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Classic Chicken Pot Pie

PASTRY

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons snipped chives
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream

CHICKEN & VEGETABLES

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 stalk celery, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/2 pound crimini or shiitake mushrooms, sliced 1 x 10 ounce package frozen pearl onions, thawed
  • 3/4 cup frozen petite peas, thawed

SAUCE

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg with 1 tablespoon water, beaten

1. Prepare the pastry: Place the flour and chives in a bowl. Using a pastry blender or your fingertips, work in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the cheese and work in until just blend. In a small bowl, whisk together the yolks and 5 tablespoons of the cream. Sprinkle the yolk mixture over the pastry dough, a little at a time, stirring with a fork until pastry comes together. Add remaining cream if necessary. Knead lightly until just combined. Press pastry into a circle. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add the butter and vegetable oil. Sauté the chicken for 2-3 minutes, until lightly browned but not cooked through. With slotted spoon, remove chicken to bowl.

3. In the same pan over medium-high heat sauté the carrots, celery and mushrooms 5 minutes. With slotted spoon, remove vegetables to another bowl. Stir thawed pearl onions and peas into vegetables.

4. Prepare the sauce: In the same pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until the mixture is bubbling and smooth, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and gradually whisk in stock, cream, and thyme. Return skillet to heat, bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Cook for 2 minutes until sauce has thickened and is smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in reserved chicken and vegetables. Set aside to cool for about 20 minutes.

5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spoon cooled chicken and vegetable mixture into a 10-inch deep-dish pie plate. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry into a circle 11-inches in diameter. Place pastry on top of chicken mixture. Trim pastry edge, fold overhang under and press gently all around the baking dish to make a decorative edge. Reroll any trimmings and cut out to make a decorative design for top of pie. Brush pastry with beaten eggwash. Using a knife, cut 3 slits in center of pie.

6. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until pastry is golden brown, chicken and vegetables are tender and filling is heated through.

All Purpose Pizza Dough
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (105 to 115 degrees F.)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for brushing the pizza crusts
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Using a stand mixer: Combine the flour and salt and add it to the yeast mixture all at once. Mix it together using the paddle attachment, then change to the dough hook. Knead at low speed for 2 minutes, then turn up to medium speed and knead until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl and clusters around the dough hook, about 5 minutes. Hold on to the machine if it bounces around. Turn out onto a clean work surface and knead by hand for 2 or 3 minutes longer. The dough should be smooth and elastic. When you press it with your finger it should slowly spring back, and it should not feel tacky. Kneading the dough by hand: Mix together the yeast, honey, water and olive oil as directed in a medium-size or large bowl. Combine the flour and salt. Fold in the flour a cup at a time using a large wooden spoon. As soon as you can scrape the dough out in one piece, scrape it onto a lightly floured work surface and knead it for 10 minutes, adding flour as necessary until the dough is smooth and elastic. Using a food processor: Mix together the yeast, honey, water and olive oil in a small bowl or measuring cup. Place the flour and salt in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse once or twice. Then, with the machine running, pour in the yeast mixture. Process until the dough forms a ball on the blades. Remove the dough from the processor and knead it on a lightly floured surface for a couple of minutes, adding flour as necessary, until it is smooth and elastic.

Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly oiled bowl, rounded side down first, then rounded side up. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and leave it in a warm spot to rise for 30 minutes (you can leave it for up to an hour). When it is ready the dough will stretch as it is gently pulled.

Divide the dough into 2 to 4 equal balls, depending on how large you want your pizzas to be. Shape each ball by gently pulling down the sides of the dough and tucking each pull under the bottom of the ball, working round and round the ball 4 or 5 times. Then, on a smooth, unfloured surface, roll the ball around under your palm until the ball feels smooth and firm, about 1 minute. Put the balls on a tray or platter, cover with pan-sprayed plastic wrap or a damp towel, and leave them to rest for at least 30 minutes. At this point, the dough balls can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for 1 to 2 days. You will need to punch them down again when you are ready to roll out the pizzas.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Place a pizza stone in the oven to heat. In the meantime, press out the dough. Place a ball of dough on a lightly floured surface. While turning the dough, press down on its center with the heel of your hand, gradually spreading it out to a circle 7 to 8 inches in diameter for small pizzas, 12 to 14 for larger pizzas. Alternatively, use a rolling pin to get an even circle. With your fingers, form a slightly thicker raised rim around edge of the circle. Brush everything but the rim with a little olive oil, then top the pizza as you like. You can transfer the pizza to a lightly oiled pizza pan if you like, or bake it directly on the stone.

Depending on your taste, spread the dough with marinara sauce or pesto sauce (about 2 tablespoons for small pizzas, 1/4 to 1/3 cup for larger ones). If you don’t have sauce, a can of tomatoes, drained, chopped, and seasoned with salt and chopped sautéed garlic, will do. Top with the shredded or grated cheeses of your choice (I like a mixture of mozzarella and fontina). Add thinly sliced vegetables such as Roma tomatoes, pitted olives, red peppers, or red onions; sautéed sliced vegetables such as mushrooms, eggplant, zucchini, or artichoke hearts; thinly sliced cured meats such as pepperoni or prosciutto; or small pieces of lightly cooked chicken or shrimp. Add a lightly sprinkling of grated Parmesan or crumbled goat cheese or blue cheese and some minced or julienned fresh herbs such as basil or oregano or dried herbs such as thyme, oregano, or herbes de Provence.

Dust a pizza paddle (also called a baker’s peel) with semolina and slip it under the pizza. Slide the pizza onto the baking stone or into the pizza pan (or place the pizza pan on the stone – the heat from the stone will help it achieve a crisp crust). Bake until the cheese topping is bubbling and the rim of the crust is deep golden brown, about 10 minutes.
Use the pizza paddle to slide the pizza out of the oven and onto a cutting board. Use a pizza cutter or a sharp knife to cut the pizza into slices and serve immediately.

Chinois Chicken Salad

Chinese Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 2 teaspoons dry Chinese or English (Coleman's) mustard
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons light sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil (2-3 for 4 servings)
  • salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Chicken Salad

  • One 3 pound chicken, cavity filled with finely diced celery, carrot, onion, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 small heads, or 1 medium head Napa cabbage
  • 1 cup romaine lettuce, cut into 1/4 inch julienne strips
  • 10 snow peas, cut into 1/4 inch julienne strips
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

Prepare the vinaigrette. Place all the vinaigrette ingredients, except peanut oil, in a blender and blend until smooth. Add peanut oil slowly and correct the seasonings.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Place the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan and baste it with some of the butter. Roast for about 1 1/2 hours, or until just done. (The juices should run clear.) Baste every 15 or 20 minutes with the butter and the drippings.

Select 4 to 8 nice looking leaves from the Napa cabbage and reserve them. Slice the remaining cabbage into 1/4 inch julienne strips.

Shred the meat from the breasts and thighs of the chicken.(Use the remaining meat and the carcass for chicken stock. See separate recipe.)

Combine the chicken, cabbage, romaine and snow peas in a bowl and toss with enough vinaigrette to coat the salad nicely.

Note: Serves 4 appetizer or 2 entrée salads