Yesterday, I had 3 kids sleeping and hadn’t gotten to the grocery store. I looked at the contents of my fridge, and this is what I found:
A 5 day old rotisserie chicken,3 packages of mushrooms intended for another purpose, and heavy cream. What to do?
First, I made a stock out of said rotisserie chicken which also used up my veggie drawer carrots and celery.
1 chicken carcass
1 Onion, cut in half
2 Carrots, cut in half
2 celery stalks (or use the center with the leaves, has flavor)
4-6 cloves of garlic
1 t. peppercorns
1/2 T. salt
4-6 c. water (fill until it covers chicken)
a bouquet garni (a bundle of herbs) that included parsley, rosemary, and thyme…
Then I put it on high until it came to a boil. (Julia Child says to skim the the surface 2 or 3 times at this stage, there is sometimes a foamy matter that rises up.)
Once it comes to just a boil, lower the heat to simmer, (Julia again comes to mind, since she says leave the heat low enough so that a few bubbles surface every so often. She is so specific! And that is exactly what happens when my burner is on its lowest option.) Cover half the pot, simmer for 2 hours, taste to season with more salt. Let cool, strain, store in fridge for 3-4 days or store in freezer. Once you do this a few times, you don’t need a recipe and you can use up whatever you have: leeks, scallions, sage, parsnips, turnips. They all flavor stock beautifully.
After I made stock, I assessed the freezer. My tendency to stuff my freezer with possible meal options pays off yet again. I made Chicken Pot Pie with some frozen veggies (mostly peas, carrots & corn), frozen all natural chicken breasts, and frozen puff pastry shells. If you haven’t heard of these before, they are fantastic: http://www.puffpastry.com/products.
I like this product because unlike puff pastry, which needs time to thaw, this can go strait from freezer to oven and in 30 min you have a little bowl your kids love. For a chicken pot pie recipe, I like Ina Gartens which can work substituting puff shell pastry for her recipe below. As for the mushrooms in my fridge, check out the stuffed mushroom appetizer recipe that follows:
Chicken Pot Pie
(From Ina Garten)
Prep Time:30 min
Cook Time:55 min
Serves:4 individual pot pies
- 3 whole (6 split) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 5 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 2 chicken bouillon cubes
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 2 cups yellow onions, chopped (2 onions)
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups medium-diced carrots, blanched for 2 minutes
- 1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas (2 cups)
- 1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions
- 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
If you want to make your own pastry, Ina offers this recipe:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
- 1/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
- 1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water
- 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
- Flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet and rub them with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cooked through. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove the meat from the bones and discard the skin. Cut the chicken into large dice. You will have 4 to 6 cups of cubed chicken.
In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the bouillon cubes in the stock. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and heavy cream. Add the cubed chicken, carrots, peas, onions and parsley. Mix well.
For the pastry, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the shortening and butter and mix quickly with your fingers until each piece is coated with flour. Pulse 10 times, or until the fat is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water; process only enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together. Dump the dough out onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Divide the filling equally among 4 ovenproof bowls. Divide the dough into quarters and roll each piece into an 8-inch circle. Brush the outside edges of each bowl with the egg wash, then place the dough on top. Trim the circle to 1/2-inch larger than the top of the bowl. Crimp the dough to fold over the side, pressing it to make it stick. Brush the dough with egg wash and make 3 slits in the top. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.
The Mushrooms? Why stuffed mushrooms for a Thanksgiving Appetizer, of course. So easy and SO good.
1/2 c. Italian Bread Crumbs
1/2 c. Parmesan or Pecorino Romano Cheese
2 T. Olive Oil
Add any additional ingredients you like: capers, sauteed meat & onions, fennel, mint, rosemary etc.
Stuff 12-24 mushroom caps such as cremini or button mushrooms with 1 tsp- 1Tbsp of stuffing. Bake on a
greased baking sheet for 20 min. at 400 degrees.