Yesterday marked my first day back to the gym after the new year. December and January are terrible times to be at the gym after work. Once February rolls around, it's noticeably less crowded, albiet still quite full.
In the spirit of getting back to my treadmill regiment, I'm back on my healthy eating decree as well. I always try to keep fresh veggies and fruits in the fridge, I drink plenty of water, etc. but winter always marks a time where my sodium intake probably triples due to my untainted lust for soup. Speaking of which, my Father decided that he was going to learn to cook the best French Onion soup there is. I respectfully disagreed as I decided that challenging him to a French Onion soup-off would be a good idea and mine will be the obvious winner. After one trial run of this soup, I feel confident that the tweaks I make next time will be all I need. Prepare for the worst, Dad.
So anyway, spring is on it's way in and that means healthy cooking but it's still cold out so it also means comfort food. Today: Chicken Pot Pie.
The beauty of this meal is that you can make it as lean and healthy or as rich and decadent as you'd like. Load it up with vegetables, use reduced sodium stock and substitute heavy cream with half and half or even milk.
You can make a pie crust from scratch or you can purchase a frozen pie crust or puff pastry. I tried the puff pastry which worked well if you're only covering the top. If you want a fully encased pot pie, use the pie crust.
If I can dig it up, I'll post my recipe for an amazing pie crust (the trick is the kind of butter you use).
Frozen pie crust or puff pastry
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast
1 Cup heavy whipping cream
2 Cups chicken stock
1 Cup potatoes, chopped
1 Cup carrots, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 Cup peas
1/3 Cup butter
2/3 Cup all-purpose flour
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Once up to heat, place puff pastry in for 5-10 minutes until it's risen and is golden in color. Remove from oven and let cool until you're ready to assemble.
2. Cook chicken in a skillet or in the oven by coating in oil, salt, and pepper. Once cooked and cooled, cut into bite-size pieces or shred.
3. Melt butter in a large stock pot. Slowly add flour, stirring until it's a thick, rich consistency. Slowly add cream, stirring constantly until you have an even consistency. Add a dash of salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.
4. Add vegetables and let cook until they're at a desirable texture. Add chicken and let simmer for 10 minutes. Season to taste.
5. Pour contents of stockpot into your baking dish and top with the puff pastry and put into the oven for 5-10 minutes.
This makes a fairly large amount of pot pie so it's a great recipe if you're cooking for a family.
Leftovers are best warmed in the oven.