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

Rosie’s Shire pie

Adapted from Middle-Earth Recipes. Serving size: “4 – 6 hungry little hobbits”

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound whole mushrooms
  • 1 pound ground sausage
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, diced (we used 1 leek)
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/4 Cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 Cups chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp. thyme
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sage (we subbed with 2 bay leaves)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 pie crust (if not using cornmeal crust)

Directions:

  1. Clean mushrooms and cut into quarters. 
  2. Crumble the sausage & place in a large, deep pan.  Cook over medium heat. 
  3. Add onions, garlic, then celery and carrot, and cook about 5 minutes. 
  4. Add mushrooms and cook 5 minutes more until vegetables are tender. 
  5. Stir in flour and cook a couple of minutes, still stirring. 
  6. Add wine and half of the stock, stirring and working out any lumps.  Add remaining stock and bring to a boil. 
  7. Turn heat to low, add herbs, salt and pepper and cook 10 minutes. 
  8. Pour into deep pie dish or 8×8 baking dish and set aside.
  9. Place pie dough over top of filling in pie dish. Bake pie at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or so, until crust is lightly browned and filling is bubbly.

Cornmeal Crust (makes enough for two pies)
1 3/4 Cups flour, 3/4 C. yellow cornmeal, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 pound cold butter, 1/4 Cup shortening, 1/3 – 1/4 Cup ice water. Mix flour, cornmeal, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter. Add shortening and continue to work dough until texture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle water over dough and knead with hands. Refrigerate dough 30 minutes to 24 hours (can also be frozen). Roll dough on a floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness.

I am not a baker, so I usually prefer to buy pre-made pie crust. “Along with a green salad and warm bread, this pie feeds a family of 4 – 6 hungry little hobbits.” We currently have a crop of fresh marjoram, rosemary, thyme — so a sprinkling of those we added to the stew because we didn’t have a bottle of dry white. Substitutions are fun.

~Jessica

Mom’s baked chicken

Adapted from somewhere…

Ingredients:

  • 6 chicken drumsticks, skin-on
  • garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt
  • 1/4 stick of butter
  • a twig of fresh thyme (if dried thyme, about 1/2 teaspoon)

Directions:

  1. Put 10″ cast iron pan into oven @ 450 degrees F.
  2. Mix garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt in a small bowl. Taste.
  3. Cover 6 chicken drumsticks with this spice mix.
  4. Take cast iron pan out of oven (leave oven on!) and put hot cast iron pan on the stovetop.
  5. Melt the 1/4 stick of butter (no need to light the stove because the pan is still extremely hot).
  6. Put a twig of fresh thyme (I use dried thyme, about 1/2 teaspoon that’s enough to cover the pan).
  7. Add the chicken into pan, coat the chicken with this butter-thyme sauce.
  8. Put the pan back into the hot oven, bake it for 15 minutes (no need to cover them), take the pan out and flip the chickens, then back into the oven for another 10-15 minutes.
  9. Take it out of oven and let it cool in the pan for 5 minutes or so.
  10. Plate the chicken, then pour the pan sauce over and serve.

You won’t believe how juicy it is, and very tasty. I used smoked paprika because that is all I have. It’s really good, people who tried my chicken later on asked me for the recipe.  Good luck!

~Kailing

Chicken stew

Adapted from Recipe Tin Eats

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5 kg / 3 lbs bone in, skin on chicken thighs and drumsticks (6 to 8 pieces)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 onions, halved and cut into wedges
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 large carrots, cut thick end into 1.5cm / 3/5″ pieces, thin end 2.5cm/1″
  • 4 celery stalks, cut into 2cm / 4/5″ chunks
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) white wine (or water)
  • 3 tbsp (35g) flour
  • 3 cups (750 ml) chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 sprigs thyme, or 1 tsp dried thyme (or other herb)
  • 2 bay leaves (dried or fresh)
  • 600 g / 1.2 lbs baby potatoes, halved (quarter large ones)
  • Warm crusty bread (homemade garlic bread!!)
  • OPTIONAL: Fresh thyme or parsley (chopped)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Heat oil in a large pot over high heat. Brown chicken on both sides until light golden, sprinkling with salt and pepper. Remove from pot. (Do in 2 batches if pot not big enough).
  3. If there’s too much oil in the pot, discard some. Add onion and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes until onion is translucent.
  4. Add carrots and celery, cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add wine. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to dissolve the brown bits into the liquid. Cook for 1 minute until liquid is mostly gone.
  6. Sprinkle flour across surface, stir.
  7. Add broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, thyme and bay leaves. Stir to dissolve tomato paste.
  8. Place chicken on top, keeping the skin above the liquid level as much as you can.
  9. Bring to simmer then cover. Bake for 45 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven, remove lid. Add potatoes, pushing them into the liquid and rearranging chicken so they sit on top (for lovely crispy skin).
  11. Return to oven without the lid for a further 40 minutes until the chicken skin is deep golden and super crispy, the potatoes are soft and the sauce is thickened.
  12. Taste sauce and adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  13. Serve with warm crusty bread on the side to dunk in the sauce – or go all the way with Garlic Bread! Optional: garnish with extra fresh thyme leaves or parsley.

Ingredients for Garlic Bread:

  • 1 French stick / baguette , ~ 60cm / 2ft long (I use half a loaf of Whole Foods peasant bread)
  • 125 g / 1 US stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tsp fresh garlic , minced (~3 – 4 cloves, pack the teaspoon)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp finely chopped parsley (optional)

Directions for Garlic Bread:

  1. Preheat oven. I left it at the same temperature as the chicken stew.
  2. Cut the French stick in half. Then cut the bread almost all the way through into 2cm / 4/5″ thick slices.
  3. Mix together the butter, garlic, salt and parsley. Taste to see if it’s salty / garlicky enough for your taste.
  4. Smear garlic butter over cut side of bread.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes until the crust is crispy (check through foil).

I wanted a Dutch oven for a long time, and my sister Jennifer recommended the affordable Lodge cast iron 6 quart. She also recommended this chef’s blog! This came out super tasty — and every reheated leftover tasted better and better. HIGHLY recommend. Perfect for cold winter’s days to heat up your whole apartment.

~ Jessie

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

Purée of spring vegetable soup

Adapted from Lisa KleypasDevil’s Daughter

Ingredients:

  • 2 small zucchinis
  • 2 small summer squash
  • 2 carrots (I had not)
  • 1 red / yellow bell pepper (green was cheaper)
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cups (chicken) broth
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 14 oz. can of white beans, rinsed and drained
  • pinch (tsp.) of salt
  • pinch of ground black pepper
  • pinch of thyme
  • pinch of oregano
  • ½ cup of heavy cream (or half and half)

Directions:

  1. Chop vegetables into ½ inch pieces, to cook evenly.
  2. Melt the butter in large pot, on medium-high. Add the garlic, onions, then vegetables. Sauté 10-15 minutes.
  3. Add broth, tomato paste, beans, seasonings, and herbs. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes until tender.
  4. Blend with a hand immersion blender (I have not, so I did it in batches).
  5. Add the cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve with buttered croutons, or a grilled cheese.

I had not carrots, but not a big enough pot anyhow. I had 3 on-the-vine tomatoes, so I used that instead of the tomato paste. I ran out of thyme! One of my favorite herbs! I think this is my favorite in the Ravenels series, but this recipe was extra sumptuous, and I had just collected the ingredients for ratatouille, thinking to make a pan satué version (baking is so hot in my apartment, and I haven’t a real baking dish in fact). I loved the description in the book where this dish was served. Can you imagine a 12 course meal? Now if I only had the makings for a grilled cheese…

~Jessie

British macaroni cheese

Adapted from Great British Chefs and British Food History

Ingredients:

  • 30 g plain flour 
  • 30 g butter 
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 400 ml hot full-fat milk 
  • 6g of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 200-250 g macaroni 
  • 1 slice stale bread 
  • ½ tsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves, or ¼ tsp fried rosemary (optional) 
  • 225 g Stilton cheese, grated 
  • 200 g Gruyere or Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 30g of Parmesan
  • Pinch of Cayenne pepper or 20g of Dijon mustard
  • Salt and freshly-milled black pepper
  • 15 basil leaves

Directions:

  1. Start by cooking some pasta of your choice in a pan of boiling water. Once cooked, strain the pasta and set aside
  2. Place 50 mL milk into a pan over a low-medium heat and add the thyme and bay. Bring up to a warm heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, place a separate pan over a low heat and add the 4 tbsp. butter and 4 cloves of garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes then add the flour. Heat for for 2-3 minutes and stir constantly so the mixture comes together. –> Béchamel sauce
  4. Strain the milk, thyme and bay mixture so that you are just left with the infused milk. Gradually (over 5 minutes) add the infused milk to the other pan and stir with a wooden spoon. Bring to a simmer
  5. Take the pan off the heat and season with salt and pepper. Add the cheese, mustard, basil and pasta to the pan and then pour the contents of the pan into a casserole dish. Cover with some extra cheese and place in the oven at 180°C for 20 minutes (I prefer stovetop because I haven’t a baking dish currently).
  6. Remove the dish from the oven, divide the macaroni cheese into 4 portions and serve immediately.

My grandmother gave me a box of instant mac and cheese from her senior citizen community center (before the pandemic lockdown). Of course I didn’t want to eat that stuff straight, so I thought I would try to dress it up with some caramelized onions, garlic, herbs, and whatever else I might find in the pantry.

~Jessica

Eggs with mushrooms and spinach

Adapted from Damn Delicious and Food & Wine

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced (I had white button)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • a handful of chopped parsley
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry, but I used some rice wine

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of butter until shimmering. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper flakes. Cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring a few times, until softened, 4 minutes.
  2. Add the onion then garlic, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and the mushrooms are browned, 3 minutes longer. Add the sherry and spinach, and cook until almost evaporated, 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat, cover and set aside.
  3. In a large, nonstick skillet, melt the butter over moderate heat. Crack the eggs one at a time into a ramekin and then slip into the skillet. Cook the eggs, sunny-side up, until the whites are firm and the yolks runny, about 5 minutes.
  4. Spoon the mushroom mixture onto the toasts and top with the fried eggs. Garnish with the parsley and serve.

I was craving a change of pace for dinner, and what could be better than breakfast dinner? If you like breads, Four 1/2-inch-thick slices of rustic white bread are another way to go.

~Jessica

Garlic parmesan roasted sweet potatoes

Adapted from The Cooking Jar and Together as Family

Ingredients:

  • 2 sweet potatoes peeled and sliced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter melted
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • Fresh thyme

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Peel and cut sweet potatoes into thin slices.
  2. Place garlic, oil, butter, salt, Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning in a bowl and mix well. Throw in sweet potatoes and toss until well coated.
  3. Lightly butter a baking dish and arrange coated sweet potatoes into a spiral. Sprinkle with a little parmesan if you like.
  4. Bake for 18-22 minutes. Serve the garlic parmesan roasted sweet potatoes warm and sprinkle with thyme if desired.

Jennifer picked out a recipe she wanted to use 3 sweet potatoes she had on hand, for a dinner we were invited to. These definitely needed to be cooked longer, or cut thinner. My bad! Next time I’ll do slices, which bake deliciously and look fancy as heck. Also, plastic is evil — avoid at all costs.

~Jessie

Butter-basted bison ribeye steak with with crispy potatoes and roasted garlic

IMG_20180506_184215.jpg

Adapted from Serious Eats and Food & Wine and Red Cedar Bison Ranch

Ingredients:
8 oz. boneless bison ribeye
fresh parsley, chopped
rosemary and thyme, chopped
salt & fresh cracked pepper, to taste
unsalted butter
olive oil
clove of garlic
3 red potatoes

Directions:

  1. Remove meat from freezer, defrost for 30+ minutes. Meanwhile, place potatoes in a medium pot, cover with water, season with salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook until tender, about 8-10 minutes total. Drain and set aside.
  2. Finely chop thyme and rosemary. Cut cooled potatoes into quarters.
  3. Preheat your cast iron or non-stick pan on high heat. Coat with a thin layer of oil. Salt and pepper the meat liberally, then place in the pan just as the oil starts to smoke. Let it sear on the high heat for about 4 minutes. Do not move the meat!
  4. Turn steak once using tongs to flip. Continue cooking on medium-high heat for about another 3 minutes for a perfect medium steak, 2 minutes for rare.
  5. Add 3 tablespoons butter, garlic, whole rosemary sprigs, and whole thyme sprigs to the skillet and continue to cook, flipping steak occasionally, and basting any light spots with foaming butter. To baste, tilt pan slightly so that butter collects by the pan’s handle. Use a spoon to pick up butter and pour it over steak.
  6. Let meat rest 15 minutes before slicing. Return skillet to medium-high heat and add remaining butter. When foaming subsides, add potatoes, cut-side down. Cook, shaking pan occasionally, until potatoes are deep golden brown and crisp, about 8 minutes. Add chopped rosemary and thyme, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat potatoes. Cook, tossing and stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  7. Transfer potatoes to a serving platter with a slotted spoon, leaving excess fat behind. Increase heat to high until leftover fat is smoking. Pour over resting steak. Discard garlic, rosemary, and thyme sprigs. Place steak on serving platter and serve immediately, garnished with fresh parsley.

The last of my precious upstate NY bison acquisition from my much-deserved Spring Break in Montreal. I overcooked the last bison steak, so this one had to be medium-rare for sure. If I had time and space, I would definitely roast a head of garlic in foil for 1 hour on 350 deg F. They’re utterly delightful — I still remember my first time at the tapas restaurant in Ithaca, Just a Taste.

~Jessica