Saturday, December 28, 2013

Winter Pie

Mmmmm, look at that creamy, crusty deliciousness!  This is the epitome of comfort food!  When you eat this, you expect to have a fire going in the fireplace, loved ones cuddled up in blankets, and watching your favorite shows on tv as you warm your soul with this winter gloriousness...and that's exactly just what I did!  I had some butternut squash in my fridge and wanted to do something different with it.  As the day went on, and the air got cooler, all of a sudden I had visions of bacon and pie crust dancing in my head, OH MY, and this Winter Pie was created!  There are a few steps to this recipe admittedly, but they are absolutely worth it!  Did I mention this has bacon in it?  Enough said.  Let's move on...

Steam the cut up butternut squash your favorite way possible.  If you like to do it in the steamer, cook for about 10 minutes until fork tender.  I like to throw mine in a microwave safe glass container with a few tablespoons of water and cook for about 4 minutes.  I know I will hear a lecture from my Mother about microwave cooking but I don't do it often...and again, you can always steam the alternate way!  Moving on....
Cut up your bacon slices and cook until bacon is crisp and golden.  I love to cook mine in a cast iron skillet.  When done, remove from pan with a slotted spoon and let drain on a couple of paper towels until ready to add to pie mixture.
Next step is to prepare your Mise En Place...in French that means "putting in place", in New York, you might say, "get your sh*@t together", basically it means to get all your chopping and such together so it is ready when you need it.  For this recipe it means chopping your onion, celery and fennel into bite sized pieces.  At this time you also want to break up or cutup your chicken into bite size pieces.  I like to tear mine with my fingers so it's more rustic looking.
While you are preparing your mise en place, melt the butter in a dutch oven over medium heat.  Once melted, add your cut up vegetables and sauté until translucent and soft.
In the meantime, in a small saucepan, heat over medium heat the chicken stock and chicken bouillon until simmering.
Once the vegetables are translucent, add the thyme, salt and pepper and continue to stir.
Add the flour all at once and stir thoroughly.  Cook for 2 minutes to cook out flour taste.
Continue stirring, vegetables will look pasty... kind of like me before the summer!
After the two minutes, add the simmering stock mixture to your veggie mix and continue stirring.  It's now starting to come together and will continue getting thick.

mmmm, look at this golden elixir....yum!  I could face plant my mouth right into this now...but more is coming...must...practice.....patience!!!!!  
BACON!  Time to add the bacon!!!  This is going to add a smokiness to the pie mixture and a depth that is heavenly!
Next, add your steamed squash and cutup chicken to the pie mixture and continue stirring.
Add your cream and combine thoroughly...practicing control, practicing control.....
this is what it looks like when it is ready to go.....mmmmmmmmmmmmmm
Place 4-6 oven safe ramekins on a cookie sheet and preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Ladle an even amount into each one.  You want to fill them to the top so the pie crust doesn't sink!
Whisk one egg in a small bowl.  Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the outside edge of each ramekin with the egg yolk to act as a glue for the pie crust.
Gently roll the pie crust (I used the already made Pillsbury pie crust for these!) and cut out circles slightly larger than the circumference of your ramekin.  Place the pie crust on the top of your ramekin and press around the edges so it adheres.  Do the same with the remaining ramekins.  Slice two small slits in the middle of each crust about 2 inches in length to allow the steam to escape as it cooks. Add about a tablespoon of cream to your egg yolk mixture and mix.  Using the same pastry brush, gently brush the tops of each pie with the egg/cream mix and then sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper on the tops of each crust.
Bake at 400 for about 30-35 minutes until the pie crust is completely golden.  Take out of the oven and let rest for a few minutes.  Light the fire, grab a glass of wine, tell your sleeping cat to move over and prepare to feast on comfort food epitomized.  This pie has many layers of flavor...the smokiness of the bacon, the creaminess of the stock and cream, the delectable tenderness of the slow cooked winter vegetables, and the flaky goodness of that crust.............dig in!

WINTER PIE RECIPE:
3 cups butternut squash cut up into 2 inch cubes
5 slices applewood bacon, cut up into bite size pieces, cooked and drained
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 small fennel bulbs, chopped
1 medium size onion, chopped
3/4 cup all purpose flour
4 cups chicken stock
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 rotisserie chicken, chicken removed from bone &chopped, shredded or broken into bite size pieces
1 package refrigerated prepared pie crust (or your favorite pie crust recipe)
1 egg, mixed
1 tablespoon cream
pinch salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place 4-6 oven proof ramekins on a cookie sheet and set aside.

Steam the cut up butternut squash your favorite way possible.  If you like to do it in the steamer, cook for about 10 minutes until fork tender.  I like to throw mine in a microwave safe glass container with a few tablespoons of water and cook for about 4 minutes.

Cut up your bacon slices and cook until bacon is crisp and golden.  I love to cook mine in a cast iron skillet.  When done, remove from pan with a slotted spoon and let drain on a couple of paper towels until ready to add to pie mixture.

Chop your onion, celery and fennel into bite sized pieces.  At this time you also want to break up or cutup your chicken into bite size pieces.  I like to tear mine with my fingers so it's more rustic looking.

Melt the butter in a dutch oven over medium heat.  Once melted, add your cut up vegetables and sauté until translucent and soft.

In the meantime, in a small saucepan, heat over medium heat the chicken stock and chicken bouillon until simmering.

Once the vegetables are translucent, add the thyme, salt and pepper and continue to stir.  Add the flour all at once and stir thoroughly.  Cook for 2 minutes to cook out flour taste. 

After the two minutes, add the simmering stock mixture to your veggie mix and continue stirring.  It's now starting to come together and will continue getting thick.   Add the bacon, your steamed squash and cutup chicken to the pie mixture and continue stirring.  Add your cream and combine thoroughly.

Ladle an even amount of the pie mixture into each ramekin.  You want to fill them to the top so the pie crust doesn't sink! 

Whisk one egg in a small bowl.  Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the outside edge of each ramekin with the egg yolk to act as a glue for the pie crust.

Gently roll the pie crust (I used the already made Pillsbury pie crust for these!) and cut out circles slightly larger than the circumference of your ramekin.  Place the pie crust on the top of your ramekin and press around the edges so it adheres.  Do the same with the remaining ramekins.  Slice two small slits in the middle of each crust about 2 inches in length to allow the steam to escape as it cooks. Add about a tablespoon of cream to your egg yolk mixture and mix.  Using the same pastry brush, gently brush the tops of each pie with the egg/cream mix and then sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper on the tops of each crust.

Bake at 400 for about 30-35 minutes until the pie crust is completely golden.  Take out of the oven and let rest for a few minutes. Dig in!!!







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