Thursday, April 30, 2009

Casserole Queen, C'est Moi!

Being so crazed and on-the-go lately, I haven't been able to enjoy one of my favorite pastimes--just chillaxing on the weekend and watching me some Food Network! But I did manage to get a little Throwdown with Bobby Flay going on this past Sunday. And it was a very fun episode with these two crazy gals dressed in 50's "Leave It to Beaver"-wear, calling themselves the Casserole Queens, and delivering homemade casseroles in person to lucky customers in the greater Austin, TX area. These wacky chicks were challenged to a pot pie throwdown, but unfortunately for them, Bobby was victorious with his typically spicy, chipotle-laced filling and sweet potato biscuit crust (yum!). However, the pot pie that the Queens made looked fabulous, too. It was more traditional, but also more elegant than your mama's pot pie. There were French influences with the addition of white wine and tarragon, and of course, the puff pastry crust fancies it up quite a bit, too. It takes a bit of time to get it all assembled, but it only takes about a half hour to bake, and it makes a TON! Yeah for leftovers! THANKS, Casserole Queens!

Before I post the recipe, I will freely admit that I took a few liberties with it. I found the filling a little bland once it all came together, so I increased the tarragon and spices, and added some garlic powder, for which it seemed to be crying out. And I added an extra potato, because I'm crazy like that! Also, I needed more puff pastry than originally called for to cover my casserole (and it's really the crispy, lacquered puff pastry that MAKES this pot pie so special). And I switched the order of preparation around a little bit so that it made more sense. For example, why add the chicken while sauteeing the shallots, and then continue to cook it as the sauce thickens? It's already cooked--you'd just be drying it out. Moreover, I chose not to blanch my peas. They'll cook enough in the oven. (One doesn't wish mushy peas...unless you're making that British delicacy, mushy peas, I suppose.) The next time I make this, I would consider adding some mushrooms, sauteeing them with the shallots. MMM! But here is tonight's inaugural incarnation...

Casserole Queen Pot Pie
(Source: adapted from
Food Network)

1 sheet frozen puff pastry (you'll need 1 1/3 sheets of Pepperidge Farm brand for a 9x13 pan)
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced (my shallots were jumbo-sized!)
1/4 cup chopped red sweet pepper (I used jarred roasted red peppers)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt (I used a vegetable salt blend)
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
pinch of cayenne
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 roasted chicken, bones and skin removed then shredded (save time and use a deli-roasted chicken)
1 1/2 cups green peas
1 1/2 cups sliced carrots, blanched
3 potatoes, peeled, diced, and boiled just until tender
1 egg plus 1 tablespoon milk, for egg wash

Thaw puff pastry according to package directions (40 minutes at room temperature), and preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook five minutes, stirring frequently. Add red pepper. Stir in flour, salt, tarragon, and black pepper. Add milk and cream all at once. Cook and whisk until thickened and bubbly. Stir in wine, chicken, peas, carrots and potatoes. Transfer the chicken mixture to a 9x13 Pyrex dish. Place pastry over the chicken mixture in casserole dish (you'll have to fit one-third of a sheet on the end to cover). Brush puff pastry with egg wash, then cut slits in the pastry to allow steam to escape.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 45 minutes (mine was done at 30 minutes). Let cool and re-thicken for 10 or 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

P.S. Yes, yes...I know that it seems strange to be making such a hearty, rib-sticking casserole as this when it's almost summer for most folks around the country. And though the temperature here inexplicably rose past 90 degrees earlier this week, as of yesterday, I had to close up the windows and turn the heat back on. Even as I type, the wind is howling something fierce, so I guess casserole recipes are still warranted. I'm not sure if this makes me happy or sad--perhaps a bit of both?


Becky said...

Hi! I found your blog from a post on Gardenweb's Harvest Forum about Miner's Relish and Sauerkraut Relish. Nice to see you here. I really like your blog! Anyway, I saw that same Throwdown in March and I also took some liberties with the Casserole Queen's recipe. But wasn't it good?

my version

I plan to try this recipe again using your suggestions. Thanks for sharing them.

Admin said...

i have same this topic..
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