Regular readers of this blog would have noticed that I’m not big on joining blog “events” or challenges where everyone cooks from a book and blogs about it, or tackling tricky recipes every month and writing about the experience. Somehow, the routine of the whole exercise takes away the joy of experimenting and sharing recipes that blogging offers for me. While there’s a lot to be said for perservering through rough patches in any endeavor, I’m of the opinion that blogging, given its very nature, needs to be exempted from onerous rules and imperatives to be sustainable. It needs to stay Fun. But that’s just me.
Which is why I’m particularly amazed to still be chugging along with the Let’s Lunch gang – a monthly meeting of minds (and tastes) over a theme. Unlike your regular blogging ‘event’ with its own rules and restrictions, our little blogging group has none. Except, that is, to post a recipe related to the theme on a set date every month. You can jump back in or out depending on what life looks like and best of all, there are no ‘minimum number of posts’ or other inane rules to ‘regulate’ participation – it’s free and easy, the way blogging should be.
I’m particularly thankful for this group because the past couple of weeks have been Hectic at Chez Beyond the Plate. Amidst all the driving, writing and photography of inspiring farmers and artisans, awesome side projects sidling up when you least expect it, giving photography workshops and trying to keep a social life and a yoga practice going on top of it all, the chance to blog for blogging’s sake has become a rare treat.
I, and you, my readers, have my Let’s Lunch pals to thank for today’s post – one that is all about the simple delights of tucking into a luscious chicken pot pie topped with homemade puff pastry. Yes, you read that right – included below is a recipe for a quick and easy puff pastry that comes together over a few hours on a late afternoon. I believe that the real test of a good pot pie lies in the flakiness of its crust, and having been disappointed far too many times by store-bought pastry, I decided to roll up my sleeves for this recipe in the quest for pot pie perfection. I wasn’t disappointed. Try it for yourself – the satisfaction of having made your own puff pastry in a cinch is truly priceless, and best of all, you won’t have to settle for lame, store-bought versions ever again.
Chicken Pot Pie
This recipe makes enough to fill two 14 ounce baking dishes or one 9-inch baking dish. Puff Pastry recipe adapted from Gourmet Traveller and this recipe yields more than enough pastry for two pot pies. Leftover puff pastry dough can be frozen, wrapped in plastic, for up to a month.
- 4½ oz/ 125g all-purpose flour
- 3½ oz/ 100g pastry flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks/ 225g unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup/ 90ml very cold water
- 4 tablespoons of butter or oil reserved from cooking the chicken
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, ends trimmed and chopped
- 5 oz/ 150g shredded chicken meat
- 5 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
- 1 cup water or chicken stock
- 3½ oz/ 100g peas, fresh or frozen
- 3 tablespoons créme fraîche
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons water
- Begin with the puff pastry. Stir together the flours and the salt on your work surface or in a very large bowl. Add the cubes of butter and work them into the flour, breaking down the cubes until you get small lumps of butter scattered throughout the mixture.
- Make a well in the center and add the cold water, then quickly mix until the dough comes together in a shaggy mass. Shape into a disc, wrap with plastic, then refrigerate the dough for 20 to 30 minutes.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a rectangle with a half-inch (1.5cm) thickness. Bring the short ends of the rectangle to meet in the center, then fold in half to form a book fold (see image below for example). Wrap in plastic, then chill in the freezer for 10 minutes. Repeat the rolling, folding and chilling two more times.
- Prepare the filling. In a skillet, heat the butter or reserved cooking oil over medium heat, then add the shallots and garlic, cooking until the shallots are translucent. Add the carrots and celery and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
- Add the chicken meat, thyme and chicken stock, turn the heat up to bring the mixture to a boil then lower the heat to simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Add the peas, stir in the créme fraîche and season to taste. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 400F/ 200C. Remove the dough from the freezer and cut in half (you will only need half the dough amount for this recipe, the remaining dough can be kept frozen for another time). Roll out the portioned dough again to a half-inch (1.5cm) thickness, then cut it into a square or circle at least an inch larger than the diameter of your baking dish.
- Fill your ramekins or baking dish with the prepared filling and cover with the dough. Cut a few slits in the top of the dough.
- Whisk together the egg and water then brush over the tops of the dough. Bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
- Rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Don’t forget to check out the Let’s Lunchers’ pies below! And if you’d like to join Let’s Lunch, go to Twitter and post a message with the hashtag #Letslunch — or, post a comment below.
- Cathy‘s Nutella Hand Pies at Show Food Chef
- Charissa‘s Lime-Custard & Curd Pie at Zest Bakery
- Linda‘s Dirt Pie with Compost Cookie Crust at Free Range Cookies
- Lisa‘s Pilaf Pie with Chicken, Sultanas & Sweet Spices at Monday Morning Cooking Club
- Denise‘s Summer Chicken Pot Pie at Chez Us
- Cheryl‘s Japanese Curry Pot Pie at A Tiger In The Kitchen
- Anastasia‘s Strawberry Pie in Jars at Can It You Nit!
- Caitlin‘s Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Lemon-Lime Ice-Cream at Caitlin Shetterly
- Emma‘s Chinese Sausage & Roasted Sweet Potato Hand Pies at Dreaming of Pots and Pans
- Mai‘s Mother-In-Law’s Three-Recipe Lemon Meringue Pie at Cooking in the Fruit Bowl
- Rashda‘s Pecan Pie at Hot Curries & Cold Beer
- Rebecca‘s Spanakopita & Rhubarb Crisp at Grongar Blog
- Steff‘s Berry-Lemonade Icebox Pie at The Kitchen Trials