Comfort food. Sometimes a spoonful of food can work miracles upon the soul.
That's why this week I decided to make these Mini Chicken Pot Pies using the adorable set of ramekins I received for Christmas.
Why do I need comforting?
Well, I'm back to school now, and the quarter doesn't promise to be easy. More than that, though, the long vacation home made it just that much harder to leave. Home in itself isn't that significant, but rather the people there. Mom, that means you.
Not only is comfort food therapeutic to eat, but it is therapeutic to make. The aromatics of sauteing vegetables instantly puts the mind at ease. The gentle stirring of a cream sauce erases anxiety. The rolling out of pie dough smooths out the cracks of a broken heart just as it does for those of the delicate pastry.
Indulge and let go. Be at peace and eat.
Mini Chicken Pot Pies
Yields: 4 small (3-4 inch) ramekins
1/3 yellow onion, diced
1 carrot, sliced
1 celery stalk, sliced
1-2 tsp olive oil
1 Tb butter
1/2 potato, peeled and diced
1 and 3/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup milk
2-3 Tb flour
1 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced
1 and 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup shortening, chilled and cut up
1/3 cup ice water, added by tablespoons
Season chicken breast lightly with salt and pepper. Cook all the way through and until the outside is nicely browned. Dice and set aside.
Saute onion, carrot, and celery in olive oil. Set aside.
Saute diced potato in 1 Tb butter for about five minutes. Add chicken stock to potatoes and cook until potatoes are tender. Stir in milk and add flour by tablespoons until desired thickness is reached. Note: adding all the flour at once will result in a sauce with chunks of flour in it. Stir in spices. Add chicken and peas.
Fill four ramekins with filling mixture.
Preheat oven to 400 deg. F.
Mix flour, salt, and sugar in a bowl. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut shortening into flour mixture until pieces are the size of peas.
Sprinkle ice water over dough 1 tablespoon at a time and toss it lightly with a fork or knife. Move wet pastry to the edges of the bowl, and continue moistening until the majority of flour has been incorporated. Knead mixture lightly into a ball.
Roll out pastry on a lightly floured board or counter until about 1/8" thick. Cut out pastry circles to the desired diameter (about 1/8" larger than the ramekins).
Gently lay pastry across the top of the ramekins and push down on sides to secure pastry to the rim of the dish. Slice an X in the center of the pastry to allow steam to escape while baking. Brush tops with milk.
Bake on a baking sheet for 20 minutes or until golden brown.