Sunday, November 20, 2005

Comfort Food :-)

I think I missed a day or two...sorry. :-) Where did those days go? Hmm. Anyways, tonight for Company Dinner I made one of the ultimate comfort foods- Chicken Pot Pie. What could be better than a delicious chicken stew topped with a fabulous biscuit topping and baked to bubbly perfection. Add a spinach salad and some homemade whole wheat bread, and it's pure heaven. This pot pie is one my Mom seldom made- it looks like a lot of work, and while it could be, I do simplify it a bit. She had originally gotten the recipe from a box of Bisquik. I have tweaked it some, but the basics are still the same. Mostly I replaced a Bisquik biscuit topping with my own homemade biscuit topping, and it is quite good. The recipe is posted below.

I also have to praise the virtues of a relative newcomer to my kitchen- fennel. I have spoke of this recently, but the more I use it, the more I am loving it. I added a little bit of fennel to my pot pie today, and it gave it such a wonderful extra "oomph". I also chopped up some of the fronds, which of course added to the filling, and really made it look like something special. I have also been snacking on fennel a little bit, and I really like it. I plan to use more this week with a roasted chicken, and possibly as part of my Thanksgiving dinner.

And did I mention Thanksgiving is this week!?!? I am looking forward to it. I have my menu planned, and tomorrow will finalize my timeline. I am trying a new turkey this time. It is in the November issue of Bon Appetit, and is a cider brined turkey. I have really enjoyed the results of brining turkey, but I would also like to try putting stuffing in my turkey instead of just alongside. Well, this brine recipe uses less salt, so I can add my stuffing to the turkey. I am very excited. Now only do I get to welcome my friends and family to my holiday, I also get to meet a very special someone in my sister Lizzie's life- and I am looking forward to meeting the man that treats my baby sister like a Princess.

So with that, I will share my Pot Pie recipe, and toast a cheers to all for a great week ahead!

* Exported from MasterCook *
Deep Dish Chicken Pot Pie

3 cups cooked chicken -- cubed
1 cup sliced carrots -- cooked
1 cup potatoes -- cubed and cooked
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup celery -- chopped
1/2 cup onion- diced
1/2 cup fennel bulb- diced
6 Tablespoons butter or margarine
1/3 cup flour
7 chicken bouillon cubes -- *see Note
4 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon herbes de provence
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Biscuit dough
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter or margarine
1 cup milk

In a large saucepan, cook celery, onion, and fennel in butter until tender. Stir in flour, buillion, and black pepper to taste. Add milk. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Stir in chicken, carrots, potatoes, peas and seasonings. Remove from heat.
In a bowl, combine dry ingredients for biscuit dough. Cut in butter until crumbly. Add milk and combine well.
Pour chicken mixture into a large baking dish. Drop biscuit dough by spoonfuls over the top. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes. Turn up heat to 425 and bake until biscuits are cooked through and a nice golden brown.
*Note: If you prefer, use 4 teaspoons of chicken broth base instead of 7 bouillion cubes.
** This recipe is extremely versatile. Add any frozen veggies you have on hand. We like it with broccoli and cauliflower. You can also leave out the carrots and peas originally called for, and just add a bag if frozen mixed vegetables. Also add any herbs that you would like, and you can even add a cup of cheese to the vegetable mixture to make it cheesy.

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