decorate the top with desired lattice. Alternatively leave the piece of dough whole, and make a plain 'lid' for your pie - be sure to cut a small vent to allow steam to escape. 

Brush the top of the pie all over with egg wash. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Allow to stand 10 mins before serving.

Chicken Pot Pie - a rich and flavoursome chicken, bacon, and vegetable mixture is topped with a flaky tender crust, and baked until deeply golden. The perfect winter comfort food

Individual Steak and Mushroom Pies


 
Individual steak and mushroom pies - flaky pastry encases a rich meaty filling with a flavourful gravy
Individual steak and mushroom pies - flaky pastry encases a rich meaty filling with a flavourful gravy
Individual steak and mushroom pies - flaky pastry encases a rich meaty filling with a flavourful gravy
Individual steak and mushroom pies - flaky pastry encases a rich meaty filling with a flavourful gravy
Individual steak and mushroom pies - flaky pastry encases a rich meaty filling with a flavourful gravy
Individual steak and mushroom pies - flaky pastry encases a rich meaty filling with a flavourful gravy
Individual steak and mushroom pies - flaky pastry encases a rich meaty filling with a flavourful gravy
Individual steak and mushroom pies - flaky pastry encases a rich meaty filling with a flavourful gravy

Hi! I'm back! I've only been gone for two weeks, but loads and loads has happened in that time! We got back from the wedding / our road trip up Cape Cod, both of which were SO AMAZING. I had planned on getting a few posts up while we were up at the place we were staying for the wedding, but got all caught up in making an army of wedding cake / food / winery tours / catching up with everyone I hadn't seen in forever! I hauled some serious ass to get a bunch of things shot before we left (salted caramel apple babka and home-made Jelly tips, uhhhh hello!), so I have a couple of delicious recipes coming your way very soon! We got back a few days ago, but i've been having some me time / hiding from the internet for a little bit just to have a wee break!

I have been sitting on this recipe for a while, waiting for it to cool down a little before I shared it. Having your oven on for 3 hours in the middle of summer isn't the most ideal of situations, and I endured a very sweaty few days testing and re testing these when it was well over 30˚ outside. Don't do it. 

While most food in the States is fairly similar to what we have back home, one of the things that they haven't seemed to catch onto very much is individual meat pies. If I asked you if you wanted a pie in NZ, this is what I would be referring to - a flaky crusted pie, filled with a savoury meat filling. You can buy pies at almost every bakery / corner store / petrol station in New Zealand, and as far as I am concerned, they are they ultimate comfort food. They are hugely popular as lunch for tradesmen / builders back home, or as a quick hungover pick me up. 

You can get pies at a couple of places here in NYC, but I have found that they aren't quite the same - they don't quite hit the spot, so I set out to make something for myself! I went with a fairly simple filling - a classic steak and mushroom. The filling is totally cooked down to a meaty rich gravy situation, before being assembled along with the pastry crust and lid. These can be made in bulk and frozen, or they would be perfect for a dinner party served alongside a side salad. Enjoy!

A few wee notes:

  • If possible, give your pie filling time to cool completely in the fridge - it makes the assembly process much easier when everything is cold!

  • You will need to re-roll some of the dough to make enough lids for the pies - pop it in the fridge for 10 minutes or so before re rolling

  • I made this in my dutch oven which meant I could sear the meat etc on the stove and then transfer, but you can easily do it in a frying pan / casserole dish set up!

  • cooked pies freeze really well, just reheat them in the oven!

  • I used these mini pie dishes - they are super cheap, and my fave!

  • This mixture would likely make 1 - 2 larger pies.

 

 

Individual Steak and Mushroom Pies

- Makes Eight 5 inch (13cm) Pies -

Pie dough
5 cups (620g) Flour
Pinch of Salt
4 sticks (450gg) cold butter, cut into cubes
1 cup (240ml) cold water
1 cup ice
1/4 cup (60ml) Apple cider vinegar

Filling
1kg (2.2lbs) braising steak such as brisket, fat removed, diced into 1cm chunks
2 large onions, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
450g (16oz) button mushrooms, finely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
3-4 rashers thick-cut bacon, finely chopped
5 cups (1.25L) beef stock
salt and pepper to season
6 Tbsp (54g) Corn Starch
1 cup (240ml) water

Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water

- PROCESS -

PIE DOUGH

This is best made in two batches - do the first with half of the ingredients (2.5 cups flour, pinch of salt, 2 sticks butter), then repeat with the second half. Divide each batch into two before wrapping and resting. The apple cider vinegar / ice mixture is enough for both batches.

Place half of the flour and salt into a large bowl. Cut butter into chunks, and add to the flour. Toss lightly to coat. Working quickly, using a pastry blender or  your fingers,  cut the butter into the flour mixture until there are only pea-sized chunks left. You want a few lumps of butter remaining to keep the pastry nice and tender.

Combine ice, water and cider vinegar in a bowl. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the ice water into the flour and butter mixture, and using a stiff spatula or your hands, mix in well. Continue adding water a tablespoon at a time ( I normally need about 8-10 tbsp) until you have a dough that holds together well, but is not too wet. Squeeze together with your fingertips to make a homogenous dough. Shape into two rectangles and wrap in plastic wrap.

Repeat the process with the second half of ingredients. Rest in the fridge for at least two hours, or preferably overnight. 

FILLING

You can either cook the beef etc in a frying pan and transfer to an oven safe casserole dish or something similar, or if you have a cast iron dutch oven, you can cook off the ingredients on the stove, then transfer the whole thing to the oven

Preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. Place a large cast iron dutch oven (mine is a 5.5 quart), over high heat. Once heated, add a glug of olive oil, and add half of the beef. Cook until golden brown on all sides. Remove and set aside. Repeat with the second half of the beef, and set aside with the first half. 

Reduce the heat to medium. Add another glug of oil to the pan, and add the onion, garlic, and a big pinch of salt. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, until the onions are translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 5 minutes. 

If you are using a frying pan and transferring to a casserole dish, transfer now, then add the thyme, bacon, and stock. Season well with salt and pepper. 

Cover the dish and transfer to the oven. Bake for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender and the gravy is bubbling.

Carefully remove from the oven. In a small bowl, mix the water and corn starch until smooth. Stir into the pie filling. Return to the oven, and bake, uncovered, for 45-55 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until the gravy has thickened. 

Remove from the oven and allow to cool to completely, or, if preparing ahead, store in the fridge until using. (It is ideal if the mixture is cold when assembling the pies, so if possible, give it some time in the fridge if you can)

ASSEMBLY AND BAKING

On a lightly floured surface, roll out one of the rectangles of dough to approximately 1/4 inch (6mm) thickness. Line each pie dish, leaving a little dough overhanging. Re-roll scraps if needed to finish lining all of the dishes, or use a little of the second rectangle of dough. 

Place the dishes on a baking sheet, and rest in the fridge for about 10 minutes to firm up the pastry. 

Divide the filling between the lined dishes, fill each dish with enough filling to just reach the top of the dish (see photo for reference). You may have a little bit leftover. 

Roll out the second rectangle of dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut a circle a little wider than the pie dish, and place over the filling. Trim the dough so it is flush with the edge of the pans, and seal the top crust to the bottom by crimping with a fork. Cut a vent in the top crust. 

Repeat with the rest of the pies, re-rolling scraps of pastry if needed. 

Rest the pies in the fridge for 20 minutes. While they are resting, preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. Brush the tops of the pies with eggwash. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the pies are golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before serving. Leftovers can be frozen.

Individual steak and mushroom pies - flaky pastry encases a rich meaty filling with a flavourful gravy

Greek Style Pita Bread Nachos


 
Greek Style Pita Bread Nachos - Homemade pita bread chips are layered with roasted red pepper hummus, feta cheese, red peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers, and loaded up with parsley. A delicious take on the classic nacho meal. #pitabread #greeknachos #hummusnachos #saladnachos #vegetarian
Greek Style Pita Bread Nachos - Homemade pita bread chips are layered with roasted red pepper hummus, feta cheese, red peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers, and loaded up with parsley. A delicious take on the classic nacho meal. #pitabread #greeknachos #hummusnachos #saladnachos #vegetarian
Greek Style Pita Bread Nachos - Homemade pita bread chips are layered with roasted red pepper hummus, feta cheese, red peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers, and loaded up with parsley. A delicious take on the classic nacho meal. #pitabread #greeknachos #hummusnachos #saladnachos #vegetarian
Greek Style Pita Bread Nachos - Homemade pita bread chips are layered with roasted red pepper hummus, feta cheese, red peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers, and loaded up with parsley. A delicious take on the classic nacho meal. #pitabread #greeknachos #hummusnachos #saladnachos #vegetarian
Greek Style Pita Bread Nachos - Homemade pita bread chips are layered with roasted red pepper hummus, feta cheese, red peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers, and loaded up with parsley. A delicious take on the classic nacho meal. #pitabread #greeknachos #hummusnachos #saladnachos #vegetarian

Word on the street is that it's almost Football Season! Despite my Poppa's incredibly enthusiastic attempts to explain the rules of American Football to me every time I go and stay, I don't think I will ever quite grasp the rules. There are just so many people, so much swapping, flag throwing, and weird lines on the field for someone like me who grew up in a rugby mad country. We went to a game when we first moved to NYC and it's even more confusing watching it in real life than it is on TV. 

The part I like the best about watching it though, or any game in general, are the snacks. I can always get behind some good game snacks. I come from a sports-mad family who are willing to get up at any hour to watch New Zealand play. While I've never been particularly interested in the game itself (have you ever watched a full game of cricket on TV? I wouldn't recommend, sometimes it goes for FIVE DAYS), I have always been all about the food that goes alongside whatever sport happens to be on. Back home, gatherings are often centered around watching the rugby - people will get together for dinner, then cram themselves into a room to yell at the TV for a few hours. With snacks. Always with snacks. If I have anything to do with it anyway. 

This month I have teamed up with Blue Moose of Boulder to share with you the perfect game snack idea! I decided to go with a simple riff on Nachos and use a base of home made pita chips, loaded up with Roasted Red pepper hummus, red onion, red pepper, tomato, and feta. The dish goes for a quick spin in the oven, then is finished with cucumber and parsley when it comes out. If you are an olive person (which I am not), you could add some of those too! This dish comes together quickly, and is perfect to serve a crowd. The components can easily be prepared ahead of time, then assembled when you are ready. It would also be perfect for a quick weeknight dinner, or light weekend lunch! Who doesn't love Nachos?

 

 

Greek Style Pita Bread Nachos

- Serves 3-4 people -

6 - 8 medium pita breads (the thin ones are the best), or 1-2 bags pita chips
Olive oil to brush pita breads
Flaky sea salt
1 container Blue Moose of Boulder Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
1/2 medium red onion, very finely diced
1 red pepper, finely diced
1 medium tomato, finely diced
6 oz (170g) feta, crumbled
1 small cucumber, chopped into cubes
Chopped parsley to garnish
 

- PROCESS -

Preheat the oven to 400˚f / 180˚c. Brush each side of the pita breads with olive oil, and cut into 8-10 wedges. Arrange on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly golden and crunchy. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before transferring to a 9" x 13" baking dish. 

Dollop the container of hummus evenly over the pita chips, then evenly layer the onion, red pepper, tomato and feta over the top. 

Bake in the oven for 9-10 minutes, until the hummus and toppings are warmed through. 

Top with the cucumber, and chopped parsley. Serve immediately.

 

Thank you so much to Blue Moose of Boulder for sponsoring this post! All opinions are my own.