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Curry Chicken Pot Pie

By popular demand, here is an improvised version of curry chicken pot pie.

The good doctor requested fall food because the outside air temp dropped below boiling. We had a curry in London that resembled super smooth butternut squash soup with chicken bits, and decided that we could make that happen at home. After several attempts we discovered that we were missing some fat source be it cream / butter / ???. We shelved the recipe in favor of a Korma recipe that is always solid only to return to the idea when the weather turned cool(ish). To do this you'll need:

cubed butternut squash
cubed sweet potato
diced carrots
peas
a toe of garlic smashed
a small hand full of raisins
diced chicken parts (we used breasts, though thighs would def. amp up the flavor values)
curry seasoning (make your own if you feel sassy)
nutmeg
a bay leaf
salt and pepper
pie crust (if you make your own then you win) (trader joes is pretty alright, pilsbury is more than alright)
pyrex or similar oven safe bowls (though some consumer groups say that pyrex aint what it used to be... so be careful when dealing with wild temp swings and glass cookware)

The ratios of this are really not hard math, I used a bag of butternut squash cubes from trader joes (because lazy), 4 carrots, two small sweet potatoes from my garden. I roasted half the veg to roast, and half the veg for the sauce. I ended up with thee of the 2 cup pyrex individual pot pies. I used the left over crust to make a flower top for decorative / more pie crust goodness

Method:

I roasted half the sweet potato and butternut squash along with the carrots to add flavor / texture dimension to the final product. I tossed the veg with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and curry powder prior to roasting in a 450 degree oven. I removed the veg when brown / starting to blacken on the edges (about 25 minutes). I dumped a handful plus of frozen peas onto the roasting pan after I removed it from the oven (both arrests the cooking of the veg and thaws the peas). While the veg is roasting I add the remaining butternut squash and sweet potato (you can also add some carrot / parsnips) to a 2 quart sauce pan with just enough water to cover, plus salt and pepper and a dose of curry seasoning, and bring to a roiling boil. Boil this mixture until the veg falls apart, and mash in the pan. At this point the liquid in the pan should be fairly runny. Add the diced chicken parts to the pan with another dose of curry seasoning, the bay leaf, a pinch of nutmeg (my secret weapon...) and the smashed garlic toe. Simmer until the chicken in cooked through and the sauce is thickened to your desired taste. Add the roasted veg + peas + a handful of raisins to the pot and simmer out any additional liquid. As this happens have your oven preheated to 425 (YMMV). Portion out your sauce / chicken / veg mix into your baking dish(s), and cut your pie crusts to hang over the edges. Cut some vents and bake until the crust is golden brown. (an egg wash will help with browning, but isn't necessary for flavors). Basically this is a boiler plate for seasoned chicken pot pie with no dairy. You could use (gasp) tofu, ginger, lemongrass, green thai curry etc etc etc etc as flavor enhancers.

you're welcome.

Skip James – Hard Times Killing Floor Blues

I changed my mind, and decided this fit my mood better. I'm not sure what that means, and really I didn't have a plan for this week, but the blues seems to fit just right. This song has a way of haunting me round and round, so I figured I should share it with y'all.

 

one more cut, not live, but great.

 

4 votes, average: 9.75 out of 104 votes, average: 9.75 out of 104 votes, average: 9.75 out of 104 votes, average: 9.75 out of 104 votes, average: 9.75 out of 104 votes, average: 9.75 out of 104 votes, average: 9.75 out of 104 votes, average: 9.75 out of 104 votes, average: 9.75 out of 104 votes, average: 9.75 out of 10 (4 votes, average: 9.75 out of 10)
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Gumbo for the people

I've long adopted recipes from the region I've lived in, and have adapted the spices and flavors of that region with all the other places I've lived. Dr. Chop taught me how to cook, and taught me how to think about flavors on the fly combining bits of this with bits of that to make delicious dinners (most of the time...). No place has influenced my cooking more than New Orleans. Truth be told I was a bit nervous moving down here as emulsified meats and strange seafood weren't really a thing I considered appetizing. I jumped in with both feet and have been rewarded with some of the most simple yet complex flavors on the planet, and Gumbo is the tie that binds them all together. (Lots of people will tell you that you can't cook a good gumbo unless your grandma's grandma taught you how to do it, and I call bullshit on that. You got this. I believe in you. Just don't stop stirring.)

I've adapted this recipe from Donald Link's Fried Chicken and Gumbo recipe from his book Real Cajun.

1 1/4 C Veg Oil

1 1/2 C Flour

Medium onion diced small

3 celery stalks sliced

1 bell pepper diced small

(optional additional peppers such as a poblano and jalapeno diced (depends on how much heat you want, there'll be plenty spice later on)

1 medium sweet potato peeled and chopped

3 cloves garlic minced

1 tablespoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground white pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

1 1/2 teaspoon filé powder

3 quarts chicken broth brought to a simmer

1 pound (or more...) smoked andouille* sausage sliced into 1/2 inch moons

Half a rotisserie chicken picked but kept in large pieces

optional 3 cups sliced okra ( if you use the okra cook it down in a separate pan before adding it to you gumbo. You'll actually cook the snot out of the veg which leaves a much, much more palatable finished product.)
*The Best Stop is indeed the best stop for cajun meats in south louisiana. Yup, I know thems fighting words, but hey, the wouldn't call it the best stop if it weren't They ship everywhere, and it's worth it. I made gumbo last night with some inferior andouille and it was lacking something je ne sais quoi.

Method

Chop everything first. Once you begin to heat the oil you'll not have time to do anything but stir the flour, so prep ahead. This isn't a fast recipe, and while I do this on school nights all the time it's not recommended for those with kids or a desire to eat before 9 pm. Put the chopped veg into a bowl to be kept by the stove top. Next, measure out the spices into a bowl to be kept handy next to the stove top. Measure out the flour into another bowl to be kept handy next to the stove top. Heat the oil over medium high heat in a cast iron pot or dutch oven, and when a pinch of flour sizzles it's time to get your roux on. Gently, and carefully, add the flour to the pan stirring constantly with a whisk. 2016-11-02-18-39-16

They call roux cajun napalm for a reason, and stirring with a spoon will splash the roux out of the pot and burn the shit out of whatever it lands on. (Roux is a combustible liquid, and will ignite if overheated... no kidding) Using a whisk, continue  to stir the roux over medium to medium high heat, and as the roux begins to color gradually lower the temp. This will increase cooking time slightly, but will allow you far more control and lowers the chance of burning the roux. Stir all portions of the pan as a single bit of stuck flour will burn and foul the whole pot. Depth of color is totally a personal choice, but real cajun cooks say that the finished product should be darker than a moonless night. I have a different approach, I cut the roux off in between milk and dark chocolate as the flour will continue to cook when you add the veg. 2016-11-02-19-04-12

Add the veg and spice mix to the roux, but be careful as a burst of steam will escape. Now switch to a flat bottom spoon to stir. Cook the veg until the onion wilts and the peppers soften. Stir this often as you can still burn the roux. 2016-11-02-19-05-24

Add the heated stock to the pan and bring the whole mess to a boil. Adding cold stock will break the roux, not the end of the world, but a lot more stirring, and you've already stirred enough for one night.

Brown sausage in a separate pan, and add to the gumbo pot.

Simmer for 30-40 minutes and add the chicken pieces. You'll notice a lot of oil coming to the surface. Skim this oil off and discard. Stir occasionally, and put a pot of rice on the stove. When the rice is done the gumbo is done. 2016-11-02-19-53-12

So, I can't flip the photos, but really they're just here for color comparison.