Chicken pot pie

Adapted from smitten kitchen & One Dad’s Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 1/2 to 4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken parts (breasts, thighs and drumsticks are ideal)
  • 1 to 2 glugs olive oil
  • 2 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, cut in half lengthwise and then into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 large onion, diced small
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry (optional)
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup milk or heavy cream
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen green peas (no need to defrost)
  • 2 large carrots, diced small (about 1 cup carrots)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 pie crust

Directions:

  1. Generously season all sides of the chicken parts with salt and freshly ground black pepper. If your chicken breasts are particularly large, I find that halving them can ensure they cook at the same pace at the other parts.
  2. Heat first glug of olive oil over medium-high heat in the bottom of a large Dutch oven (minimum of 4 quarts; mine is 5). Brown chicken in two parts, cooking until golden on both sides. Transfer to a plate and repeat with second half of chicken. Set aside.
  3. Heat second glug of olive oil in the same pot. Add onions and leeks, season with salt and pepper, and saute them until softened, about 7 minutes. If using, pour in sherry and use it to scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Simmer until mostly cooked off.
  4. Add milk or cream, chicken broth, thyme and bay leaf and bring to a simmer.
  5. Nestle the browned chicken and any accumulated juices into the pot. Cover and gently simmer to 30 minutes, after which the chicken should be fully cooked and tender.
  6. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board to cool slightly. Discard the bay leaves. Allow the sauce to settle for a few minutes, then skim the fat from the surface using a wide spoon; reserve it for another use, or this:
  7. In a medium bowl, mash butter (feel free to replace any part of it with skimmed chicken fat) and flour together with a fork until a paste forms and no flour is still visibly dry.
  8. Pour one ladleful of filling over it, and whisk until smooth. Add a second ladleful, whisking again.
  9. Return this butter-flour-filling mixture to the larger pot, stir to combine, and bring mixture back to a simmer for 10 minutes. The broth base should thicken to a gravy-like consistency. Adjust seasonings, if needed.
  10. Add carrots and peas to stew and simmer for 3 minutes, until firm-tender. Shred or dice the chicken, discarding the bones and skin or saving it for another use. Return chicken to stew and re-simmer for 1 minute. Stir in parsley.
  11. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  12. Roll the dough up, and unroll it over the baking dish, so it rests evenly on top of the filling. Fold the edges under and crimp the edges. Poke the tip of a knife through the crust to create 3 vent holes near the center.
  13. Egg wash (optional): Whisk the egg with a teaspoon of cold water. Use a pastry brush to lightly coat the entire crust with egg wash. Place the pie pan or baking dish on a cookie sheet, and place it in the oven.
  14. Bake the pie for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Bake the pie for 25 to 30 minutes more, until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling through the vents. Let the pie rest for 10 minutes before serving.

We had tried that super easy sausage pie from before, and so had one pie crust left over (it was a 2 pack from Pillsbury). We both really like chicken pot pie, and had never attempted it before. Jesse thus felt obliged to attempt it (with delightfully fresh marjoram, thyme, rosemary from our “garden”), despite the fact that it was more work than our usual one-pot-meals. We didn’t have small “pot pie” dishes or any tarragon, so we used the filling ingredients from smitten kitchen, but then followed the heating instructions from the NYTimes “Julia Child” recipe, which was for just one big (normal) pot pie.

~Jessica

LotR mushroom soup

Adapted from Middle-Earth Recipes and The Hungry Hobbit

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of mushrooms, divided in half
  • 4 + 2 + 2 tbsp of butter
  • 1 tbsp of chopped onion
  • 2 cups of finely chopped carrots
  • 2 cups of finely chopped celery (we used leeks)
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 cups of broth / bouillon
  • 1 small can of tomato paste (~6-7 tbsp; we used 1-2 tbsp)
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 1/4 cup of dry sherry (we used a dry red wine)
  • Garnish: sour cream, herbs (optional)

Directions:

  1. Chop 1/2 pound of mushrooms very fine.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of chopped onion, 2 cups of finely chopped carrots, 2 cups of finely chopped celery, and 1 clove of garlic, minced. If you have wine, you can use it now to deglaze the pot. Stir, scraping the bottom bits.
  4. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet, add the 1/2 pound of finely chopped mushrooms, and sauté for 5 minutes. Add to the soup.
  5. Stir in 2 1/2 cups of broth, 3 1/2 cups of water, 1 small can of tomato paste, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/16 teaspoon of pepper.
  6. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer 1 hour (30 minutes minimum).
  7. Purée the soup with an immersion blender. Season and taste.
  8. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet, add the 1/2 pound of reserved sliced mushrooms, and sauté for 5 minutes. Add to the soup.
  9. Add 1/4 cup of dry sherry. Heat thoroughly and serve.
  10. Garnish with sour cream or herbs.

Titled “Mushroom Soup from the Inn at Bree”, there is only one main inn in Bree, however: the Inn of the Prancing Pony. We didn’t have a bundle of celery, so we subbed with a leek instead. Next time I would use 2 leeks! I would also had herbs like thyme. Instead of beef broth, we used Better Than Bouillon chicken base. Feel free to use more tomato paste if you prefer a more reddish product, but this was grand — I would also like to try a medley of mushrooms in season. Instead of dry sherry, we used a red wine, but I would also try a white wine next time.

~Jessica

Zucchini pepper soup

Adapted from Stella Cooks and the spring vegetable puree

perfect with a grilled cheese

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 head of garlic, smashed
  • 1 zucchini, washed and chopped
  • 2 bell pepper, washed and chopped (red is good)
  • 1 bunch of Korean leeks (Hmart)
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 4 tbsp. tomato paste
  • pinch of salt, cracked pepper, paprika, thyme, oregano, cumin
  • ½ cup of heavy cream

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, warm the butter (or olive oil) over medium heat. Gently saute the garlic for a couple of minutes, then throw in the leeks (or onions if you have) and cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant and soft, stirring constantly.
  2. Add zucchini and peppers to skillet and saute for about ten minutes, or until they just begin to brown.
  3. Pour the rest of the ingredients (except the dairy) into the soup pot, including the vegetable broth, and heat just to boiling. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and allow to cook for about twenty minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Let cool a bit (to avoid heat splashing in the blender). Remove the soup, in batches if necessary, into a blender or large food processor and puree to desired thickness (I usually prefer smooth soups). Return the pureed soup to the pot. Taste. Stir in salt and pepper as desired.
  5. Make sure the soup is well mixed and heated throughout, then ladle out into serving bowls. Sprinkle some scallions or leeks greens on the top, add the cream (milk), and finish with a light dash of paprika. Serve immediately.

I used whole milk instead of heavy cream, but it was delicious before that. I also threw in a handful of pistachios and pancetta to clean out my cupboard (road trip coming up!), but this recipe would have been just as superb without them. I have perfected this soup, and the grilled cheese that complements it. Hooray!

~Jessica

Leek farro soup (Minestra di farro e porri)

Adapted from La Tavola Marche and Madonna del Piatto

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 leeks, white parts only, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups pearled farro
  • 6 1/4 cups stock ***Avoid using bullion (or stock) cubes for this! There are only a few ingredients & they should be of the highest quality possible ^_^
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • freshly grated salt & pepper
  • 1 large onion, sliced thin 2 tablespoons
  • sprig of rosemary
  • extra virgin olive oil (to taste)
  • parsley, finely chopped (to taste)
  • 1 large garlic clove, halved lengthwise

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a pan, add the leeks and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes until golden brown.
  2. Add the farro, pour in the stock (I cooked carrot, celery, parsnip, turnip from a soup greens package), season with salt and simmer over low heat for 1 1/2 hours or until the farro is tender. Season with pepper.
  3. Ladle the soup into bowls or a soup tureen and sprinkle with Parmesan & drizzle with good quality extra virgin olive oil.
  4. Provide toasted Italian crusty bread, rubbed with cut garlic, to mop it up. Also good to have plenty of freshly grated Parmesan on hand, per person.

A former roommate left this bag of Italian farro, so of course I needed to find the perfect soup recipe for the long winter nights.

Cheers,
Jessica

Pot-au-feu

Adapted from Food Network and Buzzfeed (via Anthony Bourdain)

1 bouquet garni
1.4 L broth
pinch of black pepper
Camargue salt
6-8 whole cloves (I didn’t have)
1 onion
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 small leeks, outer leaves peeled, halved lengthwise
1 bunch carrots, trimmed and halved lengthwise
1/2 celery stick, trimmed and halved lengthwise
2 small turnips, peeled and halved lengthwise
some bone-in meat of your choice (I used a can of cassoulet de canard)
2 spoonfuls extra-virgin olive oil
200 g winter greens (I used frozen spinach)
Freshly ground pepper
1 bunch fresh parsley, to garnish

Tie 1/2 the parsley (I also added a sprig of thyme and bay leaves for a bouquet garni) and place in broth with spices. Simmer 10 minutes. Add leeks, carrots, turnips and cover. Bring to boil then simmer 15 minutes. Reserve broth and set aside vegetables. Here I heated a can of cassoulet and poached it 5 min. Add olive oil and greens, cook for 5-10 minutes. Return vegetables to the pot (discarding the green part of the leeks) and enough of the reserved broth to cover, then simmer for 10 minutes. Chop parsley and add to the pot. Ladle into bowls to serve, adding reserved broth as needed (less if you prefer gravy to soup).

Potatoes would have been good in this, or flour to thicken the soup into a gravy, and I didn’t have cloves. Green cabbage is an option as well. Traditionally served with coarse salt and Dijon mustard, horseradish sauce, and pickles.

~Jessica

Quiche Lorraine

Adapted from smitten kitchen, adapted from Le Pain Quotidien. Served 3.

quiche pastry dough
2 large leeks, white and light green only diced (I used one super-big leek)
1 onion, diced (I used red)
olive oil + butter
salt
3 eggs, divided (I used 4 as they weren’t large)
120 mL+ heavy cream (I used 200 g creme fraiche)
240 mL+ sour cream (I had 150 g)
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of pepper
200 g diced ham (I had 227 g pork belly bacon, cooked)
100 g Swiss cheese, freshly grated (I had Emmentaler)

IMAG5180

The cream-egg mixture

IMAG5183

Added broccoli because I had it

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One cute slice

Saute leeks and onions in butter on low heat for 30-40 minutes until caramelized. Remove. Mix the creams with the eggs. Add nutmeg, salt, pepper. Preheat oven to 175 deg C. Unfurl pastry dough in a pan. Add the vegetables (I added some blanched broccoli I had lying around), then the bacon, then cheese, and finally the egg-cream liquid. Bake 25-30 minutes. Wait 5 minutes for the eggs to set. Serve warm.

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I used Emmentaler because ‘Swiss cheese’ doesn’t exist in Germany or Switzerland. Like ‘French fries’ in France or ‘Italian dressing’ in Italy. See here.

~Jessica

Ginger fried rice

Adapted from smitten kitchen and Ming Tsai

  • 1 lapchang (Chinese sausage), diced (can substitute with 4 strips of cooked bacon)
  • 2 garlic, minced
  • ginger, minced (equal amount to garlic)
  • 1 leeks, light parts only, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch scallions, green and white separated, chopped
  • peanut oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • sesame oil (for some heat but the same awesome flavor, use hot sesame oil)
  • 2 cups day-old cooked rice (any leftover rice you have)
  • soy sauce
  • white pepper
  • sugar
IMAG3850
with scallions
  1. Brown the meat (can sub with mushrooms for a vegetarian version), then remove.
  2. Stir fry the garlic and ginger in the fat, then add the leeks/scallion whites.
  3. Feel free to improvise here with some more vegetables (frozen corn-pea-carrot works well). Cook and then remove.
  4. Scramble the eggs with a handful of scallion greens, then remove.
  5. Add the cooked rice and mix all together.
  6. Add soy sauce, pepper, a tiny bit of sugar, and the eggs and veg back again.
  7. Garnish with scallion greens. Taste and serve!

Also found a fancier fusion version by Ming that I like, mostly for the spinach and corn addition.

~Jessica

Rapunzel’s hazelnut soup

Rapunzel’s favorite dish that Mother Gothel makes. Here is the Disney version :

Disney-version Ingredients:

  • 2 lb butternut squash, seeded and cut into 6 sections
  • 1 lb parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 green apple, peeled, cored, and quartered
  • 1 medium brown onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups of chicken stock, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Salt and white pepper to taste
  • 1 cup raw hazelnuts (for topping)

but… The version I prefer (I do not do fruit in my soup, thank you very much) is this: Creamy hazelnut soup

Ingredients:

  • some hazelnuts
  • 50 g butter
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium leek, white only, chopped
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
  • 3 small russet potatoes, chopped (optional)
  • 1 spoon flour
  • 1 L vegetable stock
  • 220 g crème fraîche
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • handful of chopped hazelnuts, roasted

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, melt butter over medium high heat. Once butter is melted and hot, add the sliced leeks and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are soft.
  2. Add the garlic, parsnips, and potatoes and cook for about five minutes, stirring often. Make sure your parsnips and potato pieces are about the same size and not too big. Add a few sprinkles of salt and pepper to the veggies as you stir.
  3. Add 3/4 cup of the peeled hazelnuts to the pot and stir for a minute or so.
  4. Add the veggie broth and creme fraiche and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and let it cook for about 20 minutes, at least until the parsnips and potatoes are soft.
  5. Remove the thyme sprigs and use an immersion hand blender.
  6. To Roast Hazelnuts: Preheat oven to 275° F. Place 1 cup of raw hazelnuts on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until the hazelnut skins burst. Remove from oven and let cool. When cool enough to handle, roll hazelnuts between paper towels to remove skins. Place skinless hazelnuts into a small plastic bag and crush using a rolling pin.
  7.  Serve soup in bowls, and top with the crushed roasted hazelnuts.

~Jessica