Like most of the middle of the country, Colorado has had some unexpected cold and snowy weather for the past several days. But it is Colorado, and it is supposed to be cold and snowy.
These are the foot hills behind the CHEFS offices. Typically we can see Pikes Peak and the effect of wild fire from this past summer. Today, where Pikes peak should be, all I see is grey nothing. See the arrow, you should see a large mountain there:
The foot hills in the area have a beautiful blanket of snow. It makes me long for Christmas:
Honestly, in the 6 years I have been here, I think this is the coldest and wettest February I can remember. It seems this whole winter season has been out of whack and weird. But I am really not complaining. The snow is bringing some much needed moisture to this area. And it mean I can get away with cooking a lot of comfort food!
Today's comfort meal of choice: Chicken Pot Pie. Delicious tender chicken, surrounded by creamy gravy and hearty veggies. It is a great way to round out this cold day!
A delicious chicken, vegetable and pastry composition.
1/2 Recipe for Flaky Pie Pastry
1 small roasted chicken, skinned and boned, dice into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
3 medium carrots (about 1 cup) cut in 1-inch chunks
1 cup frozen pearl onions
1 cup frozen peas
3 large mushrooms, caps and stems, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 Tbs butter, melted 1/4 cup flour
1 1/4 cups reserved vegetable broth
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 to 2 Tbs. dry sherry
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. ground sage
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Flaky Pie Pastry
3 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
4 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup firm, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup chilled vegetable shortening, cut into small pieces
7 to 8 Tbs. ice water, or more as needed
For Flaky Pie Pastry : Place the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Chill for 15 minutes. Process for 5 seconds to blend. Add half of the butter and shortening. Pulse 4 to 5 times, then process for 4 to 5 seconds. Add the remaining butter and shortening and pulse again 4 to 5 times, then process for 4 to 5 seconds. The mixture should have the texture of coarse meal and still contain some larger pieces of fat. Empty the mixture into a large bowl. Add the ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, drizzling it around the side of the bowl. Use a kitchen fork to push the mixture toward the center with each addition. With floured hands, press the dough against the side of the bowl forming two balls. All of the crumbs should adhere to the balls and clean the bowl. If not, add some additional water, a few drops at a time. Flatten the balls into two, 4 to 5-inch disks. Dust the disks with flour, then score with side of your hand. Cover with plastic wrap. Chill 1/2 hour or longer before using. Will keep refrigerated for up to 3 days. This recipe makes one double crust 10-inch pie.
For Chicken Pot Pie: Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in 2-quart saucepan. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, the carrots and onions. Cover the pot and bring to a boil, then simmer on low heat for 5 minutes. Off the heat add the frozen peas and mushrooms. Cover and let stand for 1 minute. Place a colander over a large bowl. Drain vegetables in the colander shaking it briefly. Reserve liquid for sauce. In a medium saucepan melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk quickly to form a roux. Cook on low heat for 4-5 minutes or until the mixture turns a light gold color. Add vegetable and chicken broths all at once and whisk on medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil and is thickened. Add the sherry, thyme, sage, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Distribute the chicken and vegetables into a 10-inch Pie Plate. Pour sauce over mixture. It should come to 3/4 of the level of the filling. If you do not have enough sauce, add a bit more vegetable broth. Roll pastry into a 13-inch circle. Lay the dough loosely on the top of the pan. Trim edges, leaving 1-inch around. Turn edges under and press against side of the pie pan. Flute or crimp with a fork. Pierce the top 10-12 times with the tines of a fork. Brush the top with ice water and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme. Bake in 400 F oven for 35-40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
Your Turn: What do you like to cook on cold, overcast, wintery days?