Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Chicken Scorned

He loves me; he loves me not.

That's the storyline of my chicken pot pie. 

Because, check it: If I wrote about this when I first busted out some chickie pot pies in January, I would be boastful Mom all smug and braggy like, "My Evan absolutely ADORED my chicken pot pie. He scarfed down the carrots, peas and corn wrapped in a velvety sauce with juicy chicken enveloped in flaky golden crust like nobody's bizness. He asked for seconds when coming up for air. He requested the left-overs the next day in between lining up his Matchbox cars and zoning out to "Jake and the Neverland Pirates." Ha ha, suckers. You all say toddlers don't eat, but you got it so wrong, playa."

And then: There was February.

That's when I made my second batch of chicken pot pies to document for my blog peeps. 

And how you say: My kid was so not feeling the chicken pot pie.

Well, he ate some crust. After I convinced him it was a cracker.

Enter frazzled annoyed you've-got-to-be-kidding-me Mom. Yep. That's more like it.

Rationalizing with toddlers is a fool's game. And we've all played it one too many times. So dinner that night was a Nutri-Grain bar and a handful of Cheerios. What do you want from my life, kid? Seriously.

At least The Husband ate the chicken pot pie. Because if these two male specimens who are lucky enough to live under my roof both dissed my food, there would be hell to pay. I'm talking about marathons of Beverly Hills Housewives and copious amounts of wine drinking and hours of shoe and J. Crew shopping ... oh wait.

So, you may notice when reading the recipe that it actually calls for turkey, hence the recipe name: Turkey and Pancetta Pot Pies. But The Jersey Girl did not have any turkey lying around the house, so I roasted up some chickens Barefoot Contessa style. Honestly, I recommend following these instructions whenever cooking up a dish that calls for already cooked chicken. It is SO much better than poaching. Ick nast. My other observance of note is that the recipe actually filled four ramekins for moi. I simply cut a rolled out store-bought pie crust into four equal parts to cover my ramekins.

This pot pie is delishly awesome. And, I do firmly believe that the little kiddos will love all of its golden wholesomeness. Carrots, peas, corn and pie. These beauties are just screaming Norman Rockwell. I will definitely try enticing my wee little one again with this dish. My chicken pot pie will not stand for rejection. Even from a cutie patootie with adorable dimples.

Have at it, my lovely Domestic Gods and Goddesses:

First up, how to roast some chicken Barefoot Contessa Style. You gots to do it this way!

Roast Chicken Breasts the Barefoot Contessa Way (Demonstrated in pretty much all of her cookbooks)

2-3 chicken breasts (skin on with bones)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

On a sturdy baking sheet, line up the chicken. Brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Roast for 35 to 40 minutes in a 350-degree oven. When cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones, shred or dice the meat. Toss the bones and skin. Voila. Cooked chicken for your soups, stews and whatnots.

Turkey and Pancetta Pot Pies
"Weeknights with Giada"
By Giada De Laurentiis
Serves 6 according to Giada; 4 according to The Jersey Girl

2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 ounces finely diced pancetta (about 1 cup)
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large or 2 small shallots, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup flour
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 cups (about 14 ounces) 1/2-inch cubed roasted turkey breast meat
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 (9-inch diameter) unroll-and-bake pie crust
1 egg, beaten

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crispy, about 8 minutes. Transfer the pancetta to a paper towel-lined plate and discard any fat left in the pan.

Add the butter, shallots, carrots and thyme to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the carrots are tender.

Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Increase the heat to high. Add the chicken broth and scrape up the browned bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Cook until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Add the cooked pancetta, the heavy cream, turkey, peas and corn and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 3 minutes, until heated through.

Using a ladle, fill 6 (10-ounce) ramekins, each 2 1/2 inches tall and 3 1/2 inches in diameter, with the filling mixture.

Using a 3-inch-round cookie cutter or glass, cut the crust into 6 circles and place one on each ramekin on top of the filling. Using a pastry brush, brush the crusts with the beaten egg.

Please note: The Jersey Girl cut the rolled out pie dough into four equal parts with kitchen shears.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the crusts are golden and the filling is bubbling (if the crusts become too dark, cover the pies loosely with aluminum foil). Cool for 5 minutes before serving.