Early Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tomorrow is the big day! I'm nowhere near emotionally ready, and I've been packing, unpacking, repacking like a madwoman. My room isn't a pretty sight.

Since I am a stickler to certain traditions, I wanted to have a Thanksgiving dinner before I left. I've only been away from home once during Thanksgiving, and that was when I was in England. My friend Kate and I walked all of downtown Manchester in search of turkey, and the closest we found was a roast dinner with "stuffing" (the English type is mealy in comparison to ours) and some sort of currant chutney. While 5ive's "When The Lights Go Out" played on a television screen in the corner. Yay America.

Anyway, I was perusing the internet a couple weeks back and stumbled across this recipe. I don't exactly view Kathie Lee or Hoda as the most distinguishing tastebuds on television, but I like leeks and I like chicken pot pie, so I decided I'd make a one-stop shop Thanksgiving meal in pie form.

A very delicious dish and I would make it again. Gathering the ingredients was the most difficult part, which means the process was easy.

In addition to this, we had cornbread stuffing, baked sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce (jelly), gravy and Martinelli's sparkling apple cider.

Recipe follows ...

Curtis Stone's Chicken and leek pie 
(4 servings)

3 whole chicken legs with thighs attached
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely diced
1 leek, cut in half lengthwise, then cut into 1/2-inch strips
1 tablespoon coarse-grained (Pommery) mustard
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 17.3-ounce package frozen puff pastry (1 sheet), thawed
1 large egg
Sesame seeds, for garnish

- Shred the chicken meat into large chunks and place the chicken in a bowl. You should have about 12 ounces of chicken meat.
- Discard the sinew, bones and skin.

- Melt the butter in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the onion and leek and sauté for 5 minutes, or just until tender. Stir in the mustard ,then the flour, and cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Slowly whisk in the chicken broth, 3/4 cup of milk, the cream, and the reserved pan drippings.
- Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the sauce thickens.
- Stir in the shredded chicken and tarragon and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Chill until cool.

To assemble pie:
- Preheat the oven to 375° F.
- Spoon the chicken mixture into a 1 1/2-quart baking dish.
- Roll out the sheet of puff pastry into an 11-inch square.
- Drape the puff pastry over the pie and press it against the rim of the dish to seal. Cut slits into the pastry to allow steam to escape.
- Mix the egg and remaining 1 tablespoon of milk in a small bowl to blend. Brush some of the egg mixture over the pie and garnish with sesame seeds.
- Set the pie on a heavy baking sheet and bake for 50 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown.
- Set aside for 30 minutes to cool slightly.

I followed Curtis' recipe pretty closely, but instead of fresh tarragon, I used dried, and I threw two leeks in rather than just one. I found the end result to be a bit sweet, so I added some salt and fresh cracked black pepper. The black pepper made a real difference to the dish, gave it that extra zing it needed.

Happy Early Thanksgiving!

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