Saturday, December 29, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

I like my creamy soups real thick... like a gravy!  Justin, however, prefers his a bit thinner, and that's how we usually make them.  This time around, I decided I was in the mood for a thick-ass soup.  Really, this could simply be used as a chicken pot pie filling if you wanted, because that's pretty much what it is.  Ohhhh... but it was so good!  I think I need to heat up some leftovers while I type this up.

You'll note that I used frozen peas & carrots in the recipe, when everything else is fresh.  I purposefully did this simply because the frozen peas and carrots ALWAYS make me think about pot pies... that 1950s retro thing, I dunno.  I also wanted to be really productive and bake some pie crust to sprinkle on top, but I got lazy (and intoxicated) and went with crumbled crackers instead.   And lastly, it seemed like a pain to write this in the recipe, but it calls for 1 cup + 2 tbsp butter.  Well, I actually used the chicken fat from baking chicken for those last 2 tablespoons instead of butter, to help lend a little extra chicken awesomeness to it.

NOFX's "Mattersville" came to mind as I was thinking of how homey this soup was.  I haven't thought about this song in a little while, it makes me laugh.   -jen

Time:  45 minutes
Difficulty:  Medium
Yields:  About 12 cups
Bonus pic!  Deformed bell pepper with alien pods bursting
open inside of it!
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large orange bell pepper, minced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, minced (about 2 cups)
  • 3 stalks celery, finely diced (about 1 cup)
  • 8 oz package of mushrooms, diced
  • 1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup frozen peas & carrots mixed
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons rubbed sage
  • 1 teaspoon savory (it's an herb, for those of you not familiar - it's optional)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 4 cups chicken broth (homemade preferable for super chicken flavour!)
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
  • Add salt to taste (some broths are saltier than others)
In a large stockpot, melt butter over medium-high heat.  Add bell pepper, onion, celery, mushrooms, garlic, peas & carrots.  Cook until tender (about 10 minutes with that many veggies).  Add thyme, sage, savory, paprika, white pepper, cayenne pepper and lemon juice.  Stir in flour, coating all the veggies, and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes.  (It will be paste-like.)  Add the milk and broth all at once and whisk until the roux (flour/butter paste) is fully broken down and there are no flour lumps.  Continue stirring until the soup just begins to boil, then turn heat to low and add chicken.  Taste soup at this point and add more salt if necessary.  Remove from heat and serve with crumbled crackers on top.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Blackened Chicken Alfredo

So this is an older recipe from five or six years back that we decided to resurrect and revitalize.  My brother, Drew, always raved about this one since it's creamy, cheesy, pasta goodness with some awesomely spiced chicken so this remake is for him.  I used some penne that I had around the house but you could use some fettuccine or whatever you prefer.  Also, the mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes are optional and can be added in quantities to your liking or not at all if that's what you prefer.

For musical accompaniment, The Vandals with Urban Struggle.  Cause it's the Vandals, that's why. - justin

Prep time: 20min
Cook time: 25 min
Difficulty: Medium
Serves: 4-6
  •  Enough water to boil 1 lb of noodles
  • 1lb of noodles
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken cut into 1 inch cubes or thin strips
  • 1 tbs blackened seasoning
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1 cup diced yellow or white onion
  • 1/4 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes 
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup white wine (I used a pino grigio)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup shaved or shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 chopped green onions
Toss the chicken and the blackened seasoning together in a gallon ziplock and set in the fridge.  This can actually be done as early as the day before cooking if you really want to get those flavors in there.

Salt your pasta water generously and bring it to a rolling boil and add your pasta of choice.  Bring it back up to a boil and drop it to a low boil for 10 min, or until al dente.  Drain and set aside.

When you drop the noodles in the water, bring a cast iron pan up to heat over a medium burner and add 2 tbsp of the butter and let it melt.  Add your chicken that had been sitting in the blackened seasoning and let it blacken.  The milk solids in the butter, along with the spices in the seasoning, will turn dark and blacken as the chicken cooks.  Try not to move it around too much before the surface touching the skillet has time to caramelize a bit.  If it doesn't blacken completely, don't fret.  You're going to smother it in alfredo later anyway and it's going to taste awesome so no worries.

When your chicken has cooked, remove and set aside.  Return the pan to the heat and add the mushrooms, onions, and sun-dried tomatoes.  Saute for 3 minutes or until onions become translucent.  Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute more.  Add the wine, lemon juice, and lemon zest and simmer for 5 minutes, using a spatula or wooden spoon to scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the skillet.  Add the chicken that was set aside, the heavy cream, kosher salt, and ground black pepper and bring the heat up till the cream is at a low boil.  Allow it to reduce by 1/3.

After the cream sauce has reduced and thickened, kill the heat, stir in the butter, Parmesan and the pasta.  Mix well and allow the pasta to absorb some of that sauce.  Serve it up with the chopped green onions served on top and with a couple of slices of the sun dried tomato if you like!