Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Crumble Pot Pie

Back in my early 20's, before I knew how to cook, I used to love chicken pot pie. You know, those little mini frozen guys in a box.  I thought they were the best.  Now that I've cut way down on the amount of processed foods I eat, they are way too salty for me.

So I just don't eat them anymore.

Now, I guess I could make them from scratch, but I'm not the biggest fan of making pie crusts.  While I can make them, I'd really rather not.  I'm not sure why I don't like making pie crusts.  It's not like they are any more work than making a loaf of bread from scratch.  My best guess is that it involves a rolling pin.

My rolling pin and I aren't the bestest of friends.  Things always turn out uneven, or they stick to the rolling pin, or whatever I'm rolling out tears beyond repair.  It ain't fun times.

That's why this chicken crumble pot pie from Cooking Classy caught my eye.  There isn't any crust, but a biscuit like crumble topping.  That sounded exactly my speed.

 I changed the recipe around a bit so it would fit in a 9x13 pan.  I wanted to have enough for two meals. 

As I was assembling this dish, I realized that I used to make something similar to this from a box back when I was a newlywed.  It had canned chicken and a scant few veggies.  This version kicks the prepackaged box stuff's bum.  It kicks it so hard it runs squealing home like a wee little pig.

I was slightly concerned that biscuit topping might taste gross as leftovers.  Fortunately, that was not a problem.  When I reheated the leftovers in the microwave, the topping did get soft and mushy.  Surprisingly, that was NOT a bad thing.  The whole dish tasted like a very thick, non-soupy version of chicken and dumplings.

Of course, this was because I did NOT read the directions correctly.

See you are supposed to drop the biscuit topping on a cookie sheet to crisp it up first.  I didn't do that.  I just put it right on top of the casserole and baked it until it turned light brown.

I'm here to tell you that if you do this, your dinner will still be awesome.  So awesome that your family will cheer when you tell them they're having this for leftovers.  Mine did!  Blockette even did a little happy dance as well.

I've plans to make this again with leftover turkey from Thanksgiving. I did a bit of research and the recipe on Cooking Classy is adapted from Cooks Illustrated.  They make you subscribe to their site to get their recipe's but I did find the same recipe HERE. That recipe has 1 package of mushrooms, 1 tsp tomato paste and 1 tsp soy sauce. I think I'll try those additions next time, along with following the instructions for the crust.

Here's the dish as I made it:
Crumble Pot Pie adapted from Cooking Classy
4 small chicken breasts (or two mega large ones- about 3 cups shredded)
2 c chicken or turkey stock (enough to cover the chicken in the crockpot)

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 c peeled and diced carrots (about 2 large carrots)

1 c diced celery (about 3 stalks)

1 c finely diced yellow onion (about 2 small onions)

1 c frozen peas

1 c frozen corn
(sliced mushrooms)
(1 t soy sauce)
(1 t tomato paste)
3 T butter

1/3 c flour

3/4 c milk
  (next time I'll use 1 c)
1 t lemon juice
(next time I'll use 2t)
1 1/2 t dried parsley
(or 3T fresh)
1/4 t dried thyme
(or 1/2 t fresh)

For the crumble:

2 1/4 c flour

2 t baking powder

3/4 t salt

heaping 1/4 t  pepper

3/4 t garlic powder

heaping 1/8 t cayenne

6 T butter, cold and diced into small cubes

1/2 c. finely shredded Parmesan cheese

generous 1c evaporated milk (You ca
n use cream or milk if desired)

Place chicken and broth to cover in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 5 - 6 hrs til chicken  cooked through. Remove chicken from slow cooker, shred and set aside. Strain broth from slow cooker through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl and reserve broth (if you don't have a fine mesh strainer just try to remove the pieces of fat). 

To prepare crumble: Preheat oven to 450 F. In a mixing bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, garlic powder and optional cayenne pepper. Using fingers, cut butter into mixture until resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in Parmesan . Pour in cream and mix just til combine. Break and drop mixture into 1 - 2" pieces onto a Silpat lined baking dish. Bake in 10 min until golden. set aside.

To prepare filling: 
Heat oil over medium high. Add diced carrots, onion and celery. Saute vegetables, stirring occasionally until lightly golden and tender, about 5 - 6 minutes. Pour vegetables into a bowl and set aside. (Here's where you'd cook the mushrooms for 5 min, then add soy and tomato paste, cooking until all liquid evaporates.  Then remove mushrooms to a bowl with remaining veggies.) Reduce heat to medium, melt butter in saucepan (I like to brown it a bit for and extra layer of flavor), then add in flour and cook, stirring constantly for about 20 seconds (it will be very thick). While stirring, slowly add in milk followed by reserved chicken broth, lemon juice, parsley, thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring mixture just to a boil,  then slightly reduce heat and allow to cook about 1 minute longer until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove sauce from heat and add chicken,  sauteed vegetables, frozen peas and corn. Toss to evenly coat. Pour mixture into 9x13 dish that's been sprayed with pam.  Top with baked crumble topping.  Bake at 400F til golden, 12 - 14 min. Serve warm.

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