Sunday, February 27, 2011

Dinner - Curried Chicken Potpie (with Vegetarian option!)

Last night's dinner was delicious, perfectly curried, and a wonderful twist on a classic favorite. It was so good, everyone should make this immediately! I even think it could be altered to be vegetarian-friendly (see my notes on the recipe below)! Even my sister could eat this (hi Melissa)!

The recipe itself was a little tricky. Perhaps it was because neither Matt nor I decided to read the recipe in full before we made it. Oops. But it did work out well and was really, really good!

The recipe came from an old issue of Rachael Ray, from a spread that included recipes from many favorite diners throughout the U.S. This recipe comes to us (via Rachael) from the Fog City Diner in San Francisco. I should have had a meal there when I was in San Francisco 4 years ago, as I recall seeing its beautiful chromed exterior as I walked down past the piers of that beautiful city. Just gives me a good excuse to make a return visit, I guess!

This is a two-part recipe, where you start by making the crispy pastry rounds for the tops of the pies, then you make a stew of sorts to fill the pie. You can find the original recipe at this website, but I will try to break it down as easy as possible below. We also added some parsnips we had leftover from a recipe we made last week. They cooked up wonderfully, and almost tasted like potatoes!

Curried Chicken Potpies
(Please see edits in parenthesis for vegetarian option! Note I have not tried vegetarian option, only thinking it could work, so apologies if it is not super delicious!)

Ingredients:
For potpie pastry crust:
-1 cup flour
-6 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into small pieces
-Pinch salt

To make the crust, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine flour and salt. Using fingers, work butter into flour to form coarse crumbs.
Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons ice water and mix together to make a dough. Add more water if necessary, 1 teaspoon at a time.
Knead and transfer to work surface. Roll dough out to form a 10" square. Cut four 4-5 inch circles from the dough.
Place dough circles on parchment-paper lined baking sheet and bake until golden, 12-15 minutes. Let cool while you prepare potpie filling.

For potpie filling:
-1 teaspoon curry powder
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoon pepper
-2 tablespoons butter, divided
-2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (Vegetarians: substitute firm tofu, or feel free to leave out, subbing another vegetable of choice)
-1 cup chicken broth (Vegetarians: substitute vegetable broth seasoned with a bit of curry, perhaps a 1/2 teaspoon or so)
-1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
-3 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds (optional)
-2 cups small cauliflower florets
-1 cup cut green beans (we used fresh)
-1 onion, finely chopped (we used maybe a quarter of an onion)
-1 1/2 tablespoons flour

Combine curry powder, salt and pepper. Season chicken on both sides with the mixture.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet. Add chicken and cook until golden, about 8 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate and let cool. Reserve the skillet.

In medium sized pot, bring chicken broth (or vegetable broth) to a boil. Add sweet potato (and parsnips, if using), cover, and simmer 3 minutes. Stir in cauliflower, cover and simmer additional 5 minutes. Stir in green beans, cover and simmer 1 minute longer.

Strain broth into a bowl, keeping vegetables in the pot. Shred chicken up and add to vegetables with any chicken juices.

In reserved skillet, melt remaining tablespoon butter. Add onion and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1 1/2 tablespoons flour and cook 1 minute. Whisk in the broth, stirring, and cook until thickened, about 1 minute.

Stir in vegetable mixture, season with a little salt and pepper.
Divide between serving bowls, and top each with a pastry round.
Serve immediately.
Enjoy!

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