Saturday In the Kitchen: Classic Chicken Pot Pies

I wanted to tell you about the recipe I tried on Saturday.  I'm thinking of starting up a new segment called "In the Kitchen," but I don't know how often I'll do this.  One or twice a month, I'm guessing.  "In the Kitchen" would be reserved for time-consuming recipes that pack a big punch in terms of the number of meals knocked off for one long morning or afternoon in the kitchen.  These would be recipes that are made ahead to be baked or reheated later, and they should make enough to freeze some for another day.  They would also be good as meals to make ahead for a couple with a new baby, a sick friend . . . that sort of thing.  For this first time, I'm going to tell you about the Classic Chicken Pot Pies that I made on Saturday.  This recipe first appeared in the current issue Fine Cooking magazine.

This is one of my favorite magazines.  I learn a lot from reading it.  One of my favorite sections will cover a topic generally, and then give you mix and match options to make your own personal version of the dish.  For example, they might cover stews as a general topic, and then give you the option to choose one meat from a list of meats, three vegetables from a list of vegetables, one liquid from a list of broths or stocks, three seasonings from a list of many . . . that sort of thing.  I like to cook, but I wouldn't call myself a terribly adventurous cook.  I like the structure and organization a recipe offers me, and I like having my choices narrowed down in this way.  What I don't like is putting a lot of time and expense into something and then having it not turn out well.  Or having my family not care for it.  Once I've found a basic formula, I'll strike out on my own, but I like having a basic framework presented first.

The chicken pot pies turned out really great.  I like the fact that I spent about three hours in the kitchen on Saturday--a lot of time, yes.  But I made meals for four nights in three hours.  I like using these 24 oz. French White ramekins from Corning. 

I use them all the time because they hold a good sized individual serving, and they have a tight-fitting lid for refrigerating or freezing leftovers.  I used them for my chicken pot pies and I was able to fill eight ramekins (my limit).  I baked two for dinner Saturday night, and then we had two for leftovers for the another night.  And the remaining four are in the freezer to be thawed at some time in the future and used then.  That's a lot of meals for one morning in the kitchen.

I especially liked this pot pie recipe (as opposed to others I've tried) because it's all made in one pot.  All of the meat and vegetables are browned well so that they have lots of flavor.  After the browning is all done, the sauce is made in the same pot and then the vegetables returned to the pot to be mixed in. 

The crust was light and flaky.  If you're crust-phobic as many people are (I was until I made a few), you can use the refrigerated Pillsbury crusts and they'll be just fine.  The lid for the ramekin works as a template for cutting your crust to a perfect fit.  The one warning I'll give you if you decide to try this is to wait until you're ready to bake them before putting the crust on top.  I froze my pot pies without a crust, but the two that stayed in the refrigerator overnight had crusts on them.  When I tried to take the lids off the next day, they stuck to the top.  I had to pry them off with a spatula.  Even at that, they looked just fine.  It's a very forgiving crust, I'll give it that.

So there you go.  That's my first "In the Kitchen" post.  I'll keep an eye out for other marathon, many meal options and tell you about the ones I like.  These will generally fall under the category of "comfort food."  Good for a rainy day.  And as a Portlander for 33 years, I should know what's good on a rainy day.

4 comments from clever and witty friends:

lynndianne said...

Sounds wonderful. I'm a crust person.


Munir said...

If I can have a recipe for home made pie crust I would be a happy camper for days to come. Ever since my husband's open heart surgery I have become very careful not to get pie shells that have transfat or hydrogenated fats. I will look through this magazine and get the recipe. My husband is a big pie person. Thanks:)

quiltzyx said...

Oh my goodness Barbara, you're going to make a cook of me yet!

Plus, I think you've given me a wonderful idea for my sister's b'day present this year - she LOVES to cook, so I think she might be getting a gift subscription to this magazine!!

free indeed said...

I like your new In the Kitchen segment. It's just hubby and I now and I don't often feel like cooking when the kids and their families come to visit, so I'd like some good freezer meals made ahead when I feel the urge to cook. Thanks!