Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Wolfgang Puck's Chicken Pot Pie
My favorite Wolfgang Puck recipe has always been his butternut squash soup. Actually, there are three butternut squash soup recipes I've found on the internet that are attributed to him. The one I crave is the one they serve in the Wolfgang Puck restaurants in airports. I think I've now found a Wolfgang Puck recipe that's equally good. This was published in the Indianapolis Star. I clipped it and it wound up in a big pile of recipes to try (no surprise there, eh?) Finally, I sorted through the recipes and identified the top 20 to try. This was one of them. I was particularly entranced by the pastry crust - chives and cheddar cheese.
I escaped the office really late and quite frankly shouldn't have come home and tried to cook. It wasn't a pleasant day and I was stressed to the max. Suffice to say that one person's greed is negatively impacting my life and I don't appreciate it. My emails piled up all day as did my to-do list. I had trouble focusing on my work at the office and got home and didn't want to cook. I just wanted to curl up in a chair and read something fun. But, I'd bought a rotisserie chicken and didn't want to waste it. So, into the kitchen I went. As I started prepping, I managed to cut my finger on the tip of the knife I was using to cut the butter. But, then, magic happened. I started to relax. Making the pastry crust brought back wonderful memories of Mom teaching me to make pie crust. Of using my grandmother's crockery bowls. Just the rhythm of stirring the sauce calmed me. By the time I put dinner on the table at 9:50 pm, I felt pretty good. Pretty darned tired, but good.
So, what did we think? This was probably the best chicken pot pie I've ever made. Not the best I've ever had but the best I've made. It's pretty time consuming to prepare but is worth the time. The calorie count is undoubtedly off the charts so this is something that I'd make every few years. I made it in a deeper casserole dish so I could cut the pastry in half. The recipe below reflects the original measurements for the pastry.
Wolfgang Puck's Classic Chicken Pot Pie
for the pastry:
2 c flour
2 T snipped fresh chives
6 oz. unsalted butter
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
2 large egg yolks
6 T heavy cream
for the chicken and vegetables:
2 T unsalted butter
1 T vegetable oil
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1" cubes
2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2" slices
1 large stalk celery cut into 1/2" slices
1/2 lb cremini or shitake mushrooms, sliced
1 10 oz pkg pearl onions, thawed
3/4 c frozen petit peas
for the sauce:
6 T unsalted butter
1/4 c flour
1 1/2 c chicken broth
1/2 c heavy cream
1 t minced fresh thyme
salt and pepper
1 egg yolk beaten with water
for the pastry: Pour the flour into a medium sized bowl. Add the chives.
Cut the butter in small pieces then cut it in until it is the size of small peas. You basically pinch off little pieces and incorporate the flour while doing so. Don't overwork it or the pastry will be tough.
Add the cheddar and mix well.
Whisk the eggs yolks with 5T of the cream.
Pour that in and mix well. If the dough comes together well, you don't need the balance of the cream. If it doesn't, add the cream a bit at a time. Wrap the pastry in plastic and refrigerate it until you need it.
for the chicken and vegetables: If you're using rotisserie chicken, cut it into 1" cubes and set it aside. You won't need 1 T of the butter and the vegetable oil. If you're using uncooked chicken breasts, cut them into 1" cubes and saute them in 1T of the butter and the vegetable oil. You don't want to cook these all the way through. Set them aside in a bowl when they're lightly browned. When I made this, I followed the instructions and found the carrots to be slightly undercooked, so I would recommend a minute in the microwave or a couple of minutes in some rolling water. Then, saute the carrots, celery
and mushrooms in 1 T of the butter.
Be sure to use only the caps if you're using shitakes. The stems are pretty darned tough!
Set those aside in the bowl with the chicken and add the onions and peas to the mix.
for the sauce: Melt the butter in the skillet you used to saute the vegetables. Whisk in the flour. Allow it to cook, stirring constantly, for about two minutes. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and the thyme.
Once the mixture is thickened, slowly add the cream.
Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Combine the sauce with the chicken and vegetables.
Putting it all together: Preheat the oven to 400. Roll the pastry crust out into an 11" diameter disk.
Make sure you do so on a lightly floured surface or it'll stick like crazy. Pour the chicken mixture into a 10" diameter deep pie plate. Cover the chicken mixture with the pastry crust. I took the leftover crust and made a rope and put an edge on the crust.
The original recipe calls for tucking the crust under but I thought it'd look prettier with a trim...
adapted from the Wolfgang Puck via the Indianapolis Star