Say Hello To My New Little Pans

These are 1/6th sized hotel pans and they are approx. 2-1/2 inches deep x 5-1/2 inches x 6 inches.  Also called steam table pans because they are what you will see food served in when at a buffet.I’m using a sheet of puff pastry cut into quarters for crusts on these individual sized chicken pot pies.  Each sheet was brushed both sides with an egg wash.  Doing the undersides is a trick Alton Brown touts to help keep the pastry crusts from picking up too much liquid and staying doughy.Bake in a 400 degree oven until the crust brown to suit.  I looked at these after 12 minutes, turned them 180, and gave them 8 more minutes or so.The butter trick worked well enough.  Next time I may do these like I did the pan biscuits, cook the crusts by themselves and place them on the filling later.  Speaking of pan biscuit crusts, I had some extra filling so I made a small batch of that and did one more pot pie:The small batch of dough was:  1/2 cup flour, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/3 cup of buttermilk, and 1 Tbsp of melted butter.  Mix the dry ingredients in a small bowl and stir in the buttermilk to just combine and pour the loose dough into a small pan over the melted butter.  Press flat and bake in a 450 oven.  My little biscuit didn’t take long, maybe 20 minutes.

Biscuit Crust Pot Pie

Well, it’s a semi-sorta biscuit crust pot pie.  Biscuit crust pot pies are a thing, but whenever I’ve made them (usually with store bought pop biscuit dough) the tops of the biscuits browned nicely but the bottoms were always nearly raw.  This fixes that.  I found a nice pan biscuit recipe [here] that looked really good.Lacking any buttermilk, I went the ersatz route with a tablespoon of white vinegar in regular whole milk.  I wasn’t sure that the butter in the pan bottom would incorporate well but it worked fine.My pan was 10×12 inches rather than the 8×8.  I figured that for what I was doing there wouldn’t be any problem with a tad thinner biscuit.  It did finish quicker, mine took 15 minutes at 425.I wish I had thought to use parchment paper in the bottom.  I made a few half-hearted tries at winkling the whole thing out but ended up taking it out in pieces……and placing them atop the chicken and veggie filling that had been cooking on a different shelf in an identical pan.  I gave the top a brushing of melted butter and popped it back into the oven for a bit.The pan biscuits were really good, I do think that for this application the recipe should have been reduced by a third, or the amount of filling increased.

Nom Nom Nom

We had another beer butt roasted chicken the other day.  I’ve been limiting the seasonings on the raw bird to just a generous sprinkle of granulated garlic.  I wanted to make gravy and if you go overboard on salt the gravy will suffer.  Delicious!  Steamed broccoli and home fries rounded out the meal.  It was a big chicken so there was plenty left for……pot pie!  I made rather a hash out of the the crust.  Rookie mistake – I used a same sized pan to cut the rolled dough to size instead of laying it out over the fillings and trimming.  Plus I wasn’t sure whether to tuck the crust inside or make a lip to cover the edge.  “Plan ahead and work to the plan!” – Yeah, now you tell me!

I ate my mistake.  It was good.

Pie Pr0n

DSC_2008(1600x1200)I had a couple of pre-made pie crusts I bought on a whim.  We went with a beef filling that included carrots, onions, potatoes, and mushrooms.  The beef was from an all day simmer in the crockpot, the mushrooms, onions, and celery were sauteed in olive oil, and the potatoes and carrots were both boiled until tender before being combined with Bisto gravy made with the water the veggies were boiled in.20160801_122645(1600x1200)I like an egg wash on these savory pies, and a good sprinkle of kosher salt.  I baked this deep dish pie for what seemed like hours in a 350 oven and the crust just would not brown for me until I placed it into my toaster oven set to broil.  I gave it a good brushing with butter before it went under.DSC_2010(1600x1200)


DSC_9607 (1600x1060)We tried not to go overboard for the Xmas Day menu where we end up with tons of leftovers.  I think we did pretty well.  I did the turkey breasts in duck fat, just like the leg quarters we did here.  Alas, there’s no way to make modern day turkey breasts taste better than “just OK” but at least these weren’t dry.  The stuff just above the cranberry sauce was a new side for us – corn pudding.DSC_9598 (1600x1060)There are scores of recipes for this dish online, I didn’t follow any particular one.  Mine has bacon, onions, and chopped bell peppers along with whole and creamed corn.  I used Parmesan in it but most any cheese should work – cream cheese was often mentioned.  Jiffy cornbread mix is a popular ingredient but I just used my usual yellow corn meal.  DSC_9599 (1600x1060)St Francis got in a Maine Coon-ish kitty the other day from a fellow that is active in the rescue business but is having health issues and can’t keep up his regular pace.  He brought this boy in the other day with three other cats that the shelter had agreed to take off his hands.DSC01477 (1600x1060)Maine Coons are reputed to be most excellent pets and can grow pretty big.  The mane should grow quite long.  This fellow has just been neutered and is still woozy from the anesthetic.DSC_9611 (1600x1060)I’m sure turkey noodle soup was pretty commonly on the table for many this week.  It’s a good way to use up that leftover turkey.  I dropped a couple of eggs into the simmering soup to let them poach.  Worked great!  I did spoon some hot broth over the tops to help them along.DSC_9615 (1600x1060)Another way to use up that turkey!  I bought some canned biscuit dough on a whim the other day and one can didn’t have enough to cover.  I think if I do this again that I’ll par bake the biscuits separately before topping the filling so that the bottoms aren’t quite so doughy.  I took these off, flipped them over on a tray, and slid them under the broiler for a spell.  That went a long way to repair the initial error.DSC01442 (1600x1200)Here’s another shelter kitty.  Staff have named him George, he’s been with them for 5 or 6 months.  Adult cats don’t place as quickly as kittens.  Mrs J says he’s a good one, friendly and playful with the other cats.DSC_9581 (1600x1060)I’ll wrap this with a cheeseburger –  pickle, onion, mustard.  I jazzed the mustard with minced peppers and onion to where it’s more of a relish than plain mustard.  Sometimes all you want is a basic burger and fries.

Mmm… mini pot pie

turkey pot pieWe bought a frozen turkey while at the grocery store the other day, they were on sale post holiday and the low prices made them hard to pass up.  I roasted it yesterday, and then Mrs J demolished the carcass for the meat but not before I carved out half the breast for these pies.DSC_4438 [1600x1200]Mrs J swore off ready made crusts after making those pumpkin/sweet potato pies the other day.  This time she went with the Smitten Kitchen recipe.  She has used it before and we liked the results.  The SK recipe calling for vodka in lieu of water works great, too.  Alton Brown used apple jack in a similar recipe that he used for an apple pie.

The filling for these mini pies was simple enough:  Make a roux then add milk to make the classic white sauce.  The peas and corn were from frozen and I just stirred them in with the diced turkey meat, the fresh carrots needed a few minutes at a boil first.  I also stirred into the mixture a little turkey broth that was left from the last turkey we cooked at Thanksgiving.  Seasonings were minimal, just some salt and white pepper, the broth added a hint of tarragon.