Friday, January 27, 2012

Epic Chicken Pot Pie Fail...I Blame the Bad Chi!

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It has been awhile since I've had a completely unmitigated disaster in the kitchen. I'd like to take credit for that, having more practice cooking under my belt, however I think it's because my "bad chi" has unfortunately drifted across the bridge and is afflicting my niece Reagan! Poor kid fell and cut her forehead so badly this week that she needed a plastic surgeon to stitch it up inside and out.

As much as I've enjoyed not being constantly afflicted with clumsiness/bad chi moments while pregnant, of course I'd never want Reagan to be hurt! So, with that flawed logic, I'll claim the following signifies the gallant act of accepting my bad chi back so my niece will remain physically intact. I mean, look at that little face - how could you ever wish bad chi on her?

Note: If you haven't come across me talking about my ridiculous bad chi before, trust's real. I have endured some of the most bizarre accidents and circumstances throughout the years...which prompted my now-husband to refer to these events as my "bad chi".

What does this have to do with my cooking? Oh just wait...

This meal was building up to be a disaster long before I put it in the oven. I was supposed to have hours to spend leisurely building the dish (which is why I planned to make it in the first place!), but that didn't happen due to a change in work hours. About halfway through the recipe I realized somehow I had completely forgotten to buy chicken broth and couldn't make this dish without it. I ran out to the store and picked it up, then realized that I had also completely forgotten to pre-make the pastry crust and it needed to chill for an hour.

In hindsight, I probably should have just given up there and ordered pizza. However, I stubbornly kept going (now in hour 2 of prep), assembling dinner and heaved a giant sight of relief when I slid the completed pot pie on a baking sheet and into a hot oven.

I should have known chi was ready to rear it's ugly head.

About 5 minutes into baking I heard a sort of crashing sound from the oven. When I opened it, I saw that the cookie sheet had warped from the heat and apparently the incredibly heavy dish of pot pie wasn't heavy enough to keep it from warping. Concerned that the pot pie was sloshing all over the place, I went to pull it out and it tipped and flopped all over the inside of the oven and the oven door.

Of course I turned off the oven, walked into the living room and cried for a good 15 minutes while using words that Baby Knives should never hear. I finally collected myself and went back to mop up the mess and discovered that (of course) we were out of paper towels. I wasn't about to try to clean up using TP or coffee filters, so I grabbed one of the old bleached out ugly towels we never use, shoveled the whole gloppy mess into it and threw it in the trash can.

Now, before I did that, I lifted the crust bits off the oven door and added it back to the dish, so we were able to salvage about half of the pot pie and the flavor was fantastic...even though it looked like an unholy train wreck.

I really don't think this recipe needs any other photos other than the one above, so no photo-documentary this time - but try the recipe, it really is delicious and it's a shame I won't be making it again anytime soon...I just can't deal with the emotional bad chi fallout!

This recipe is fantastic because you get all of the classic pot pie flavors without about 1/2 the fat, since I use greek yogurt to thicken the "gravy".

Chicken Pot Pie

Ingredients (crust)
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 8 tbsp. cold butter (cubed)
- 2 large eggs
- 4 tbsp. milk

Ingredients (filling)
- 2 russet potatoes
- 4 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 3 large carrots
- 1-2 tsp. herbs de provence
- 3 cups roasted or whatever leftover chicken you have (skin removed)
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 large onion
- 1 carton mushrooms (button or whatever you like are fine)
- 3 tbsp. flour
- 1/3 cup milk
- 3 stalks celery
- 8 oz. nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 1 cup chopped frozen broccoli
- Salt and pepper to taste


Prepare the crust first (NOTE: this needs to chill for at least an hour!!!) - pulse the flour, powder and salt in the bowl of a food processor until combined. Add the butter, one cube at a time, until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Separate the eggs and put the whites in the fridge and adding the 4 tbsp. milk to the yolks - beating well before adding to the flour mixture. Once the dough comes together, turn it out onto a clean surface, shape into a disc and wrap in plastic before refrigerating.

2. Preheat your oven to 425 and prick the potatoes with a fork before baking for about 45 minutes. Cool until they are easy to handle without burning off your fingerprints, then peel and break into smaller pieces.

3. Heat olive oil in a large pot and add in your diced onions and sliced mushrooms (season well with salt, pepper and herbs de provence), cooking for about 5 minutes until softened. Sprinkle in the flour until lightly toasted (about 3 minutes).

4. Add in the milk, celery, potato pieces, carrots and broth - stir until thickened on "simmer" (for about 15 minutes). Remove the pot from heat and add in the yogurt, chicken and broccoli. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

5. Transfer the filling to a 2-quart casserole dish, roll out the dough to about 1/8" thick and cover the filling. Beat the egg whites lightly and brush over crust. Place on a cookie sheet and bake until the crust is golden brown - 20-25 minutes.

If you brave this dish, I hope you have better luck than I did with my crazy oven! The flavors are really delicious and I'm already wishing I had more for leftovers...stupid bad chi.

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