Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Lazy Man's (or Woman's) Pot Pie

Maybe the key to keeping on track with my posting is to not try to be so long-winded in my introductions.  So, I'll get to the point, which makes sense, since this is really about a quick meal.

Basically, I was looking for a chicken pot pie without the pie crust (which I hate to make).  So I settled on biscuits instead, but went with a skillet version, so it didn't even require rolling and cutting.  This was a 30 minute meal that was soul-satisfying.

Lazy Man's Chicken Pot Pie

Pot Pie Filling:

1 rotisserie chicken
2 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs butter
3/4 cup finely diced onion
1/2 cup finely diced carrot
1/4 cup finely diced celery
1 1/2 cups cubed Yukon Gold potatoes (the smaller the cubes, the quicker they'll cook - also, I didn't bother to peel mine)
1/4 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp black pepper (I like a lot of black pepper in this - adjust accordingly)
2 Tbs flour
1/2 bottle hard cider
2 - 3 cups chicken stock


1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 Tbs baking powder
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp black pepper
1 stick cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes + 1 Tbs for skillet
1 cup buttermilk

Heat oven to 425°.

In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and butter.  Allow the butter to melt and just begin to sizzle, then add the onions, carrots and celery.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent.  Add the potatoes, sage, thyme, salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes.  Sprinkle flour over the top and combine into other ingredients.  Allow to cook for a couple of minutes.  Pour cider and 2 cups of chicken stock over the mixture.  Bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are soft, adding more stock if the mixture gets too thick.

Meanwhile, prepare biscuits.  Add 1 Tbs butter to a cast iron skillet and place in the oven to allow the butter to melt (keep and eye on it and pull out of oven once butter has melted).  In a mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, Parmesan cheese and black pepper.  Stir to combine.  Add butter cubes and cut into mixture using a pastry blender or two knives.  Pour buttermilk over the mixture and stir just until completely combined.  If mixture is still dry (a lot of loose flour on the bottom), add additional buttermilk, 1 Tbs at a time, just until mixture is moistened and sticks together.

Drop spoonfuls (about twice the size of a golf ball) into the prepared pan, allowing the biscuits to just touch.  Place in oven and bake for 10 - 12 minutes, or until tops are golden.

Meanwhile, pull meat off the chicken and cut into large cubes (you will not need to use the entire chicken, unless it is small).  Add to the vegetables in the skillet and stir to combine.  Again, if mixture is getting too thick, add more chicken stock.  Heat through and keep at a low simmer.

Pour mixture over biscuits to serve.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013



That’s the only way I can think of to describe what happened to the time and my motivation to keep current on my little blog.

With O2 working full-time now, I could say that my impetus to cook on a regular basis has diminished somewhat, but that’s not really true.  In her stead is this rambunctious little scamp who eats practically everything.  Truly, I think the only thing I’ve seen him turn down is lettuce.  He LOVES food.

{side story having little to do with the subject of the current post}
I was at the Saturday Market down in Eugene a couple of weekends ago and bought a pint of fresh strawberries.  I had the Munchkin in tow, and when he saw the strawberries, he indicated in no uncertain terms that he wanted them…  like, NOW.  So I handed him one and continued along.  He made short work of it and was given another and another.
He was obviously enjoying himself, becoming quickly covered in strawberry juice (in a white polo shirt, no less) and eliciting comments from the occasional passer-by.  About this time, I started to realize that I didn’t see a collection of leaves and stems.  And so I watched him devour yet another strawberry from the top down to the tip, greenery and all.
That story somewhat ties into this post because it was during that trip that I happened upon a shop selling infused olive oils, balsamic vinegars and other related items (pastas, seasonings, etc).  After a little tasting session, I came away with a nice, fruity, Italian olive oil and a peach-infused balsamic vinegar.  I immediately knew what I wanted to do with them.
This makes for a good summer-centric meal since the chicken can obviously be grilled outdoors, and the only indoor cooking would involve making the quinoa on the stovetop (couscous would be another good option here).  But here in Oregon, it’s June, and we’re still enjoying mildly warm days, so I just used my grill pan on the stove.  This was a big hit with the Munchkin (who got it as is, minus the almonds, since I wasn’t confident he’d actually chew them first), even with the heat from the chipotle powder.  He discovered that he loves fresh peaches almost as much as strawberries.
Grilled Chicken with Almond-Peach Quinoa
1/4 cup peach-flavored balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (good quality)
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into a chiffonade
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
Zest from one lemon
Salt and pepper
2 Tbs lemon juice
About 1 lb boneless chicken thighs
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 Tbs olive oil
1 1/2 cups water or stock (chicken or vegetable)
1 tsp salt
1 peach, peeled and diced into small cubes
1/3 - 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
Prepare the vinaigrette by combining the balsamic vinegar, basil and salt and pepper.  Whisk in the olive oil until emulsified.  Pour out about 1/4 cup of the mixture into a shallow dish.
Set a grill pan over medium-high heat and season with a little olive oil (or prepare outdoor grill).
Rinse and pat the chicken thighs dry.  Season with mixture of garlic powder, chili powder, lemon zest, salt and pepper.  Add to dish with the vinaigrette mixture, along with lemon juice.  Turn to coat chicken with mixture.
When grill pan is hot, add chicken and cook, turning when it is brown on one side, approximately 10 minutes total.
Meanwhile, set a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat and add 1 Tbs olive oil.  Add quinoa and allow to toast for a couple of minutes, stirring frequently.  Add water or stock and 1 tsp salt.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium, cover and cook for 20 minutes.  Turn off heat and allow to sit for another 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.  Pour in remaining vinaigrette mixture, add peaches and almonds, and stir to combine.  Serve with grilled chicken.