How is it already late January? Usually, the quiet weeks that follow the chaotic holiday season seem to drag on and spring seems like a mirage far off on the horizon. Here in Chicago, we are enjoying the violent extremes of midwestern weather with weeks of sub-zero temperatures punctuated by days in the mid-’50s when even a sweater feels unnecessary. We’re starting to feel cabin fever which makes comfort food all the more necessary.
We’ve already run the circuit of tomato soup, soupe à l’oignon, chicken soup, and even chicken with dumplings, but we still need something more. Something that exceeds the comforting capacity of delicately steamed dumplings, tender chicken, and deeply caramelized onions. We need the buttery richness that only puff pastry can provide.
Normally, I would start a pot of chicken soup with boneless, skinless breasts; for an extra measure of flavor and to save time I chose a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store as my starting point. Feel free to roast a whole chicken on your own (see my recipe below!), it takes little effort and you can control the level of seasoning and salt; however, today I appreciate the convenience of starting with a pre-roasted bird.
My version of a chicken pot pie, for simplicity’s sake, skips the whole pie shell approach (which is difficult to serve!) for an easy-to-make, rich and creamy chicken stew loaded with sweet spring peas and crowned with a rich, flaky pastry crust. Try it out and be sure to let me know what you think!
Chicken pot pie with puff pastry
1 pkg of store-bought puff pastry (I like Wewalka, see next paragraph)
1 egg, whisked, for egg wash
I use and recommend Wewalka brand puff pastry because it is imported from Austria and it is made without artificial flavors or colors, contains no high fructose corn syrup, no hydrogenated oils, no bleached flours, and is suitable for vegetarians! I am not working with Wewalka, it’s just a personal choice and lucky for me it is easily available in the Chicago area. It reminds me very much of the puff pastry I used to buy in Germany, in fact, I think it either comes from the same factory or has a nearly identical recipe. Visit their website at www.wewalka.us to find a retailer near you.
To prepare the puff pastry
Preheat oven to 425’F or follow the directions on the package
Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and allow it to warm up a bit while you make the stew so that when its time to bake it will be soft and pliable. Once the stew is simmering, unroll the dough leaving the parchment paper in place and cut into 9 equal portions. Bake three at a time on a 9×13 sheet pan, allowing plenty of room for even browning and crispy corners. After 15 minutes, remove from oven and brush with egg wash, add a few twists of black pepper and a sprinkle of sea salt, then bake for another 15 minutes until they are a dark golden color. By the time the pastries are done, the stew will be ready.
If you like the challenge of making your own roasted chicken, click here to check out my recipe! https://acookscanvas.com/2012/11/25/roasted-chicken-and-vegetables/
Or, for a quick weeknight version use a store-bought rotisserie chicken.
1 whole roasted chicken
4 large carrots, diced
4 large stalks celery, diced
2 medium red onions, coarsely chopped
500g baby bella mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
5 medium golden potatoes, diced
1 pouch of frozen peas, defrost prior to adding to the soup
1 handful of fresh parsley and thyme, leaves stripped from stems
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Chop all vegetables and set aside. Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat and add half of the butter. Sauté onions until translucent, add celery, carrots, and potatoes and cook for another 15 minutes stirring frequently. Break down rotisserie chicken, removing the skin and stripping all of the meat. Once vegetables are cooked, add the chicken and chicken stock, then bring to a simmer for 30 minutes.
In a separate small saucepan make your roux; melt the remaining butter over medium-low heat until it begins to sizzle, then sprinkle in flour a little at a time until it forms a thick paste. Continue cooking slowly, stirring constantly until it begins to brown slightly then add the 1/2 cup water a bit at a time, whisking to incorporate. Add the finished roux to the stew one tablespoon at a time, stirring constantly to prevent lumps from forming. Add peas, fresh parsley, and thyme, and simmer for an additional 5 minutes to thicken before serving.
Revol 4.75qt Yellow Ceramic Cookware REVOLUTION INDUCTION 2
Revol Ceramic EQUINOX Dinner Plate
Revol SUCCESSION Dinner Plate
Wüsthof 4″ Extra-Wide Pairing Knife
John Boos Block 20″ x 15″ Walnut Fusion Cutting Board w/ Contoured Feet