Easy as Chicken Pot Pie

chicken pot pie with crumbly topping

a pie for me, a pie for you

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
Olive oil

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.

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Marinate on This for a While

citrus marinated chicken thighs

lime gonna eat you up

Get this: It appears that I haven’t posted a chicken recipe in 4 months. For this chicken-obsessed cook, that’s a really (really) long time. Not that I haven’t been making chicken. Oh, because I have. I think I just felt that I was inundating everyone with too many chicken recipes. Although, as I’ve said before—you can never have too many chicken recipes. It’s true. Look it up. Go on, I’ll wait. In the meantime, I’ll be enjoying some grilled chicken thighs. Mmm. They’re so tasty, thanks to an Asian-inspired marinade that’s both salty and citrusy.

Citrus Marinated Chicken Thighs
4 to 6 skin-on bone-in chicken thighs
3 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 teaspoon of lime zest
1/4 cup of lime juice
1 teaspoon of orange juice
1/4 cup of orange juice
1 bunch of scallions, diced
1 teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of pepper

In a food processor or blender, combine the soy sauce, vegetable oil, garlic, lime zest, lime juice, orange zest, orange juice, scallions, salt and pepper. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the marinade and pour the rest into a large Ziploc bag. Add the chicken thighs, seal and gently toss so the chicken is covered with the marinade. Chill at least 30 minutes.

Heat your grill to medium-high heat. Add the chicken thighs and grill until cooked through, about 5 to 6 minutes on each side. Let rest a few minutes, top with reserved marinade, and eat.


The Bird is the Word

chipotle roasted chicken

papa ooma mow mow

Guess what people: You don’t need a special occasion to roast an entire chicken. All you need are a couple of hours to let the bird cook, and some diligence to make sure it stays nice and juicy. Normally when I roast a chicken, I just toss some lemon wedges, garlic and herbs inside, and then rub the outside with olive oil. But now that I’ve rubbed chipotle-herbed butter UNDER the skin and on the outside, I’m convinced that that’s the way to go, forever and ever. For anyone concerned that the chipotle peppers will add too much spice, fear not. Sure it offers some heat, but it was subtle and flavorful.

Chipotle Roasted Chicken
– ½ stick of butter, at room temperature
– 1 tablespoon of fresh oregano, chopped plus 3 sprigs
– 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme, chopped plus 3 sprigs
– 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary, chopped plus 3 sprigs
– 2 tablespoons of minced canned chipotle peppers in Adobe sauce
– 5 ½ to 6 ½ lb whole chicken, rinsed & patted dry (remove & reserve giblets)
– 2 large onions, cut into wedges
– 10 to 12 cloves of garlic, peeled
– 1 14.5 oz can of low-sodium chicken broth
– 1/4 cup of white wine
– Salt and pepper

Using a fork, mix together the butter, oregano, thyme, rosemary and chipotle peppers in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Position the rack in the bottom 1/3 of your oven and heat to 400º.

Place the chicken into a large roasting pan, and scatter any giblets and the neck around it. Starting at the neck of the chicken, gently lift the skin and rub all but 1 tablespoon of chipotle-herbed butter over the breast meat and thighs. Rub any butter left on your fingers over the outside of the bird. Season main cavity with salt and pepper and then place the herb sprigs inside. Loosely tie the legs together with kitchen string.

Melt the remaining tablespoon of chipotle-herbed butter and toss with the onion wedges in a bowl. Scatter the onions around the chicken and season them with salt and pepper.

Roast the chicken and onions for 30 minutes. Then place the garlic cloves around the pan and add 1/4 cup of chicken broth. Continue to roast the bird until internal temperature of the thickest part of the thigh reaches 170º. Add more chicken broth as necessary, making sure the bottom of the pan always has some liquid, and baste the chicken with pan juices every 30 minutes or so.

Remove the chicken from the oven. Place the bird, onions and garlic on a large platter and tent with foil. Add an additional 1/4 cup of broth and 1/4 cup of white wine to the roasting pan juices and bring to a boil, scraping any brown bits from the bottom. Strain the juices into a bowl and discard any fat. Carve the bird, and serve with the pan juices.

chipotle roasted chicken 2

now everybody knows that the bird is the word

Seriously folks. This is one of the best chickens I have ever cooked. It had so much flavor, that I didn’t even find the need to make a side dish. I just paired it with a salad and some homemade dressing, and it was perfect.


Colonel Mustard (Chicken) in the Kitchen

Chicken & Brussels sprouts with mustard sauce

this totally cuts the mustard

There shouldn’t be any mystery to why I love this recipe. My chicken obsession gets stronger every week, and now Brussels sprouts are gaining a similar (healthy?) fixation. Here both are covered in a flavorful mustard sauce – a sauce so good you’ll want to eat it with a spoon.

Quick story: One of my favorite movies as a kid was Clue, that madcap adaptation of the board game. Even now if I stumble upon it on cable, I have to watch it. It’s so silly and yet so clever. I’ve dreamed of hosting my own dinner party with Miss Scarlet, Professor Plum, Miss Peacock and the rest. (Well, without all the murder and dead bodies.)

So, a dinner party like that probably isn’t in my future. But now I can wholeheartedly say that Colonel Mustard did it. In the kitchen. With the knife. Oops, I mean a skillet.

Chicken and Brussels Sprouts with Mustard Sauce
– 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
– 2 tablespoons of whole grain mustard
– ¼ cup of low-sodium chicken stock
– 1 tablespoon of butter
– 12 oz of Brussels sprouts, trimmed & halved
– 1 to 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
– Salt and pepper
– Olive oil

Heat your oven to 450º.

Season the chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a tablespoon of oil in large oven-proof skillet over high heat. Add the chicken and brown on both sides, about 6 minutes. Place the skillet in the oven and bake until cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Heat another tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the Brussels sprouts and sauté for about 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until lightly browned. Add the vinegar, season with salt and pepper, cover and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until crisp-tender.

Remove the chicken breasts from the skillet and keep warm. Heat the skillet with the pan drippings over medium-high heat. Stir in the mustard and chicken stock, scraping any brown bits from the bottom, and bring to a boil. Next add the butter and simmer until the sauce thickens. (Note: The skillet will be hot directly from the oven. Use a potholder for the handle. Seriously!)

Plate chicken breasts and Brussels sprouts, top with a few spoonfuls of sauce, and then eat.

A few close-ups. It was hard to pick a favorite side of my plate.

chicken & Brussels sprouts with mustard sauce

hey chick

chicken & Brussels sprouts with mustard sauce

hello sprouts

And: if you’re looking for some Clue, here’s a link to one of my favorite scenes.


Resolve to Go Cluckin’ Nuts

walnut & rosemary crusted chicken

2013 is all about crispy, crunchy chicken

It’s a new year, so that means a new chicken recipe! Since your holidays were probably as cookie- and alcohol-filled as my own, this recipe gives you crispy chicken that’s baked not fried. The toasted panko, walnuts and fresh rosemary make a great coating, and the buttermilk and Dijon mustard make sure the chicken stays tender and juicy. This won’t help erase the last month and a half of over-eating, but it’ll help you start 2013 on the right foot. Baby steps, right people?

Walnut & Rosemary Crusted Chicken
– 4 boneless skinless chicken cutlets
– ½ cup of buttermilk
– 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
– ½ cup of panko breadcrumbs
– ½ cup of finely grated walnuts
– 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan
– 1 teaspoon of minced fresh rosemary
– ¼ teaspoon of salt
– ¼ teaspoon of pepper
– Cooking spray

Heat your oven to 425º.

In a shallow dish, mix together the buttermilk and mustard. Add the chicken cutlets, toss to coat and let marinate for about 10 minutes.

Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the panko breadcrumbs and cook, stirring frequently,  for about 3 minutes until golden. In another shallow bowl, mix together the panko, walnuts, Parmesan, rosemary and salt and pepper.

Place a wire rack over a baking sheet and lightly coat with cooking spray. Dredge the chicken cutlets in the panko mixture and place on the wire rack. (Discard the buttermilk mixture afterwards.) Bake the chicken for 13 to 15 minutes until cooked through.

Happy 2013 everyone!


Gratin to Something Good

chicken sausage, mushroom & potato gratin

it’s gggggratin

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving last week. I’m just now coming out of my food coma due to four solid says of eating and relaxing with my family. And what have I found since snapping back to reality? It’s cold. Very cold. I wasn’t expecting that, or the snow flurries we got yesterday. One mild winter and your entire sense of the seasons change! Anyway … when it’s cold, I like to eat things that are warm and hearty and cheesy. This gratin (which is a fancy term used when something baked has a nice, golden crust on top) delivers on all that big-time. It’s got so many of the flavors that I love too: mushrooms, potatoes and sweet apple chicken sausage. If you’ve never tried that before, you’re really missing out. The brand I used has maple syrup in it, adding a little touch of sweetness. Eating this almost put me back into my food coma. Hmm. Maybe I’ll eat more and stay in there until spring.

Chicken Sausage, Mushroom & Potato Gratin
– 4 to 5 Al Fresco Sweet Apple Chicken Sausages, casings removed
– 1 large onion, chopped
– 4 oz of sliced mushrooms
– 1 ½ lbs of small red potatoes, halved and quartered
– ½ cup of low-sodium chicken stock
– ¾ cup of shredded Swiss cheese
– Garlic salt
– Pepper
– Olive oil
– Cooking spray

Heat your oven to 400º.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook for 6 minutes, stirring to crumble, until browned and cooked through. Remove the sausage from the skillet and place into a bowl; set aside.

Add a little olive oil to the skillet and then add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook another 5 minutes. Add the potatoes, season to taste with garlic salt and pepper, and cook for about 10 minutes, until slightly soft and just starting to brown. (Cook longer if you want them really brown – just make sure the potatoes don’t get too soft or stick to the skillet.) Stir in the sausage and chicken broth.

Place the mixture into a 9×7 baking dish (or similar) and top with the shredded Swiss. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes, or until golden. Let cool slightly, and then eat.


Totes McGoats Cheese Stuffed Chicken

goat cheese stuffed chicken

totally stuffed

Chicken, covered in breadcrumbs, stuffed with cheese. What could possibly be wrong with that? The secret for this goat cheese stuffed chicken is letting the stuffed cutlets chill in the fridge before dipping and dredging in the breadcrumbs. They’ll hold their shape that way, and allow the cheese mixture to set. I used marjoram and rosemary but feel free to use any herbs you like.

Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken
– 4 boneless skinless chicken cutlets (about 5 to 6 oz each)
– 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
– 1 medium shallot, minced
– 1 teaspoon of freshly chopped rosemary
– 1 teaspoon of freshly chopped marjoram
– 1 clove of garlic, minced or pressed
– 2 oz of cream cheese, softened
– 2 oz of goat cheese, softened
– 2 cups of breadcrumbs
– ½ cup of flour
– 2 eggs, lightly beaten
– 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
– Salt and pepper
– Olive oil

One at a time, place the chicken cutlets between two pieces of wax paper and pound with a meat mallet, or something similar, until lightly flattened. Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper.

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Stir in the rosemary, marjoram and garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Set aside to cool, and then combine with the sour cream and goat cheese, season to taste with salt and pepper, and mix until smooth.

Place the flattened chicken cutlets on a clean surface. Put a spoonful of filling near the tapered end of the cutlet, and then roll the chicken over the filling to a form a neat, tight package (or, as a neat as you can get it). Repeat with the remaining cutlets. Place the stuffed cutlets, seam-side down, on a large plate and refrigerate for 1 hour.

When ready to bake, heat your oven to 350º.

Put the breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl and combine with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. In another shallow bowl, combine the flour with ¼ teaspoon of salt and ⅛ teaspoon of pepper. In a third shallow bowl, whisk the eggs and Dijon mustard together. Working with 1 stuffed cutlet at a time, dredge it in the flour (shaking off any excess), then in the egg mixture, and then coat with breadcrumbs, gently pressing so they stick. Place the breaded cutlets at least 1 inch apart on a wire rack set over a large baking sheet. (Coating the wire rack with cooking spray will help prevent sticking.) Bake until the center of the chicken registers 160º to 165º, about 35 to 40 minutes. Let rest about 5 minutes, and then eat.