Roasted chicken pot pie

It’s that whole Fall thing, that desire for rich and creamy and not-exactly-lite fare.  Frankly, I am tired of salads. Around April, I get excited for them, with the snow peas and baby greens and all, but come September we all start a’hankerin’ stews and pot pies and anything with an obscene amount of buttery gravy and possibly alcohol.

Chopped veggies, a chicken, olive oil,salt and pepper

Now that it’s mid-to-latish October and we actually get to put a real blanket on the bed and not just another sheet pretending to be a blanket, I am making rich fattening filling meals. Because Winter is coming and we need that extra subdermal layer of adipose tissue to provide energy during the hibernation period. Except that we’re not bears or squirrels. O well.

Perfectly roasted, do not let the skin go to waste, even though it doesn’t go in the recipe! mmmmm crispy skin….

Ok so we don’t need that, but isn’t there something wonderful about knowing that your house has the aroma of roasting vegetables, garlic, and chicken, and you can catch a whiff even as you turn into the driveway and KNOW that you did something RIGHT and your family will approve? Yes, there is.

In the bowl, waiting for the gravy. See, no skin. It would just get nasty and limp. Go ahead and eat it.

This chicken pot pie recipe was first spotted in a Fine Cooking magazine eons ago…I don’t remember which issue, but in the interest of full disclosure, this is not my own unique recipe. However, I have made a few changes, particularly in the top crust.

Pour in all that lovey silky gravy. Don’t forget to add the crusty bits from the deglazed roasting pan!

I am not a pastry chef. Whenever possible, I buy the pie crusts in the refrigerator section of the store. Sometimes I use those crescent rolls.  The original recipe had you making this buttery puff pastry from scratch and the 3 times I tried it, it turned out this greasy unpleasant stuff. So, I switched to a biscuit top. Who doesn’t love that?  I reckon you could use canned biscuits, but with so much effort going into the filling, I’d rather make semi-homemade. Yes, you could make biscuit dough from scratch and it would be lovely. I am tired. I have spent the entire day making the filling and doing endless loads of laundry so I used a biscuit mix.   I wanted biscuits with herbs mixed in and that’s hard to do with canned ones.  They are slightly customized with buttermilk (add a bit of baking soda to the mix) and lovely chopped oregano and thyme.

Biscuit mix,chopped herbs, artfully photographed in sunlight through a window. I call it “Biscuit Mix With Herbs In A White Bowl.”

As always, after picking all the meat off the chicken, I roasted bones with an onion and a couple of carrots, then threw it in the crockpot with a gallon of water to make stock. I am mildly embarrassed to admit that I used commercially made stock for the recipe, because I was all out of the homemade. It was a sad state of affairs, but one punts when one has to.

Daisy was feeling lazy and was pouting because I didn’t share the chicken skin with her.

This recipe makes a very large amount, so divy it up into 2 casserole dishes, and then cook one of them until the biscuits aren’t quite brown, cover it with foil, and freeze it or give it to a sick friend, so they can warm it up when comfort food is required.

mmmm with a glass of white wine and a blanket, and a good movie…perfect.

Roasted Chicken Pot Pie

1-4 pound whole chicken

6 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks

3 cups baby carrots (or 6 carrots, cut into 1 inch chunks)

3 large leeks, white and light green parts only, cut lengthwise then sliced thin

2 heaping tablespoons minced garlic

olive oil

salt and pepper

generous handful of fresh chopped oregano and thyme  (or parsley, or AND parsley)

1/2 cup white wine (or water, tho wine is very nice)

3/4 cup unsalted butter

3/4 cup flour

1- 32 oz carton chicken broth


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Put the cut up vegetables and garlic in a big bowl and drizzle them with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Put them all in the bottom of a really big roasting pan, and put the chicken on top. Drizzle a little oil,salt and pepper on the chicken. Put it in the oven and roast for an hour, until the chicken is crispy and brown, and the veggies are brown and it all smells so good your 24 yr old son wanders in and announces that he’s hungry.

After an hour, take it out of the oven. The vegs underneath the chicken might not be completely done and that is OK. Also, the chicken might not be 100% done and that is OK too. Let it cool long enough that it is easy to handle (about the amount of time it takes to fold 2 baskets of laundry and watch an episode of CSI you DVR’d last week). Pick all the meat off the chicken and tear it into small pieces. Put it in a huge bowl, and scrape the vegs over into it too.  Add the chopped herbs.

There will be crusty stuff in the roasting pan. If it’s a metal pan,set it on the stove and turn the stove on to medium. Add the white wine and deglaze the pan, scraping up all the crusty bits.  Set that aside.

In a pot, melt the butter and stir in the flour. Let this cook on low, stirring occasionally until it is a light toasty brown and smells like something you want to eat all by itself with a spoon.. Slowly pour in the carton of chicken broth, stirring with a whisk. Turn the heat up a little. Scrape the crusty wine stuff from the roasting pan into it. Stir frequently until you have a nice medium-thick gravy.

Pour the gravy over the chicken and vegs in the big bowl and stir it all up.

Spray a couple of casserole dishes with no stick stuff, and put the filling in each dish. I used a 9×9 and an 8×12 oval pan.

For the topping:

3 cups Jiffy or Bisquick biscuit mix

1 teaspoon baking soda

a generous handful of the same herbs you put in the filling

1-1/2 cups of buttermilk (maybe more, you want a sticky dough)

Stir it all together.

Drop by generous spoonsful onto the filling.

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes,until the biscuits are brown and the filling is bubbling up.
(The thicker the biscuit crust is, the longer it needs to cook. Check it after 40 minutes to see if the dough is done underneath. If not, give it 10 more minutes.)


2 weeks menus
May 18, 2011, 2:31 pm
Filed under: Supper

It’s supposed to be in the mid-90’s for the next couple of weeks, that means salads, sandwiches, and grilling. Lots of grilling, for salads and sandwiches. With one meal of spaghetti thrown in to appease the heathens. Eli has a friend staying with us for a week, and the friend’s parents don’t cook beyond frozen pizza or canned ravioli. He kind of loves coming here because he says it’s like eating at a restaurant (except that he can’t order what he wants). Fortunately he’s not a picky eater, because if he were, he’d go hungry.

Tonight: Roasted chicken and broccoli salad (cleaning out the fridge for Friday’s food buying expedition)
Thu: Veg soup and cornbread (more cleaning out)
Fri:Caesar style grilled stead salad– an Emeril recipe, I love his Caesar dressing. It’s easy and tasty.
Sat: Tuscan grilled chicken sandwich involving microgreens from the garden! Yummy!
Sun: Church potluck, a tomato salad with avocado and feta cheese. The local veg stand has amazing tomatoes.
Mon: Asian chicken salad
Tues: Spaghetti, salad from the garden, homemade garlic breadsticks. To appease the heathens.
Wed: Panzenella! Yay! my very own recipe!
Thur: Lemon Grilled pork loin, roasted potatoes, green beans
Fri: Larb gai spring rolls w/shredded cabbage and bean sprouts
Sat: homemade sausage pizza
Sun: Race Day! Memorial Day Weekend! Terry is off from work! Woot! BBq pork ribs, corn on the cob, potato salad
Mon: Terry’s still off! WHAT?! Spicy beef salad
Tue: Lime chicken tacos
Wed: BBQ pork sandwich on grilled jalapeno corn flatbread

And that’s the recipe round up. Most of them will get my own adaptation, because I am incapable of following a recipe exactly. Cooked chicken will happen early on, with leftovers going into the next recipe. The pork loin will provide meat for 2 meals and leftovers…it all works out. Also, while the meat is the first thing listed, it’s usually in a smaller quantity than the recipe, with fillers in the form of potatoes, grains or pasta. It’s cheaper that way. that’s the beauty of fixing a salad-lotsa veg, and just enough meat to say you had some.

Meatloaf and mashed potatoes
January 18, 2011, 12:35 am
Filed under: Easy but not quick, How To Land A Man, Meat, Supper

Did I take pictures? Of course not. It didn’t last long enough. But I am telling you, on a cold, rainy January, when life is closing in and causing anxiety and angst, there’s nothing like a comfort meal for…y’know….COMFORT.
Not only is it delicious, it’s easy peasy, using ingredients you can find most anywhere. No fancy herbs. No crazy technique. Just plain old simple food, the kind that has people scraping the pan and thrilled to pieces that there’s enough for leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

Meatloaf So Ordinary It’s Extraordinary

1 pound ground chuck
1 pound ground turkey
2 eggs
1 sleeve saltine crackers, crushed
1/4 cup milk
1 package dried onion soup mix
Beat the eggs and milk together in a large bowl. Stir in the onion soup mix, then stir in the crackers until they start soaking up the milk. With your hands, mix in the gorund meats until everything is well blended. Form into a loaf shape in a casserole dish. Bake at 350F degrees for 1 hour, then top with the ketchup topping, bake for 25-30 minutes longer until the topping starts to get crusty around the edges.

1/2 cup regular old ketchup
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons regular old yellow mustard
Mix together in a bowl, and spoon over the top of the meatloaf.

Mashed potatoes
6 medium russet potatoes, peeled
3/4 cup hot milk (I heat it up in the microwave)
1/2 stick butter
salt and pepper to taste
Cut the potatoes up into small chunks and put in a pot. cover with water and boil for 30 minutes, until the potatoes are done and quite soft. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot. Cut the butter up into small bits and add it to the hot potatoes. Add about 1/2 teaspoon salt and about the same of black pepper. Using a hand mixer, blend in the hot milk, a little at a time, until the potatoes are smooth and thick. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot with the meatloaf for a warm and comforting dinner.

Tamale Pie
December 21, 2010, 9:02 pm
Filed under: Poultry, Quick and Easy, Supper

once again, in spite of my best intentions, I forgot to take pictures. Woe! I’ll never be famous that way!

Tamale pie is warm and filling and delicious. It’s essentially a layer of cornmeal mush with chili on top and cheese on top of that- what’s not to love?
Typically I make a big ol’ vat of chili, feed my voracious family (for some reason the fledgelings return whenever chili is announced), and use the leftovers for tamale pie a couple of days later. however, last time I made chili (Saturday), I got all smart n stuff, and made half as much chili, thinking O, there’s just 3 of us now, and we all know the Scythian Horde will not descend upon us on a Saturday night, for they will be doing Horde-ish things at Don Corleone’s. So in my smug complacency I made a little pot of chili, just enough for 3 with leftovers enough for tamale pie. Alas, hubris happened, and The Horde descended like a flock of be-starved vultures,swooping in and eating all the chili and demanding to know why I didn’t make enough fo them to take some to their apartments for breakfast Sunday morning. I had no answer, just remorse.

Anyway, last night was chilly and damp, and even though there was no leftover chili, tamale pie was still definitely in order. There was, in the freezer, the remnants of a roasted chicken (for broth, I roasted the bird and picked off the meat for later, before using the bones and such to make the broth), and in the pantry were cans of tomatoes and navy beans, just what was needed for a white chicken chili…Joy! And thus chicken tamale pie for supper. Warm, filling, and delicious the next day in the form of leftovers. It is one of those meals that improves with a day or so of aging in the fridge.

White Chicken Chili Tamale Pie

For the chili:
About 1 pound of cooked chicken (let’s call it 2 big breasts if you want to…),shredded
2 cups chicken broth
1-14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
1-14.5 oz can navy or great northern beans, undrained
1 tablespoon dried onion pieces
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground toasted cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground toasted coriander (optional, I know not everyone keeps this in their cabinet)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or less or not at all, depending on how spicy you like it)
Mix it all together in a pot and simmer uncovered until it’s cooked down and is nice and thick. Stir it now and then to make sure it doesn’t stick. adjust the seasoning, adding salt if you need to, or more of this spice or that…

Now you’ve made the chili, it’s time to make the mush.

4 cups water in a pot
dash of salt
Bring the salted water to a rolling boil. With a whisk, stir in
1 cup ground cornmeal. yellow or white, it doesn’t matter. Don’t use cornbread mix. Use plain cornmeal.
turn the heat down to simmer
Stir constantly with a whisk until it’s thick like porridge. This is quick, maybe 5 minutes. Guess what! you’ve made POLENTA…only not this time. this time it’s just cornmeal mush.

To assemble the tamale pie, pour the mush into a greased casserole dish. Spread the chili on top (remember, if you’ve made chili and are using leftovers, this is COMPLETELY ACCEPTABLE. If you deal regularly with The Scythian Horde or perhaps Philistines, bear this in mind and make plenty). Once the chili is spread, sprinkle some cheese on top. however much you like. ! prefer co-jack, but with chicken chili, pepperjack is quite good.
Bake this at 350F until the cheese starts to brown and the whole thing is kind of bubbly…maybe 30 minutes if the mush and chili are hot when youput them together, perhaps a little longer if you’re using leftovers from the fridge.

If you want to, you could add corn to either the chili or the mush…it would be tasty!

Dijon-Tarragon roasted chicken
October 6, 2010, 2:08 pm
Filed under: Philosophical, Poultry, Supper, Technique

Sometimes life just kicks butt, and you have to step back and rely on the simple stuff in the kitchen. A roast chicken, pan gravy, mashed potatoes…comfort food. Last night I found a recipe involving several of my favorite things, and since the battery was dead in the camera, pictures didn’t get taken but I will tell you that it was a lovely sight, that meal was. Simple, too! So here it is:

Roast chicken with dijon mustard and tarragon

1 whole chicken, rinsed and patted dry
Some dijon mustard (maybe 1/4 cup? or a bit more? I don’t know…)
some dried tarragon…probably a couple of tablespoons
Smear the chicken with the mustard and pat the tarragon all over it.
I put a rack over a large ovenproof skillet, because I wanted all the drippings from the chicken and am kind of fond of crisp skin and kind of grossed out by flabby skin. Anyway, the chicken roasted at 450 degrees for about an hour (roughly 15 minutes per pound is the rule here, when the oven is that hot. If 450 degrees scares you…it did the first time I tried it…get over it. It’s awesome.) All the drippings caught in the skillet. When it was done, I set the chicken aside, skimmed out all but about 2 tablespoons of the fat in the skillet, and save the juices (I have one of those fat skimmer-juice saver thingies…it’s got a hole in the bottom so you can drain the juice and save it and keep the fat in there, however much you want without it getting in the juices and you can feel virtuous). So, in the fat in the skillet I mixed in a couple of tablespoons of flour, until all the lumps were gone, added back in the juices and about a cup and 1/2 of hot milk, to make a gravy. Seasoned to taste with salt and pepper…ok just pepper because I can’t have the salt, but people at the table can salt. Stir it the whole time with a whisk until it gets thickish, add more milk if you want it thinner.
So now you have a roasted chicken YUM with pan gravy YUM and you need something to put the gravy ON, right? RIGHT! Rice is good, love chicken and rice together, but last night was chilly and called loudly for MASHED POTATOES! YUM!

6 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
a pot full of water.
Put the potatoes in the water, bring it to a boil and turn down to simmer, cook for 30-45 minutes until the taters are soft. It’s forgiving, so time isn’t critical.
Drain the water, put the taters back in the pot. Heat up about 1-1/2 cups milk and 1/2 stick butter. (I do this in the microwave) and pour into the potatoes. Using a hand mixer, or a potato masher, blend the stuff all together until it’s as smooth as you like. I like lumpy potatoes. Season with pepper (and salt if you can, which I can’t, but most of you can so go ahead) and serve hot with the chicken and gravy.

You do know how to cut up a whole chicken, right?

Menus for the week
August 24, 2010, 1:12 pm
Filed under: Supper

I make out menus Thursday-Wednesday, because I despise buying groceries on Saturday, when everyone else is doing it, and order is necessary. Making menus means the ingredient are on hand, and making them one week at a time means this small kitchen isn’t required to try to hold more stuff than there’s room for. This week involved going through The Notebook. When I find an interesting recipe in a magazine or the Williams-Sonoma catalog, it gets ripped out ad stuck in the notebook. Sometimes it gets printed off the internet and stuck in there. Why not save it on the computer? Because computers are unreliable, and die. And I am unreliable about backing things up to a disc. Ergo, the notebook. Sometimes menus are made from the un-backed up bookmarks on the computer, sometimes the notebook, sometimes the assorted cookbooks, sometimes general-knowledge recipes (like spaghetti or tacos). This week, the notebook. It’s a satisfying task, to sit down with the calendar, the grocery list book and the resources. I’ll flip through until something catches my eye, give it a read-over, and write it down. Meats are rotated. This night will have chicken, the next one pork, another is meatless, whatever. Summer means salads and sandwiches, grilled things. Winter involves soups and stews, Spring means fresh peas and greens from the garden. Anyway, this week…The Notebook. Let me know it you want a recipe and I’ll put it down for you.

Thursday- curry roasted drumsticks, basmati rice pilaf, pineapple salsa
Friday-grilled flatiron steak with chimichurri, roasted potatoes, greens salad
Saturday- pulled pork tacos, napa slaw
Sunday-I Don’t Cook
Monday-sesame noodles with pulled chicken, fresh veggies
Tuesday- Bistecca sandwiches with roasted red pepper and gorgonzola mayonnaise, home fries
Wednesday-Chicken souvlakia with tzatziki and fresh veggies

It don’t always happen the way it does in my head
August 19, 2010, 8:35 pm
Filed under: Meat, Not The Best idea, Philosophical, Supper

This morning I decided Pot Roast was going to happen. I have (had) a nice chuck roast, bone-in so I would be able to make some beef stock later. James Beard recommends lardoons soaked in cognac to stud the roast (that sounds sinful in more ways than one), and I didn’t have lardoons but I did have some peppered smoked bacon ends and that’s kind of like lardoons, right? What goes great with bacon and beef? Onions and garlic. That’s what. And James Beard’s Quick Brown Sauce. (recipe at the bottom of the link). Somehow this time the whole is less than the sum of the parts. It doesn’t smell like it will taste delightful, and anything I eat has to get past my nose. So, in the interest of making it better, I added a half bottle of cheap merlot and a couple of bay leaves. It’s better, but not enough to convince me it will be delicious. In fact, my mind-reading husband called from 30 miles away, right as I was griping out loud about the unsatisfactory aroma odor, to offer a dinner of tacos at the local El Sombrero. He didn’t even know I’d made a disappointing roast, but probably felt the waves of personal disapproval across county lines and came to my culinary rescue. El Sombrero has excellent tacos. They’re cheap and yummy and you get a big basket of hot corn chips and their tasty fresh salsa to boot.

Rootie’s Disappointing Pot Roast Recipe
1- 3 pound chuck roast, bone in
1/2 pound peppered bacon end pieces
2 yellow onions
6 cloves garlic
6 cups Quick Brown Sauce
half a bottle cheap merlot
2 bay leaves

brown the bacon pieces in a large skillet over low heat. Brown the pot roast in the rendered bacon fat. Put everything except the wine and bay leaves in a large crock pot set on low, and let cook for several hours.
Sniff the odor with disappointment, and add the wine in an attempt to improve things. Add the bay leaves. Put the top back on and grumble. Answer the phone when your husband calls, and cheerfully accept his offer totake you to El Sombrero for tacos and iced tea.
Thank your 11 year old when he says the meat smells fine, and offer it to him for lunch the next day, forgetting that he goes to a Christian school and wine soaked victuals might not be the best idea.