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Individual Chicken, Fennel, Mushroom Pot Pies, Puff Pastry

Individual Chicken, Fennel, Mushroom Pot Pies, Puff Pastry

Individual Chicken, Fennel, Mushroom Pot Pies, Puff Pastry

It has been many years recollecting a winter as harsh as this along the East Coast.

Well beyond the busied frenzy of supermarkets packed with long lines of customers rolling large metal carts overstuffed with enough food to last a month for a one- day two inch snow storm the constant state of mounding white piles have long turned to ice, and consistently plunging temperatures spiraled to a much worse turn.

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While those in homes situated in my development were fortunate, many thousands throughout our township suffered power shortages to the point of being considered a state of emergency.

At such time the Governor of Pennsylvania even visited the area just one mile from my home where a full eighty-percent of residents were without power for nearly five days in what no longer seemed to be a newly hyped phrase, polar vortex. 

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For those lucky enough to maintain normalcy in their lives, with slight exception of receiving daily early morning recorded calls from the school district that schools were closed yet another day, there was worry coupled with hope that should schools regain power at very least, those children in homes still without power restored would fill the day in warmth, food, and, constructive activity, a not overlooked status when children are posed with too much free time.

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Those homes with power hosted residents seeing to their mild by comparison out of the ordinary days keeping streams of children parading in and out occupied at intermittent points throughout the day, along with many busily preparing what has come to be if not down right old fashioned, consistently hearty meals necessary for warming both the body and spirit.

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Here, always with a weekly chicken simmering in a pot on the stove, using the removed, cooked chicken breasts for individual chicken pot pies seemed a good idea to add a different twist to the menu. Combining some of the more traditional components such as carrots and peas with sliced fennel, leeks, and some sautéed fresh mushrooms from the Farmers Market was a good match, sans the roux, simply with a bit of heavy cream briefly simmered throughout the chicken and vegetables pot.

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Puff Pastry always has a way of making foods seem special, elegant even, and provided an easy lift in spirits just by its appealing presentation of an easy rolled golden crust created simply through a quick glide of a rolling pin and gentle brush strokes of a beaten egg yolk.

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One quick take on a table set with these buttery golden Individual Chicken, Fennel, Mushroom Pot Pies, Puff Pastry was a definite pleaser with my Grandson the J-Dude, who expressed with great joy that this was something he would just dream of having. Dreams coming true are simple for him.

Fortunately, dreams of a normal living reality now give way to those community neighbors adjusting back into the warm comforts of home, a shared table appreciating even life’s most basic simplicity following such severe disruptions from among the harshest of natures elements. 

Now exists the possibilities of preparing steaming hot and nourishing foods filling body and the spirit, maybe even preparing something special like the kind of dish a kid dreams about, Individual Chicken, Fennel, and Mushroom Pot Pies topped with golden crusted Puff Pastry.

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Individual Chicken, Fennel, Mushroom Pot Pies, Puff Pastry

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Category: Poultry

Cuisine: American Homestyle

Servings: 4 servings

Individual Chicken, Fennel, Mushroom Pot Pies, Puff Pastry

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter for greasing individual dishes
  • 2 whole chicken breasts, cooked, cubed
  • 2 small fennel bulbs, sliced, plus 2 tablespoons fennel leaves
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts, sliced into circles, washed well
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into approximate one inch pieces, parboiled for five minutes, then drained
  • 1 cup halved or quartered fresh crimini mushrooms, sauteed in 1-2 tablespoons butter on high heat for three minutes before stirring, then cooked another two minutes, sprinkled with a pinch of salt
  • 1 cup frozen petite peas
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 8 tablespoons chicken stock
  • 3/4 heavy cream, or more, as desired
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten for brushing on top of puff pastry before placing into oven
  • 1 package, 1.1 pounds, Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheets (2 sheets to a package will yield enough for 4 individual pot pies)
  • butter for greasing individual pot pie dishes if using tin pie pans rather than ceramic

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Melt butter into a medium sized cast iron enameled pot
  3. Tumble in the leeks and fennel, cook on low temperature until softened, around ten minutes Drop in parboiled carrots and stir throughout
  4. Stir in chicken cubes
  5. Drizzle in chicken stock
  6. Sprinkle in salt, pepper and chopped fennel leaves Spoon in the fresh sauteed mushrooms
  7. Pour in heavy cream, simmer for five minutes until cream is warmed through, thickened just a bit, remove pot from the heat
  8. Stir through the petite peas, check seasoning, adjust to taste
  9. On a very lightly floured surface, one at a time, roll out each puff pastry sheet enough that when cut in half fits comfortably over the circumference of each individual pot pie bowl
  10. Ladle the creamy chicken mixture into each individual greased bowl, top each bowl with a half of one puff pastry sheet tucking and pleating the edges all around providing a bit of overhang for shrinkage once cooked
  11. Cut a hole into the center top of each puff pastry allowing for the steam to vent
  12. Brush puff pastry tops and sides all around with beaten egg yolk
  13. Set pot pies onto a parchment lined baking sheet Bake individual pies thirty to thirty-five minutes until filling is hot and puff pastry is a deep golden color
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