Golden Poppies our State Wildflower

Sunday, February 21, 2016

CHICKEN POT PIE...The best of old Pioneer/farmhouse cooking..... info and photos

This is one dish that is best made with butter, fresh chicken pieces with skin and bones, and lots of fresh milk & vegetables.

It was Traditionally made with  boiling chickens and full cream milk.
It is very common for American Farmhouse cooking to include milk (which they had from their livestock, rather than stock which should entail killing more of their livestock)..milk or cream is used to make gravy for sausages and for Hotcakes/Biscuits for The traditional Biscuits and gravy breakfasts.

To serve 8 portions:
use 4 chicken legs and 4 chicken breasts, on bone and with skin (skin holds all the flavors)

Cook the  chicken legs first in a little water with onions, celery, sage, carrot and salt and pepper.
When the legs are cooked remove them and allow them to cool to remove the meat, discard the skin and bones.
Gently poach the chicken breasts in the leg stock, until they are just cooked, remove with a slotted spoon.
Allow the stock and chicken to cool.
Remove the meat from the cooked breasts ( discarding the skin and bones) and set aside.
Chill overnight both the cooked chicken meat and the stock.
Next day, remove the fat from the surface of the chicken stock (this can be used for cooking in the same manner as lard, store in fridge in sealed jar).
Bring the stock to a simmer and add 2-3 cups whole milk  (I use almond milk).

Meanwhile melt 2 tbsp butter in a heavy bottomed skillet and saute
 2-3 cups carrots in bite sized pieces
1 cup celery in bite sized pieces
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups sliced mushrooms

Add 3tbsp all purpose flour and cook to a blond roux.
Add the hot milk/stock gradually stirring to make a thin sauce, (this will thicken as it cooks down).
Add 1/2 cup mined bell pepper (optional)
2 tsp dried sage
2-3 dried bay leaves
salt & pepper 
cook on low simmer for 20 mins, stirring occasionally

Add 3 cups bite sized  waxy potatoes (I used whole fingerling), simmer covered for 25- 35 mins or until the potatoes are cooked through.

With a slotted spoon remove the vegetables from the pan, into a medium sized bowl and continue to simmer the milk/stock, until it coats the back of a spoon, then remove from heat, check seasoning and cool down.

Add 1 cup defrosted frozen peas to the cooked vegetables and all the chicken meat cut into bite sized pieces.
Add 1/2 cup minced parsley (optional) 
Pour over the cooled down cooking liquor.
Pace in containers and cool completely, cover tightly then leave overnight in fridge for flavors to bloom.

Next day place the cooked pie filling (there will be less liquid visible as the chicken & vegetables will have soaked some of it) into greased/buttered pie dishes (I used four 8x3x2inch dishes)


 and top with pastry, milk or egg wash, pierce with tines of a fork, ( I LIKE TO ADD DRIED THYME TO THE TOP OF MY SAVORY PIES, for another level of flavor, this is optional) and bake in 375f oven for 30-45 mins until golden brown.

This is a wonderful comfort dish and made this way, it cannot be beaten.

Serve warm or at room temp. and as it contains all the potatoes and vegetables it is a ONE POT MEAL.

Variations: add whatever vegetables you have on hand; You may add white wine or dry sherry; instead of a pastry cover try mashed yams or mashed potatoes; you may finish the sauce off with single cream, but this is before baking takes place.

Sunday, February 7, 2016


Hot and sour soup made with  chicken stock, using the bones & skin, from the removal of the breasts for the chicken & lettuce wraps and the thigh meat for this soup and the eggplant dish. Traditionally Chinese chicken stock uses chicken feet for a more gelatinous stock..finished with swirled beaten egg.

The chopped dark meat chicken for the eggplant dish, rather than saute the eggplant in oil I am poaching it in the chicken stock and sherry cooking liquor. Lots of cracked pepper, garlic and fresh ginger here.

Szechwan style spicy chicken and eggplant

Above and below large eggplant pieces in sea salt to remove any bitterness

Red bell pepper and carrot soup

Chinese style chicken stock, ginger, garlic and cilantro with chicken bones and skin, will simmer for 1 hour, do not break the bones as this clouds any stock.

5 spice powder, garlic, fresh ginger, mushrooms, chicken stock, dry sherry and hoisin sauce..chicken for the Romaine lettuce cups..topped with fresh cilantro
Tomorrow is the beginning of Year of the Monkey, and this menu celebrates it in a grand style..always when cooking Asian food, use the freshest ingredients and cook quickly..also it is best and safe to trim a whole chicken yourself rather than buying pre-ground or chopped chicken..this way you get the bones fresh for the stock. To finely chop chicken, and no mince it, remove  from the bones and remove any fat and sinew/skin cut into bite sized pieces then pulse in a food processor until the pieces are smaller but not minced. This way it cooks "clean" and you cannot mistake fresh chicken in any dish.

I have added red bell peppers to some dishes as red is the Chinese color of good fortune and it represents FIRE which burns away negativity..sensible really.

Happy New Year

Chinatown, Los Angeles this weekend

Thursday, February 4, 2016

CHICKEN PAPRIKASH RECIPE..flavorful without any SPICY heat

Here is a great recipe that may be made with skinless chicken pieces, or all legs and thighs or a 3 pound bird (cut into portions and skin removed to cut the fat).
Serves 4-6
Perfect recipe for mid week or a fancy dinner party.

This is a one pot, make on the stove recipe.

1x 3-4 pound young chicken cut into portions, make 4 pieces out of the breasts, leave the bones in. (allow 1 drumstick & thigh per person or 1 breast cut in 2 per person if using pre-cut chicken pieces)
2 tbsp butter or margarine (do not use oil as it makes the sauce too thin) 
2 cups chopped onion
3 cloves garlic smashed and minced
2 tbsp smoked paprika ( may use regular sweet paprika, but smoked gives a better flavor..tastes fire cooked)
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup canned chopped tomatoes in juice
1 cup chicken/vegetable stock or water
1 cup dairy sour cream or plain yogurt
1 tbsp minced fresh parsley
1 pound  wide (egg) noodles


 in a deep large skillet/wok/Dutch oven (lidded casserole)..heat the  butter and add the chopped onions and garlic and sweat slowly top with a lid.
Add the paprika and flour and cook for about a minute, stirring well.
Add the seasoning and the canned tomatoes, & stock and mix well especially on the bottom of the pan to prevent burning.
Add the skinless chicken pieces, and cover them with the sauce.
Cover tightly and simmer for 30 mins.
Turn the pieces, and stir well, then simmer for a further 15 mins., no lid.
Cook the noodles following label instructions, and drain ..place on a warm serving dish/platter.
Gently remove the chicken pieces with a slotted spoon onto the noodles, keep warm.
Check the sauce for seasoning.
Stir in the sour cream and parsley. Pour half the sauce over the chicken and serve the remainder in a sauce boat.
Sprinkle with ground paprika and serve .

Traditionally chicken livers are also used, these (1/2 cup) may be added when the chicken pieces are turned after 30 mins..

 You may add some white wine, chopped mushrooms, fresh young spinach or kale 15 mins before serving.