Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Being chicken

Happily enough, the Ariel Anglo community is experiencing a baby boom with 2 babies born within a week and at least another 3 due over the summer (and then of course I'm awaiting the arrival of my first grandchild).

One of the things the community provides are meals for the new parents and siblings (and whatever visitors they may have). The community also helps with meals on less happy occasions such as hospital stays (my family and I have been the recipient of several meals and invitations out during my many hospital stays over the past 2 years) and we also provide meals for a family in mourning. It's all voluntary and of course you do what you can afford.

Many times several families will split a meal; one or two will make side dishes while another makes a main dish. And it's about the main dish I want to discuss.

Making a whole roasted chicken looks nice, but isn't practical when you're dealing with more than 4 adults (and by adult, I mean anyone older than 13). So the trick is taking one chicken and having enough to put on several plates.

My favorite lately has been chicken pot pie. And since I use frozen veggies and frozen pastry dough which I thaw first, it's REALLY simple and pretty quick.

I take a whole chicken, skin on and poach it in about 3 or 4 cups of water. I have this steaming thing that expands (looks just like this but without the center pole ) which I place the chicken on, so it doesn't sit in water.

Once the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the pot and set aside to cool. Take out the steamer and then add a 700 gram bag of frozen veggies (my favorite mix are carrots, green beans, corn, potatoes, and peas), diced onion, and whatever other veggies you might want (zucchini are always good) to the pot with the concentrated chicken stock. Let it simmer. Add salt and black pepper.

Then shred the chicken and add to the pot.

Now comes the tricky part. You want to thicken the whole thing up so you need to start adding flour a bit at a time. First add bout 1/3 of a cup and give it a good stir. Let it simmer for a bit and if it's not thick enough, slowly add more flour. You don't want to add more than another 1/4 cup.

Roll out your dough and place in your pans. You can use loaf pans, or really any size pans (the recipe makes enough for 2 generously filled 10 inch by 6 inch pans). I've even made individual sized in muffin pans as appetizers and once when I sent food over to a family of 9 after the lady of the house had a baby. I don't bother placing a layer of dough on top, but any dough that's hanging over the side is folded over the top instead.

Then pop into the oven and bake until the dough is a golden brown. The advantage of all this is the filling is entirely cooked through so you don't have to worry about raw chicken and burned dough.

They freeze well, although if you plan on freezing, I would recommend to NOT cook them first and make sure you label them as such. I didn't and much to my embarrassment on a Shabbat lunch with 15 guests, I was suddenly 6 appetizers short. Thankfully I was forgiven.

1 comment:

Batya said...

great idea
I've used mallawah or batzek allim to cover all sorts of things including leftovers. The dish looks so fancy and gets raves.