It's flu season and everyone I know is sick, but we still wanted to have some fun so we threw together this party on a whim and it has a bit of a "get well" theme with fresh fruits, tea and comfort foods like mini chicken pot pies.
Mini pot pies:
Start with chicken:
You can do this the day before and it's very easy.
Add chicken to large stock pot, cover with water and add about 3-5 tbsp salt and one squeeze of lemon juice. You could add garlic, onion, celery but let's keep it easy and simple.
Place pot on heat on low (chicken can stand for 30 minutes to reach close to room temp) and then heat it starting on low until it's medium low but no higher so it can poach gently. Will take about 2 hours.
When chicken is done (it should be cooked all the way through) remove from stock.
At this point you can reduce the stock by boiling with lid off (not on high, just mediumish and it will reduce (keep in mind it will be pretty salty if reduced too much.
Cool the stock down and store in the fridge.
Remove meat from bones and chop, place in a container in fridge.
When ready to make pot pies start with the pastry:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup cold butter, cut in small cubes
1/4-1/2 cup ice cold water
1/2 tbsp white vinegar (or lemon juice)
Add salt to flour, add butter and use hands to blend using thumb against fingers to press the butter and flour together until it's a "crumb" like consistency.
Mix water with vinegar or lemon juice and add to the dough 1/4 of a cup first and if you need more add more, up to 1/2 cup.
Bring dough together and flatten into 2 flat round disks (for easy rolling)
Wrap in plastic wrap and set in fridge.
1 cup celery
1 1/2 cup carrots, diced or sliced into rounds if using tiny carrots
1 medium onion
Brown veggies in 2 tbsp olive oil and add chicken stock. Cook until tender.
Strain veggies and set aside. Set aside stock as well for cream sauce (below)
Peel 3-4 small potatoes or 2 medium potatoes and chop into tiny cubes. Add to a small saucepan of salted water and boil until tender. Strain, cool and set aside.
Prepare a small plate or frozen peas.
At this point remove pie dough from fridge if it is solid so that it can soften on the counter for rolling.
For cream sauce:
Add equal parts butter and flour to a pan (I use about 1/4 lb which is 1/2 cup butter) and then about 1/3 cup flour and mix well on medium heat. Add 3/4 cup heavy cream of milk (or half of each, depends on how rich you like it)
Add stock and boiling water from kettle, about 2 cups or more.
Stir/whisk on medium high heat until mixture thickens like an alfredo sauce consistency.
Remove from the pot and set aside (covered with a cling wrap right up onto the surface so that it does not develope a skin)
Roll out pie dough until it's about 1/3 inch thick and using a glass or round cutter cut enough circles to fit and number of individual oven safe ramikins.
Preheat oven to 400 F
To assemble pot pies layer with chopped chicken, carrot/celery/veggie mix, steamed potatoes and a sprinkling of peas in each.
Ladel about 2 tbsp of cream sauce over each. Cover with layer of dough and brush with egg (1 egg cracked and whisked)
Set all the ramikins on a tray (line tray with foil incase they bubble over)
Bake for about 20-30 minutes or until dough on top is cooked and broil if needed to achieve a nice golden crust (stay close to the oven when broiling as this process goes very quick, one minute it looks white and the next it can go straight to BURN)
Enjoy hot or warm.
Blooming garlic bread (from the"midnight" buffet which we always seem to have after a long fun day)
1 large sourdough bread or Italian style bread (a nice crusty bread is best)
Slice into it creating a "checker" pattern using a serrated bread knife. Do not cut all the way through, just stop once you feel you're getting close to the bottom.
Now either you can make a raw garlic butter or a cooked one: I made it raw (meaning it's just grated garlic and room temp butter slathered in between the cuts.
For a cooked version just sautee your garlic in the butter until it smells like the garlic bread we all love and then drizzle this mixture in between the cuts in the bread.
Salt your butter slightly either way.
For additional goodness I added small pieces of brie cheese in between so they melt into gooey deliciousness.
Get a large piece of parchment and crinkle it up into a ball, now wet it under the faucet and shake it out so it's not dripping.
Wrap your bread in the parchment and bake on 400. When the parchment is dry and the bread is crisp on the outside with soft melted cheese on the inside then it's ready. About 15 minutes or so.
You can sprinkle with chopped chives and enjoy pulling the pieces of bread apart with your guests!