Well, well, well. It’s been a long time, hasn’t it folks? Over a month if my calendar is correct.
Sidebar: Is anyone else in shock that it’s already November? 2013 has flown by. And yet, still no hover boards or flying cars. Sigh.
Luckily, I can take comfort in one of the most comforting dishes ever created – chicken pot pie. While I’m a fan of flaky pie crust surrounding a warm, saucy mixture of chicken and vegetables, I’m not a fan of making flaky pie crusts. That’s something this aspiring baker needs to work on. It would help if I actually liked fruit pies (which I don’t), but that’s a story for a different day.
But even without a pie crust, you can get the same comforting meal on your plate. Much like a crisp, this version of chicken pot pie has a crumbly topping, which takes almost no time at all to make and even has a little kick of cayenne pepper to keep things interesting. This recipe might seem like it has a lot of steps (it kinda does), but you’re basically using the same pot over and over again. Makes for easy clean up, right? And it’s also simple enough that you can enjoy this comforting meal on a weeknight. Because sometimes (many times) you need comforting on a Monday to get you through the week.
Chicken Pot Pie with Crumble Topping
For the filling:
1 ½ to 2 lbs of boneless chicken breasts
3 cups of chicken broth
1 small onion, finely diced
2 large carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
8 oz of mushrooms, diced
1 teaspoon of soy sauce
1 teaspoon of tomato paste
4 tablespoons (½ stick) of butter
½ cup of flour
1 cup of milk
2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup of frozen peas
For the topping:
2 cups of flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
3/4 teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of pepper
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
6 tablespoons of butter, cut into ½ inch cubes and chilled
½ cup of grated Parmesan
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of heavy cream
Bring the chicken breasts and chicken broth to a simmer in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook until chicken is done, about 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to a large bowl. Pour broth through a fine mesh strainer into another bowl and reserve. Don’t rinse Dutch oven.
Heat your oven to 450º.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper and cayenne. Add butter cubes, and using fingers, rub butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse corn meal. Stir in the Parmesan, and then mix in the cream until combined. Crumble mixture onto a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until light browned and fragrant. Remove from oven and set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery, season with salt and pepper, and cook until soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. While veggies are cooking, cut chicken breasts into small cubes. Add cooked veggies to the same bowl as the chicken.
Heat another tablespoon of oil in the Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until juices are released, about 5 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce and tomato paste, increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently, until liquid has evaporated, mushrooms are well browned and a dark fond begins to form on the surface of the pan, about 5 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to the bowl with the chicken and veggies.
Heat the butter in the Dutch oven over medium heat. When foaming subsides, stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the milk and the reserved chicken broth. Bring to a simmer, scraping the bottom to loosen the browned bits and then cook until the sauce thickens and can coat the back of a wooden spoon. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Then mix in the chicken, cooked veggies and peas.
Pour the mixture into a 9×13 baking dish (or several individual pie dishes) and top with an even layer of the crumbled topping. Bake until bubbling and topping is browned, about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly and then eat.
Remember those breakfast cereal commercials from the 80s? Anyone who sat around in their pajamas in the wee hours of Saturday morning should know what I’m talking about. The announcer would always say: Part of a complete breakfast! And they they’d cut to a plate of toast and some random fruit next to the bowl of Frosted Flakes or Trix, as if eating bread and real fruit made the cereal better for you.
That story doesn’t really have anything to do with these mini muffins, because they don’t have cereal (although watch out of a future recipe that does). But they could be considered a complete breakfast. You’ve got your bananas, always a morning-time staple. You’ve got everyone’s favorite breakfast meat, bacon. And you’ve got chocolate for good measure. (Also cinnamon for that cozy kick.)
But here’s the real question:
Are these breakfast muffins masquerading as decadent little treats, or decadent little treats pretending to be — and doing a darn good job of it — breakfast food? I’ll let you decide.
Chocolate Banana Bacon Mini Muffins
2 ½ cups of flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of salt
½ cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup of sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla
4 ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup of milk chocolate chips
6 slices of bacon, cooked & crumbled
Maple Sugar Camp Mix
Heat your oven to 400º.
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, and then add the vanilla. Add the flour mixture a little at a time until well combined, scraping down the sides as needed. Beat in the mashed bananas, and then stir in the chocolate chips and crumbled bacon. (Or: If you want non-bacon eaters to enjoy them, divide the batter in half and only put bacon in some of it.)
Lightly grease a mini muffin pan and then spoon batter 3/4 of the way into each cup. Sprinkle each with Maple Sugar Camp Mix, and then bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until puffed and lightly browned. Let them cool completely in the muffin pan. Then remove muffins and enjoy.
Everyone knows bread pudding, but this one isn’t for dessert. Well, you could have it for dessert, but then you’d have to eat something sweet for dinner. That’s because this version of bread pudding is savory. It’s a comforting meal with the right mix of salty Parmesan, salty pancetta, fluffy bread and the distinctive bite of broccoli rabe. You could use regular broccoli and good ol’ bacon, but the broccoli rabe and pancetta class it up a bit.
Parmesan Bread Pudding with Broccoli Rabe & Pancetta
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 medium bunch of broccoli rabe, trimmed & cut into ½ inch pieces
1 ½ cups of milk
6 to 8 slices of country-style bread, cut into 1 inch pieces
½ cup of grated Parmesan, plus 2 tablespoons
6 slices of pancetta
Salt and pepper
Heat your oven to 350º.
Add a tablespoon of oil to a large skillet and heat over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir until the garlic is soft, about 30 seconds. Add the broccoli rabe, season with salt and pepper, and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Let cool slightly.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper. Add the broccoli rabe mixture, bread and ½ cup of Parmesan and stir to combine. Transfer to a lightly greased 1 3/4 quart baking dish. Add the pancetta slices to the top and the remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan.
Bake until puffed, browned and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes. Let cool slightly and then eat.
Well folks, here we are: Post Number 200. I really can’t believe it. I didn’t think I’d ever make to 100, but then I did. And now there’s 100 posts more. Wow. A gigantic THANKS to everyone who’s egged me on over the past 2+ years.
I’m very happy that this little endeavor of mine has evolved from an egg-centric blog to one that now includes everything – cookies, chicken, baked goods, ice cream, brussels sprouts – that I love to make and eat. This ciabatta breakfast pizza fits in quite nicely. It’s comforting and easy, a little spicy and cheesy, and puts a new spin on a classic dish – French bread pizza. Plus, it’s something you can eat for brunch or supper, which in my book means it’s a truly awesome dish.
Ciabatta Breakfast Pizza
1 demi loaf of ciabatta bread, cut in half lengthwise
2 to 3 links of hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
4 slices of hot pepper Colby Jack cheese
Salt and pepper
Scallions, chopped (for garnish)
Heat your oven to 450º.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, breaking it into pieces, and cook until brown and no traces of pink. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2 more minutes.
Place the bottom half of the ciabatta bread on a baking sheet, and put the other half aside for another recipe (or make 2 pizzas). Lightly drizzle the bread with olive oil and a sprinkle of garlic salt. Place the cheese slices on the bread, allowing them to slightly overlap, and then add the cooked sausage on top. Bake for 10 minutes, until the cheese melts and the bread crisps.
While the pizza bakes, fry the eggs. Season with salt and pepper. Gently place the eggs on top of the pizza and garnish with chopped scallion. Cut into pieces and eat.
Thanks again everyone. Here’s to 200 more posts!