Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tyler Saves The Dish

Good evening everyone! Tonight, Maggie is taking to the kitchen to create this week's first dish. Her recipe, a variant on chicken soup and a vegetable stew - is one of my favorite types of dishes - a little concoction I've dubbed 'leftover stew'. Many families have some variation of this classic dish. Common kitchen items, blended together in one pot and fused into an entirely new dish. Heck, even some famous chefs and high dollar cookbooks included a 'leftover stew' recipe or two in their repertoire. Leftover stew - doesn't have to be leftovers - per say, but rather little bits of extra things you have in your kitchen. Frozen chicken pieces from a previous poultry dish, chicken broth, herbs, bread, frozen veggies - all things you're very likely to have laying around your kitchen at any given moment. Dishes like this are great due to their amazing taste and unbelievably low cost.

I'll turn the computer over to Maggie so she can share her version of this time tested dish.

The Recipe: Cobblestone Chicken Pie
Original Recipe Found In: HyVee Seasonal Handout

What You'll Need: (Serves 6)

5 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Divided
3 Medium Leeks, Cut in Half and Divided
2 Cups Sliced Fresh Mushrooms
1 Cup Sliced Celery
1 Cup Chopped Red Bell Pepper
1/3 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Rosemary
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
1 (14.5) Ounce Can Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth
3/4 Cup Half and Half
3 Cups Diced Cooked Chicken Breast
1/2 Cup of Frozen Peas
2 Tablespoons White Wine
2 Cups Sourdough (or choose your own) Bread Cubes
1/2 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Good evening everyone!  As I sit here and type up the blog, there are so many things running through my head.  There was a point this evening I almost gave up this recipe; throw a two-year-old tantrum and moan and groan.  But towards the end, the smell of the dish was almost too good to be true.  Would it become the sweet smell of success??

Begin by preheating the oven to 400 degrees.  Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Here, we began to diverge from the original recipe.  All those vegetables I mentioned earlier in the ingredients list?  We opted for a cheaper, and more realistic, version.  We grabbed a bag of mixed frozen vegetables.  Not only would this cut down on preparation time, but we would have the veggies we would like. Since cooking is making a dish how you want it - we replaced our listed veggies with a concoction of carrots, green beans, peas and corn.  We kept the leek, just because it's a tasty little morsel and it adds zing to any recipe.  Cook the leeks, mushrooms, celery, and red pepper and bag of mixed veggies and cook until tender, 15 minutes.

The recipe calls for cooked chicken cubes. However, since we had frozen lying around, we opted to use up the frozen chicken and cube it up afterwards. How hard could it be to cook up the chicken? I was about to find out. In a medium skillet, I added olive oil and the three pieces of chicken (one breast, two thighs) and started to cook. With a splatter screen on top, I figured I was safe. Boy was I wrong. Very quickly, everything started to go downhill...

AAAnd here's where I step in to save the day. Maggie bit off a little more than she could chew tonight - due mainly to poor execution. She tried to pan fry the chicken pieces in a small skillet with only a splatter screen to protect her. Unfortunately - things got a little out of control when she added a little too much olive oil to the skillet. In a short matter of time, Maggie was spraying oil across the kitchen in a fiery (painful) eruption of greasy doom. In her attempt to check the temperature on the chicken, she burned her wrist, upper arm and elbow, got smoke in her eyes and came out of the kitchen - close to tears, asking for advice.

Safe...until you remove the screen

I've been down this road before and had since learned that the best way to pan fry chicken is to use our covered skillet (with glass lid). I removed the chicken from the heat (to let the oil die down) and then transfered the chicken into the new skillet. Now covered, I turned things back over to Maggie so she could continue cooking. With instructions to cook on medium heat - I told Maggie it should take about 5 to 8 extra minutes.

All better

5 minutes came. 10 minutes. 15. Finally, I went into the kitchen myself to see why the chicken wasn't done cooking yet. Someone had forgotten one key thing....to turn the burner on. (Chicken doesn't cook on a cold stove!) Needless to say, by this point in time Maggie had just about had it. I stepped in, fried the chicken and moved over to the skillet with vegetables and finished cooking those.

Obviously, you're not going to have a lot of the issues we had tonight. However, we said from day one that we'd share everything with you, dear reader. The good and the grease eruptions of doom. We've been on a great streak lately. It was time for a big boo-boo or two.

Now - back to the recipe as planned.

Once your veggies are cooked (or softened if using mushrooms) add the flour, rosemary and black pepper. Stir everything until completely combined and simmer for one minute. Next, add the chicken broth and half and half. Stir constantly until the mixtures becomes thick and bubbly - this should take about 5 minutes. Finally, add the chicken and wine. Stir until everything is blended and allow to simmer for about 3 minutes.

Next, pour the mixture into a non-greased (2 quart) casserole dish. Top with the bread cubes and parmesan cheese. Place the casserole dish into the oven and cook for about 20 minutes to a half an hour - or until the bread crumbs become golden brown. Allow to cool briefly before serving and enjoy!

The Results:

Despite all of the drama with the dish - the end result was quite good. We ended up with a dish that could be best described as 'chicken pot pie' like. The flavor of the veggies, chicken and broth all created this great, creamy, delicious dish that made all of this extra effort worth while. Worthy of an attempt at home. (So long as you have better luck than Maggie!)

And - for those wondering - Maggie is fine. It's only her cooking ego that is a little bruised.

That's all we have for you this evening! We're back tomorrow night with a brand new recipe that has me eager to get cooking. I'm using a new kitchen tool (a Christmas gift) and cooking with one of my favorite techniques. Add that with the great slice of meat I have selected and you're sure (hopefully anyway) to end up with a great dish. Be sure to stop back tomorrow night to see what I've got cooking. Until then,


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