Thursday, March 29, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie Crumble

Source: Adapted from

This is, hands-down, my favorite chicken pot pie iteration we have ever had—and also one of the easiest and healthiest! I changed up the original recipe a little bit; I halved it so that it was more suited to two people rather than a whole family, and I also replaced about half of the called-for chicken with potatoes instead (because I didn't have enough chicken, and as Mahon says—what kind of fool makes chicken pot pie without potatoes, anyway?). I'm including the original proportions of the recipe here, but with my other alterations. Like any chicken pot pie, this really could be done with any veggies you have on hand.

For filling:
3-4 potatoes, peeled and diced
About 1 1/2 chicken breasts, boiled and chopped or shredded (I actually used leftover rotisserie chicken!)
Olive oil for sauteeing
1 cup chopped onion (about half of a large one, or a whole medium one)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 or 4 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks diced celery
3/4 cup frozen peas or corn (or half of each)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 stick butter
1/2 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk

For topping:
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (or chili powder, if you happen to have used all the cayenne on your garden to keep away neighborhood cats... long story!)
6 tablespooons chilled (and sliced) or room temperature butter
3/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese
1 cup heavy cream (you can sub some of this for regular milk)

In a medium saucepan with just enough water to cover the potatoes, boil potatoes until they are almost (but not quite) ready to eat. While potatoes are boiling, prepare other vegetables. Once everything is ready, preheat oven to 400. Sautee all veggies together in a large skillet or medium saucepan with olive oil, about five minutes (or until the veggies are beginning to brown). 

While veggies are cooking, get started on the crumble topping. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne/chili powder in a medium bowl. Cut in butter with pastry cutter or fork. Stir in parmesan cheese. Add cream/milk and stir until just combined.

Once the veggies are done cooking, remove and put into a casserole dish, along with the chicken. In the same large pan you used to sautee the veggies, melt butter. Add flour and stir to combine, then add broth. Stir until everything is smooth. Add milk, salt, and pepper, and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sauce begins to thicken. Stir sauce into casserole dish with veggies and chicken.

Break topping dough apart with your fingers and sprinkle as evenly as possible over top of casserole. Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes, or until topping is browned. Serve immediately. Try not to eat the whole thing.

Honey Hot Chocolate

As with the past few years, I gave up sugar for Lent again this year. {Although going to the hospital sort of killed it for 2 weeks.} I tried something this time that I hadn't tried before—hot chocolate made with honey. I guess I'd always assumed it would have too much of a "honey" flavor... but boy, was I wrong! This stuff. Is. Amazing. In all honesty, I like it better than regular hot chocolate. One day while at the hospital I sat sipping a Starbucks hot chocolate from the lobby and all I could think was, "Hmm, this is good... but not as good as that honey hot chocolate I've been making!"

Because everyone has their own individual tastes, this is a very loose recipe. Feel free to change up the ratios of honey and cocoa to make a sweeter or more bitter hot cocoa. The exact recipe I'm providing tends to make a rich, very dark cocoa; you might want to add in a little more honey to taste if you like yours sweeter. You can also do water instead of milk, but I'll just warn you... it's nowhere near as good!

For one serving 
(you can double this recipe as many times as you like to get a bigger batch):

1 cup milk
1 tablespoon cocoa powder*
1 tablespoon honey*
1/4 tsp vanilla
Other additives as desired

*A note on proportions: The cocoa and honey are really "to taste." I like mine very dark and rich, so I usually use more like 1.5 teaspoons honey and a heaping tablespoon of cocoa. Mahon likes his sweet, so I do a scant tablespoon of cocoa and a tablespoon of honey.

Stovetop: Combine milk, honey, and cocoa in a small saucepan and warm over medium heat. (It's best to mix them with a whisk to make sure the cocoa doesn't clump.) If using raw honey, you'll want to add that to the milk first and let it melt before adding the cocoa. Once the desired temperature is reached, remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Don't boil the milk.

Microwave: In a microwave-safe mug (for one serving) or glass bowl or glass measure (for larger amounts), heat milk and honey together until desired temperature is reached (usually 1-2 minutes). I find it helpful to loosely cover my mug; it sort of "steams" the milk and prevents it from developing a skin. Remove from microwave (if you're using raw honey, make sure the honey is melted and integrated into the milk) and stir in cocoa and vanilla. Because the cocoa tends to clump, I find it is easiest to use a small whisk to combine everything.

You can also add anything else you would like—cinnamon is good (just make sure you add it at the same time as the cocoa so that it doesn't clump in the milk), as is a teaspoon of extra virgin coconut oil (and it's really healthy too!). The sky is the limit!

Oh, and if you're feeling particularly indulgent, add a little drizzle of heavy cream into your cup to cool it down! You will not regret it!