Sunday, March 13, 2011

Practice Makes Perfect (Chicken Pot Pie)

I've been on this year-long journey to create the most perfect chicken pot pie. I'm not a huge fan of the dish, but it's my fiance's favorite and somehow I designed a challenge and am working towards a goal. It started with a handful of recipes and picking apart each piece of the dish to determine how to get the most flavorful end result. And here's the status to date - as well as some great tips I've discovered along the way!
  1. You must use homemade chicken broth and the trick is to add a little white wine to it, which creates this most elegant flavor transporting a comfort food into an dynamic dish.
  2. Use organic free-range chicken - the broth comes out and the chicken tastes fresher. I've tried it both ways and it's one of those ingredients that I now spend more on because the results are far better.
  3. Frozen pearl onions and green petite peas are your friend. There's not need to go through the hassle of peeling all those little onions or blanching peas when someone else has done it for you - relax and have a sip of wine!
  4. Use real carrots (not those baby ones you eat with hummus) and peel them. The baby carrots are a bit watery and don't have a full carrot taste. 
  5. When making the gravy use butter - it's much silkier than olive oil and helps create a richer, thicker sauce. Also, make sure the chicken broth you use is not cold - if it's been in the fridge heat it up. I take this lesson into many recipes. Keep temperatures the same as much as possible (unless otherwsie noted).
  6. Always add a cup of good white wine to your gravy....and a glass for the chef doesn't hurt either.
That's where my recipe discoveries stand to date. I'm still working to perfect an exact recipe so I won't post a full step-by-step until I get there. But I feel like we may have success in the next couple of months - stay tuned!

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