Raspberry Jalapeno Jam, or Why Canning is Awesome

Canning is awesome. It is also making a huge comeback (did it ever disappear? I mean, I guess not, but now it is hip). In fairness I have always been on board, my mom has been canning things for years, but I think there was a generation or two out there who kind of lost the art and trust me- it is an art. I have wanted to can for a long time, but it is an intimidating task. There are a lot of steps to can properly. There is also the fear of the big B (botulism) or just plain ruining a batch of something you spent hours making. So here’s the thing, maybe next summer I’ll be ready to teach you about canning but for now, I’m going to tell you about the places I am learning from. If you have ever canned, thought about canning, or read blogs in general there is a good chance you have heard of the blog Food In Jars. It is incredible. Not only is it a great resource for how to but also recipes and links galore. Another resource I have been using heavily is the book Put ‘em Up. It is a fantastic comprehensive guide to all kinds of preserving. It is laid out well and includes illustrations, tips, and delightful recipes.

Today was my first canning experience on my own. I chose a 90 degree day here in Denver because I’m smart and I plan ahead. Wait, what? Here is the thing about canning, It’s a task it’s kind of labor intensive and if you have a small kitchen it will probably get really hot and steamy (and not in a good way). Frankly, it’s really easy to put off. My point is- don’t put it off. The rewards are amazing. Being able to give someone something you canned all by yourself is kind of an awesome experience. Learning how to preserve the flavors of summer in a jar that costs less than a dollar and doing it for ½ the price of what it would cost to buy those things out of season. Totally. Worth. It.

After reading Food In Jars a few days ago I couldn’t pass up this recipe, and I’m glad I didn’t because it was incredible.

Raspberry Jalapeno Jam

beautiful fresh raspberries

yay canning!

That’s right people. It’s as good as it sounds. For this part of the recipe I’m going to direct you to the source, then I’m going to tell you how I used that delicious jam to make the best summer meal ever. Which was…

Grilled pork chops with Raspberry Jalapeno Jam served with goat cheese and arugula smashed potatoes.

Ingredients:

2 bone in pork chops

Salt and pepper to season

2 Tablespoons Raspberry Jalapeno Jam

4-5 medium sized red skin potatoes (or other waxy variety)

4 oz goat cheese

1 Tablespoon (or so) olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1 large handful of arugula

Method:

Liberally salt and pepper the pork chops up to 2 hours in advance, chill until ready to grill. Grill the pork chops over medium high heat until they reach an internal temp of 145 degrees*. Let rest under foil while you mash the potatoes.

Boil a pot of water and season with salt (remember, if you don’t salt the water your potatoes will be bland no matter how much salt you add after cooking). If the potatoes are small leave them whole, if not cut them in ½. Boil until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain the potatoes and put in a large bowl, add the goat cheese, and olive oil. Mash with a potato masher or a fork until the goat cheese is incorporated and the potatoes are all mashed and slightly creamy- you may need more olive oil or even a small splash of milk if you like. Add salt and pepper to taste (about ½ tsp each). Fold in arugula and serve warm.

Top each pork chop with a tablespoon of raspberry jalapeno jam and serve with a spoonful of the mashed potatoes.

A few notes:

* USDA recommends cooking pork to a minimum internal temperature of 145, resting it under foil will raise that temperature slightly. This is the best temperature for moist pork chops, but it might be a little pink for some so please cook it to whatever temperature you feel comfortable.

– Goat cheese is really delightful with the raspberry jalapeno jam but you could substitute cream cheese if goat cheese isn’t your thing.

– Speaking of which, this would be delicious with just goat cheese on crackers. It would really be a great addition to any cheese plate.

– I joined a CSA this summer. It is a great way to eat local produce and support a local farm. I am also truly looking forward to the challenge of my weekly baskets and figuring out how to eat or preserve everything! I’m diving right in kids, get on board!

-Sue

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Filed under Appetizers, Canning, Meat, Recipes, Sides

Asian Chicken Wings

this is the prettiest picture ever. that is because susan took it.

To me, chicken wings are the fowl equivalent of sugar pie, which is when you take all the odds and ends from your pie crust and bake them with sugar on it.  Chicken wings are what is left over when the parts of the chicken people actually want are spoken for: unsellable, weird pieces of what is very obviously a bird.  The marketing department of Giant Chicken Conglomerate, however, figured out a way to make money off the pieces no one in their right mind would actually want:  PUT A LOT OF SAUCE ON THEM.  Realistically, chicken wings are vehicles for sauce.  Which actually I am totally fine with, though it does raise a question that has troubled me for some time.  Why must we use animal parts to ferry sauce from our grubby hands to our  mouths?  Why is it not ok to eat sauce with a spoon?  Some questions just don’t have answers.

The good news is, these chicken wings have a really good sauce.  It’s more like a glaze, really.  And it can be modified very easily.  If, for example, you are making these for someone who does not hate ginger, it would be lovely to put ginger in the sauce!  I’m not usually one for recipes that require a long marinating time, because I don’t plan food in advance much, but the longer these marinate, the better they will be.  Because you broil them, the skin gets all crispy and caramelized from the sugar and the fat, and soy sauce, garlic and sugar are a magical combination in any situation.  Also, if, like me, you make these for a whole bunch of people during which time you drink a large quantity of red wine, you will appreciate how salty, sweet and spicy they are in contrast to how drunk you feel.  And, if, like me, you ALWAYS want a snack when the red wine-drinking is over, these are excellent left over.

Vaguely Asian Chicken Wings (these proportions are for 1 lb of chicken wings, double, triple, 14-ple as needed.)

1 lb chicken wings

1/4 cup soy sauce

3 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup  brown sugar

3-4 cloves of garlic, minced

1-2 tsp Sriracha, depending on how spicy you like things

Some other things you could add to the sauce if you wanted:  minced ginger; sake, if you have some lying around; sweet Thai chili sauce; peanut butter, if you want a peanut sauce kind of thing; ponzu; FISH SAUCE, and I would highly recommend this; grated pear, which I use when I make Korean bulgogi, it is magic.

Method:  Whisk together the sauce ingredients, coat the wings with it for at least 2 hours, but preferably 24.  When you’re ready to cook them, put all the wings on a cookie sheet (reserving the marinade) and bake them in the oven at 450 degrees for 10 minutes or so, until they’re more or less cooked through.  Take them out, brush the glaze you reserved back over them and put them under the broiler for 2-3 minutes.  Take them out, flip them all over, broil the other side for 2-3 minutes.  If you want to then flip them one MORE time and broil the other side for a further minute, you can, because there’s so much fat in chicken wings it is basically impossible to overcook them, and you’d rather have the skin be crispy all the way around, trust me.  Serve, with Sriracha and chopped green onion for garnish.

– Cat

another beautiful picture, courtesy of susan.

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Cheddar, Chive and Stout Bread with Corned Beef and Roasted Cabbage Wedges

Yesterday I was reading a post  about cheddar chive beer bread on thekitchn and became inspired to make something for St. Paddy’s day. Then I thought- how can I make this into dinner? So I thought I would make an open faced corned beef sandwich.  After contemplating for approximately 3 minutes about making corned beef, I instead decided to go to our local market and buy some thinly sliced corned beef.

Here is the short rundown on corned beef, it’s salt cured and brined with spices- that’s what makes it what it is. You can get it in a can, which is the ground salted version- and is shockingly better than you might think- but not like fresh corned beef. Then there is the kind you can buy in the supermarket that is already packed in brine that comes with the seasoning packet. You can also make it from scratch following Alton’s instructions which will probably be fantastic but will take you days. It’s not so much hard, as it is time consuming. So if you are making this dish and you know of a good deli (Marczyk’s for me) maybe just buy it there.

So next, we are on to the bread. Oh my God, the bread. Is it possible that I have never had beer bread? Or was it just never this good? Either way, I am hooked. It was SO easy, and delicious! You mix everything in one bowl, and it comes together in minutes. From the first bite, all I could think of was ways to modify it. I love making bread with yeast so I have never really gotten on the quick bread train (at least not the savory kind) well- I’m here now. This bread is made with stout, white cheddar, and chives. The stout adds a light bitter flavor, which is delicious on its own and even better in the sandwich.

I have very fond memories of my dad making corned beef and cabbage growing up… I should really rephrase that and say, I have fond memories of the beef, the cabbage part, not so much. I remember it smelling a lot like farts and plugging my nose to eat the one piece I was required to choke down before I could leave the table.  Here is the thing about cabbage (and brussels sprouts and a number of other vegetables out there) they contain sulfur. When you over cook them- they smell like a fart. Now, they might not taste like it- but try explaining to your kids why they should eat something that smells like a fart- let me know how that works out.  I read about roasted wedges of cabbage on a few blogs awhile ago, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to try it. IT IS DELIGHTFUL! The outer edges get crispy, and the inside is buttery and tangy. It’s almost impossible to overcook it (to fart stage) because you just watch the outer leaves and when they turn brown it is perfect! I finished mine with a little lemon, and it was a perfect addition to the plate.

Last thing before the recipes- the sauce. My dad used to put a mixture of brown sugar and mustard on our corned beef. I’m not sure where this tradition came from, but it was one of my favorite parts. I loved the tangy sweet flavor it added to the meat. This is a common pairing with ham, but I’m here to tell you, it should be on corned beef too.

This isn’t just a meal for St. Paddy’s day people- I’m going to make this every Tuesday.

Cheddar and Chive Stout beer- originally from the kitchn

Ingredients:

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 (12-ounce) bottle stout (I used St. Peter’s cream stout because I love it)
1 cup grated Irish cheddar cheese (I used Tillamook vintage white cheddar because it’s the best)
1/4 cup chopped chives
1/4 cup Irish butter, melted

Method:

Preheat oven to 375° F. Line 8 1/2- x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, or coat with butter.

In a mixing bowl, thoroughly whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Pour in the beer and mix until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened. Fold in 3/4 cup of the cheese and the chives.

Transfer the batter to prepared pan. Pour the melted butter evenly over top of the dough. Bake about 30 minutes then scatter the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese over the top. Return the loaf to the oven and bake 15 to 20 minutes longer or until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes.

Turn out and serve warm, sliced.

Roasted Cabbage Wedges:

 Method:

Preheat oven to 425

Remove any wilted outer leaves. Cut the cabbage into 8 wedges.  Place on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt and freshly ground pepper, and squeeze lemon juice over each piece (about 1 lemon).

Bake for 30 minutes until the outer leaves and edges are browned. Dress with more lemon (if you love lemon like I do) and serve.

Brown sugar mustard sauce:

In a sauce pan combine ¼ cup dark brown sugar with 1 Tbs yellow mustard. Cook over medium until the brown sugar is dissolved. Taste and add more mustard if desired.

Sandwich building:

I made the bread first and let it cool. Then I roasted the cabbage. While the cabbage was roasting I cut the bread into ½” slices and put them on a baking sheet. I put them in the oven to toast lightly while the cabbage was finishing. Then I topped them with a few slices of corned beef, a drizzle of the sauce, and a few slices of Swiss cheese When the cabbage was done I turned on the broiler and broiled the sandwiches until the cheese was bubbly and just starting to brown.

A few notes:

Happy St. Paddy’s day everyone! Don’t drink the green beer, drink a stout instead, and then use any leftovers to make beer bread!

I mean it about the quick bread- you should expect to see more posts, and soon.
I am thinking fresh dill from the garden, or maybe buttermilk walnut bread? I’m getting pretty excited about it.

Is it St. Paddy’s or St. Patty’s? St. Patricks? I’m not going to lie- i put all of these in here to make this post searchable. Don’t judge.

-Sue

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Rice Pudding

that's my coffee table. it's attractive, but has dangerous splinter potential.

When I was a kid, I had two even younger and more obnoxious siblings, which meant that Wendy’s was the only place my mom ever took us for lunch. (Mom and Dad, before you protest that I only remember the things you’d rather I didn’t share on the internet, I very much recall the time you took me to some fancy place for dinner when I was 6 and I wore the flower girl dress I wore in Aunt Carol’s wedding and some old man gave me a silver dollar.  I had a lovely childhood, even though once I broke my toe and my mom didn’t believe me, and another time my dad gave me a fat lip while playing catch because he chucked a fastball at my face.  Lovely!)

As the cultured among you will undoubtedly recall, Wendy’s used to have a salad bar.  Included among iceberg lettuce and probably 23 gallons of ranch dressing, the salad bar also had TWO kinds of pudding, vanilla and chocolate.  That meant that, to me, my mom saying “we’re meeting your Aunt Carol for lunch because I’m going insane listening to your plan to put on a production of Cinderella in the backyard for all the neighborhood kids with yourself as the star WHILE trying to make sure your sister doesn’t eat any cigarette butts off the sidewalk”, meant that I was about to get to eat a shitload of pudding.  I really love pudding.  I will admit that making pudding, from scratch, properly, is sort of a pain in the ass.  I won’t judge any of you if, instead of making this recipe, you go get a box of Cook & Serve chocolate pudding from the store, make it, and then eat it while it’s still hot.  In fact, if you do that, let me know, I will totally come over.

But, if you don’t mind the time it takes to make it, this pudding is GREAT.  If you have homemade vanilla extract, or a vanilla bean, it would be even better.  But as it is, it’s creamy and gently sweet and just so very nice.  It’s like fleece socks.  They might not be sexy, but they sure are nice.

Rice Pudding (Note that this recipe will double very easily, I just didn’t think it wise to have that much pudding lying around.)

1/2 cup rice (I used brown Jasmine rice, because I accidentally have like 3 bags of it.  It turned out just fine, and I figure, hey.  Fiber!)

1/2 cup white sugar

4 cups of milk (1/2 cup set aside, I used 1%)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg

dash of salt

Method:  In a saucepan on medium-high heat, mix together the rice, sugar, 3 1/2 cups of milk, salt and vanilla.

kindly disregard the french onion soup i was cooking at the same time. also, apparently i need a spoon rest.

Bring it to a boil, cover it and reduce to low heat.  Here’s the annoying part.  Cook it for 45-50 minutes.   It’s not so bad- you should keep it covered the whole time, and stir it every once in awhile, but other than that you can just let it cook.

yep, still cooking.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup of milk and the egg, and set aside.  After the 45-50 minutes, when the rice is cooked and the mixture is a lot thicker and reduced, mix the milk/egg mixture into the rice, and stir it REAL fast, so it doesn’t cook the egg.  If you don’t fancy taking a risk in your cooking, you can let the rice cool awhile before mixing the egg/milk mixture back in.  Either way, once it’s in and the egg isn’t cooked, turn the heat back up to medium-high and bring the whole lot to a boil, stirring frequently.

ok. this picture is gross. but i had a little of my egg whites cook when i poured in the egg/milk mixture, and i wanted to prove to the internet that not only is it ok to mess up a little, but that a lot of the time, mess ups are fixable. for example, i just fished these out. problem solved. it does look like alien boogers though.

Then, let it cool a bit, pop it into a pan or bowl ( I housed mine in an 8×8 baking dish), and let it set in the fridge for a few hours.  Sprinkle with a little cinnamon and have at it!

– Cat

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Thai Chicken Noodle Salad

So here’s the thing about ginger. I hate it. I think it tastes like soap. I am extremely sensitive to it and I can taste even a small amount in things. Now, I realize there are some things where ginger is imperative and in general if it’s cooked into something (like chutney) I don’t notice it that much, but fresh ginger makes me feel like I’m in that scene from A Christmas Story.

While writing this post, I searched long and hard to find information on why ginger tastes like soap to some people (because I know I’m not the only one), but I couldn’t find anything. I did find some disturbing things pertaining to why people thing ginger tastes like soap, but I assure you- none of it was scientific.  Somewhere along the line I read something about how the way ginger tastes is some kind of chemical reaction, or recognition, similar to why some people think cilantro tastes like soap (not me, I love the stuff). Either way, I give up. If you find it, tell me.

Until then- keep that nasty crap away from me.

As for this recipe, it is common for Thai food to have ginger in it. I was immediately drawn to this recipe after I realized it was missing that one loathed ingredient.  I love rice noodles, everything from their texture to how quickly they cook. Aside from a short marinade for the chicken this recipe comes together extremely quickly. It tasted light and refreshing and I had visions of enjoying this in the backyard with fresh herbs from the garden. Screw you winter, bring on the sunshine!

Anyway, this is a modified version of this Martha Stewart recipe

Thai Chicken and Noodle Salad

Ingredients for dressing/ marinade:

4 thinly sliced scallion whites

2 minced garlic cloves

½ cup soy sauce

½ cup rice vinegar

2  Tbs brown sugar

1 Tbs fresh lime juice

½ tsp anchovy paste

1 tsp red pepper flakes

¼ cup sesame oil or olive oil

Whisk or shake together all ingredients except the oil (the oil will be added after it is used as a marinade).

Ingredients for salad:

1 ¼ Lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced crosswise

3 ½ oz Chinese rice noodles

1 Tbs. veg oil

2 carrots, sliced into ribbons with a vegetable peeler (or julienned if you’re fancy)

1 English cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise

¼ cup freshly chopped cilantro

Handful of bean sprouts

3-4 sliced scallions

A dash of red pepper flakes (optional)

Method:

Place chicken and half of the dressing in a sealable plastic bag, reserve remaining dressing. Marinate at room temp for 30 minutes, or refrigerate overnight. Boil about 3 cups of water in a kettle or a pot. Put the rice noodles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Let them sit for two to three minutes until cooked (these directions will also be on the package). Drain and set aside. In a Large skillet heat oil over medium high. Working in batches, cook chicken until cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk the remaining dressing with ¼ cup sesame or olive oil. Top the noodles with the chicken, carrots, cucumbers, cilantro and bean sprouts. Drizzle with the dressing, and sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes and scallions.

A few notes:

The original recipe called for basil- both cilantro and basil work for Thai food and I happened to have cilantro on hand. It was delicious. If you had Thai basil it would be even better.

You could literally modify this recipe ANY way you want. You could add ginger (eww) to the marinade/dressing. You could add spicy Thai chilis instead of red chili flakes for even more heat. You could use pork or beef. You could top it with crushed peanuts, or any other kind of vegetable you might like.

-Sue

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Filed under Pasta, Poultry, Recipes, Salad

Pecan Blondies

do they look like they have butter in them? because they do. lots.

You know that thing where you start doing a task a really stupid way, for instance deciding to break up whole toasted pecans with your fingers because you don’t feel like washing the cutting board and knife it would take to chop them properly, and you realize like 4 pecans in that you’ve made a serious error, but you think to yourself “there aren’t THAT many, this isn’t THAT stupid” so you go ahead and break up the rest of them with your fingers and then realize that it took you 15 minutes of your life because you were too stubborn to admit defeat EVEN TO YOURSELF?

Also,

You know that thing where you cook something really lovely at home, such as caramel made out of butter and brown sugar and it makes your hair smell like sugar for once instead of the steak you cooked in a pan that made your hair smell like charred meat,  or channa masala because you were standing over the pan while you made it and now your hair smells like leftovers, especially when you first step into the shower, but this time you like it because it’s nice and sugary instead of totally gross?

Furthermore,

You know that thing where you take a bite of something and know immediately that you have absolutely no control over how much of that thing you are about to eat and will also be totally consumed by thoughts of said thing during any of the times you manage NOT to eat it in the time it is still in your house, and then lament immediately when you do eat all of the thing and realize it’s out of your life forever?

All of those things happened to me while making these blondies.  These are dense, chewy, caramely, nutty morsels of buttery, fatty perfection.  They are what you want chocolate chip cookies to taste like.  They are what you hope shortbread will be.  They are absolutely what they serve during snack time before recess in Heaven.  Also, they take place in one pot and are really, really easy.  Hallelujah.

Pecan Blondies, from Fine Cooking

2 sticks (1 cup) of butter

3 cups packed dark brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 egg yolks

3 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/4 cup all purpose flour

healthy pinch of salt, plus more for sprinkling on top

1 1/2 cups of chopped, toasted pecans

Method:  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees, and butter or Pam a 9×13 baking dish.  In a pot on medium heat, melt the butter and brown sugar until the sugar has dissolved.

the sugar has mostly dissolved, and i let mine boil for probably 5 minutes.

Then, let it boil gently for a couple minutes.  Take the caramel mixture off the heat and let it cool until you can touch the pot.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks and vanilla, and mix it into the cooled caramel, taking care not to cook your eggs*, because that is gross.  Then, mix in the flour, salt and pecans until JUST combined, pouring it into the pan.  Sprinkle some kosher salt on top.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.  Enjoy complete adulation from everyone you feed these to.

* A note on tempering eggs:  the official recipe wants you to make sure your eggs are room temperature before mixing them into the warm caramel mixture.  The reason is that if the caramel is too hot, it will cook the eggs instead of incorporate them into the batter, and that means your blondies will have scrambled eggs in them.  Foul.  To avoid this, try to make your eggs as close to the temperature of the caramel as possible.  If you, like me, never ever have room temperature eggs because you never plan anything food-related that far in advance, you can break your eggs and yolks into a bowl, and whisk them together over another bowl of hot water to warm them up a bit, though the process of whisking the eggs together in a warmer bowl will do that as well.  Then,  whisk the egg mixture into the caramel a little at a time, whisking the whole thing constantly until the eggs are fully incorporated and the mixture is smooth.

– Cat

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Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken pot pie is a bit of a production, but it’s worth every ounce of effort. You have to make a pie crust, roast chicken, make the filling, and then assemble the pie. It’s quite an ordeal, but it’s fantastic. Of course, there are a lot of cheater methods for chicken pot pie including buying pre-made pie crust, or even puff pastry. You can substitute cream of chicken soup instead of making the filling from scratch. You can even use biscuits as a topping…but I’m telling you right now, if you make it my way, you won’t regret it. In fact, if you have someone you want to impress (a boyfriend or girlfriend by chance) you might want to consider making this for them. This was one of the first meals I made for my boyfriend, and I’m fairly confident it sealed the deal for me.

Classically, chicken pot pie is a cream based filling with chicken, carrots, onions, celery, peas, and potatoes; which is exactly how I make mine. Many recipes add things like mushrooms (which I do love, but my boyfriend doesn’t), bell peppers, and even green beans. Bells peppers and my stomach don’t get along, and I think there is no worse crime than an overcooked mushy green bean, but you can add whatever you like. If you want to add or omit any vegetables in this recipe, you can do it without making any adjustment.

Now, there are a few things I should tell you about this recipe:

–          This is a recipe for a full double pie crust. Depending on how you make your final product you might have left over. If you have left over you can roll out an extra pie crust and freeze it in a disposable pie tin for use later.

–          This recipe makes more than enough filling. My boyfriend calls it “chicken stew” and he loves to eat it alone as much as he loves it in pie form.

–          This can be made in various ways: In a pie plate with both a top and a bottom crust, in a pie plate with just a top crust, or in ramekins or small crocks topped with crust.

–          I made the original in the traditional way with a top and a bottom crust in a pie plate. With the leftovers for picture (and round two eating) purposes I made a small one in a ramekin. One was prettier, but they were both equally delicious.

The filling for this recipe is my own, but the pie crust recipe comes from America’s Test Kitchen.  I have a number of different pie crust recipes under my belt (including the secret family recipe), but this one was excellent for this dish.

Pie Crust Ingredients:

2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons sugar (I left this out since I was doing a savory preparation and this dough is quite sweet)
12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup cold vodka  (Don’t skip this, see the note at the bottom of the post)
1/4 cup cold water

1 egg, for egg wash

Pie crust method:

Process 1½ cups flour, salt and sugar in food processor until combined, about two 1-second pulses. Add butter and shortening, and process until homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds, and there should be no un-coated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.

Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into a 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

Filling (a.k.a. Chicken stew) ingredients:

1 ½ to 2 lbs of chicken, roasted  and diced (or shredded) *See notes at bottom*

1 onion, diced

1 Tbs olive oil

4 Tbs butter

¾ cup flour

4 cups (1 box) chicken stock

2 large carrots, peeled and sliced into ¼” rounds

2 large stalks celery, slice into ¼” pieces

1 medium to large russet potato, diced and par boiled

1/3 cup frozen peas

1 Tbs Better Than Bouillon chicken flavor, or 1 bouillon cube

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

¼ cup heavy cream or ½ and ½

Filling method:

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large pot or sauce pan heat olive oil and sauté onions over medium heat until translucent. Add butter and let it melt. Add flour and whisk into butter and onions, cook over medium heat until a thick paste has formed and has started to lightly brown, about 2 minutes.

Whisk in chicken stock and bullion, bring to a boil. The sauce should be significantly thickened, turn heat back down to medium and add the carrots and celery, and chicken. Cook for about 10 minutes until the carrots and celery have begun to soften. Add peas and potatoes and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes. Add a generous amount of salt and pepper, about a tsp. each, or more to taste. Whisk in heavy cream and remove from heat.

Chicken Pot Pie assembly:

For full crust: Assemble the bottom crust of the pie and rub with butter (yes, more butter, but this will help the crust from becoming soggy).  Add the filling and top with an additional crust. Crimp edges.  And cut 3-4 vents in the top. Whisk one egg and brush lightly over the entire crust. Sprinkle lightly with coarse salt and ground pepper.  Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes or until top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling

For individual pot pies: Spoon filling into 4-6 ovenproof bowls (depending on their size). Roll out dough and cut into strips to create a lattice top, or cut into rounds large enough to drape over the edge of each bowl.  Brush the edge of the bowls with egg wash and top with crust. If you are using rounds, cut 2 vents in each. Brush the tops with egg wash and sprinkle lightly with coarse salt and ground pepper. Bake at 350 for 18-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.

A few notes:

You can buy roasted chicken, or roast your own. I used two large bone-in chicken breasts with skin on. I like to buy skin on because it keeps the breasts moist. My method is to rub each breast with olive oil, place them in a roasting pan skin side up and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast at 375 for about 35 minutes until they are cooked through and have an internal temperature of at least 170 degrees. Let the chicken cool , then remove the meat from the bones and discard the skin, cut into a large dice.

Vodka in pie crust?! No, I’m not crazy. There is some science behind this.  Essentially the alcohol adds moisture without aiding in gluten formation, because gluten does not form in alcohol. For good flaky pie crust you want layers of fat and layers of gluten, and much of this is achieved by using cold ingredients and not allowing too much gluten to form too quickly. One other note- don’t skip that step about folding in the water/vodka, it makes a HUGE difference, trust me. There are a LOT of things I have learned about dough making over the past few years, but that’s a whole different post.

-Sue

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Filed under Baked Goods, Meat, Poultry, Recipes