Saturday, March 19, 2011

Chicken Potpies

When I was in Nashville I picked up this great kids cookbook from Williams Sonoma: Cooking Together. There are so many fun and healthy recipes dressed up to appeal to kids. Ethan loves to help me in the kitchen and one of his favorite things is to get the recipes from the Highlights High Five magazine and make them. So this book is perfect. He can flip through and choose what he wants to make. Our first selection was chicken potpies and they were YUM. I didn't have any puff pastry so I just made a pie crust, but I think puff pastry looks prettier and would be more fun for kids (and certainly easier for you). I also used homemade chicken stock which added incredible flavor, I'll outline how to do that below the recipe...

Chicken Potpie

3 T. olive oil
1 chicken breast, diced
1/2 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 potatoes, peeled & diced
3 T. flour
4 cups chicken broth (or 3 cups chicken stock)
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 heavy cream
1 cup frozen peas
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
2 T. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large pan heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Add chicken and cook until browned. Set aside. Add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and cook onions. Stir in carrots and potatoes and cook until they start to get soft- about 5 minutes.

Stir in flour. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cook until vegetables are tender and mixture has thickened. Add salt and pepper and stir in cream, cooked chicken and peas. Pour chicken mixture into six 1-cup oven safe dishes.

On floured surface roll out puff pastry. Cut out six 3" circles with biscuit cutter. Using small cutter (or knife) cut out a hole in the top of each round. Top dishes with pastry rounds and pinch around the edges. Brush the tops with melted butter.

Bake until crust is puffed and golden, 20-25 minutes.

How to make Chicken Stock
One of my favorite things to buy is a rotisserie chicken. We eat the chicken with some mashed potatoes and french bread the first night. Then we can use the rest to make chicken noodle soup and/or homemade chicken stock.

For the stock, bring remaining chicken bones to a boil in a large pot filled with water. You could add onion and celery for additional flavoring. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 2 hours. Strain chicken mixture and put the juice in the refrigerator. The remaining chicken will have fallen off the bones and you can use this in soup- I used mine in the potpies and it was excellent.

The next morning your chicken juice should look like chicken jello. It will kind of freak you out at first- but that is a sign that it was successful. You can then thin it with water to make chicken broth or use it as chicken stock. I used about 3 cups of chicken stock and thinned it down with an additional cup of water and it was the best potpie filling I've ever had. You can also freeze this and use it for later. A great way to get the most out of a $5 chicken!

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