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Jan 15, 2013

Rushed Pot Pies!

I got a food hamper for Christmas that had instant soup packets in it. We weren't going to drink 'em, tomato maybe if A was here but other than that they were just sitting pretty in the pantry. The mushroom one had been calling out to me for a while, I love mushroom soup, albeit, the fresh one but off late its been way too cold to even plan soups, so we do a standard chicken and veggie one that lasts 4 days and can be morphed with a change of seasoning! I had boneless chicken leftover from an order, mushrooms, but just half a pack, the mushroom soup pack and a puff pastry dough, which obviously spelled, chicken pot pie, in a jiffy, that is!

One of the best Chicken Pot Pie's I have ever had was at the All American Diner at the IHC, way back, wonder if it's any good now?! My mom used to make it from scratch, the chicken filling, the puff pastry (thank you TimeLife) and she didn't put any of that carrot nonsense, it was all mushroom and chicken. I add celery now that it's freely available but I remember a time as close as 6 years ago when Ally was a baby where we had to use Celery salt for Stroganoff or pot pie unless we were going to make a trip to Khan Market and pay through our nose for a piddly stalk!

This makes 4 ramekins or one pie enough for 4, serve it with salad and a Bruschetta and it will be a nice spread.

Filling:

2 boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized bits. I bake the pie in ramekins so I keep the chicken pieces small, it requires less cooking time and they stay moist, pre cooked chicken can get all overcooked and stringy in a dish like this.

2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp Worchestershire Sauce

10-12 mushrooms, cut into bits

2 spring onions thinly sliced, with some of the greens, great for colour and flavour

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced, this adds quite a punch

1 large celery leaf with a bit of talk, cut or torn up.

3 tbsp fresh cream

4-5 cloves of garlic smashed

1 bayleaf

Salt & freshly ground pepper

1/2 pack of mushroom soup, dissolved in 1 glass of water.

Puff pastry for crust.

Toss the chicken bits in the Worchestershire sauce. Buy good quality condiments, the cheaper, locaql varieties have a gross, chemical after taste, so taste the sauces you buy, raw before you use them in your cooking. Heat a pan,  heat the oil and butter, I love the flavour of olive oil and butter together, also this makes sure the butter doesn't brown or burn. Add the onions and garlic, then the bayleaf, fry till the onions are soft and transparent but not browning, throw in the mushroom bits and the chicken, with the sauce/juices of the marinade, fry on high till the meat sears all over, about 2 minutes, lower heat and saute for 3-4 minutes. Dilute the mushroom soup mix in a glass of water, make sure there are no lumps, pour into pan and cook on a low flame, till it begins to thicken. Season with salt and fresh pepper, add the torn up celery leaf and fold it all in. Let it thicken till the chicken is coated with a thick sauce. Remove from heat, cool a bit and fold in the fresh cream, make sure its room temperature, you don't want anything splitting the cream. Fill into four ramekins, cool and cover with pastry to make a crust.

Roll out the puff pastry, fold over twice and roll out for an extra flaky finish. I source puff pastry from a local bakery and I am quite happy with it, I would rather be making preserves or baking than prepping puff now that I have a better and not-frozen option. Use a thin rimmed bowl or a large cookie cutter to cut circles almost the size of the ramekin top (bigger), Use your fingertips to tuck in the top crust over the chicken, top with an extra layer of puff cut into a heart or square, whichever cookie cutters you have. Keep the crust rolled out fairly thick. Tuck it in well, the chicken filling will bubble and spill. The excess you can use to make cheese, zeera, oregano, garlic puffs, like I have on the side. Bake on 220 C till the crust bakes through and browns.Like I said the chicken will bubble and sputter so don't place the ramekins directly over the elements. Serve hot and ENJOY!


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