Dreamy Chicken Pot-Pie

IMG_20130930_004159

With winter approaching, my cravings always turn to hot, bubbly dishes. When I think winter, I immediately think pie – more specifically, POT PIE! This is a quintessential American recipe that defines comfort food for me (along with fried chicken and mashed potatoes). When I was testing this recipe, I used Ina Garten’s ever-famous recipe for chicken pot pie – why reinvent something that is already amazing? Although, I have to admit, I prefer my modifications that omit 30% of the butter, small pearl onions, and heavy whipping cream (only to be replaced by a beautiful, tangy yogurt cheese). I also added celery (I love the crunch that it brings!) and replaced the parsley with thyme since I believe the flavors are much better this way.

I cut down cooking time by more than half by using store-bought rotisserie chicken (if you can, buy organic – Whole Foods has beautiful rotisserie chicken – why should you add an hour of cooking time to this recipe to just oven-roast chicken?). I also believe that this pot pie lends itself beautifully to a puff pastry crust. You CAN (if you must) make your own pastry dough, but I prefer spending less time making this beautiful dish and more time EATING it πŸ™‚

I really hope you enjoy this recipe, my loves! You can modify it serve a large group by baking this in a large serving dish that is oven proof and serving it casserole style – whatever your heart desires (see below picture on the look of your pot pie if you do it family-style!). You can also make this vegetarian by using vegetable broth and cutting the chicken out. Or use beef or lamb meat instead for a spin on this – it will always be delicious – I promise!

IMG-20131001-WA0002

Love,
Priyanka

IMG_20130930_004453

Yields: 8-10 servings
Ingredients
3 cups boneless chicken meat from store-bought rotisserie chicken
5 cups chicken stock
2 chicken bouillon cubes (or two teaspoons of powder chicken bouillon)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
2 cups yellow onions, finely diced
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons labneh (strained yogurt cheese that is available at local Middle-Eastern markets). [You can substitute with 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream or sour cream.]
1 cup medium-diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
2 cups frozen peas
1 tablespoon thyme powder
puff pastry, store bought (in the frozen section)
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the bouillon cubes in the stock.

In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter (half of the stick) and saute the onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned.

Once the onions are lightly browned, add the peas, carrots, and celery to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender (approximately 5 minutes). Add chicken broth to the pot and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a separate pot, melt the remaining butter (the remaining 1/2 of the stick). Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for approximately 1-2 minutes until the flour cooks a little.

IMG_20130929_235919

Add all of the hot chicken stock and vegetables to the flour. Continue stirring the mixture over low heat for another minute or so until well-incorporated and thick. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper, and labneh. Add the chicken and thyme. Stir well until well-incorporated. Taste and adjust seasonings according to taste.

Divide the filling equally among ramekins (oven-proof). Brush the outside edge of each ramekin with the egg-wash (acts like glue), and cover each ramekin with a circle of puff-pastry that is a little larger than the opening. Using your fingers, seal the opening with the pastry by crimping the dough to folder over the side. Brush the dough with egg wash and make 3 slits in the top with a sharp knife.

IMG_20130930_002025

Place on a baking sheet and bake for approximately 25 minutes, turning once halfway through, until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.

Serve hot and enjoy! πŸ™‚

IMG_20130930_004917

Braised Eggs with Lamb, Tahini & Mixed Nuts

I love runny eggs, and goodness, do I love my ground lamb. Add some nuts and harissa into it, and it becomes a knock-out combination. I stumbled upon this recipe in a lovely book called ‘Jerusalem‘ by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. This recipe is on the cover of the book, and to be honest, I saw the picture, my mouth started watering, and I bought the book :).

I made a few modifications – preserved lemon is not easy to come by, and I couldn’t imagine this dish without some fresh lemon juice cooked into the meat, as well as pine-nuts! Lamb and pine nuts are such a beautiful combination because they add a subtle crunch to the lamb without overpowering the meat.

This is a gorgeous, one-pot meal with the spice of the harissa, mixed with the crunchy nuts, oozing egg, and delicious sumac and citrus shining through the dish. This makes a perfect meal when paired with a bold glass of red wine (like a cabernet sauvignon) and some great company. Enjoy!!

PS – If you want to pair it with another dish, make a fresh and light cous cous to go with it! πŸ™‚

Love,
Priyanka

Lamb and Egg Pan Shot PK

Lamb and Egg w Wine Glass PK

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
12 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 pound ground lamb
2 teaspoons sumac, plus a little extra for garnish
1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 cup of crushed, toasted, unsalted pistachios
1/4 cup of toasted, unsalted pine nuts (or pignolias)
2 teaspoons harissa
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup organic chicken stock
4 large, organic eggs
Kosher salt, to taste
freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Garnish: sumac, cilantro, parsley

Yogurt Sauce
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1.5 tablespoons tahini paste
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon water

Directions

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a cast-iron pan that you have a tight-fitting lid for (pan 1). Meanwhile, place a second cast-iron pan over high heat for a different use (pan 2).

Step 1: In pan 1 (over medium-high heat with olive oil), sauteΓ© the onion and garlic, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon for 5-6 minutes until lightly browned. Now, turn the heat up to high and add the ground lamb, browning for an additional 5-6 minutes, stirring with your wooden spoon occasionally. Add the lemon juice, sumac, cumin, 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, black pepper, and stir until well-incorporated. Remove the pan from heat and mix in the nuts, harissa. Set aside.

Step 2: While the onion and garlic are cooking, add the cherry tomatoes to pan 2 which has been pre-heated (note: it is too hot if it is smoking!). Char them for 4-6 minutes, turning them ocassionally, until slightly blackened and blistered on the outside. Remove the tomatoes from the pan and set aside.

Step 3: Prepare the yogurt sauce by adding all the sauce ingredients to a bowl, mixing with a fork until well-incorporated. It should be the consistency of thick yogurt – feel free to add a few teaspoons of water until you’ve reached the consistency you desire.

Steps 1, 2 and 3 can be pre-prepared up to one-hour in advance. When ready to serve, add the chicken stock to the pan with the meat, spices, and nuts and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to low. Make 4 wells in the mix and break an egg into each well so that it doesn’t spread and is contained in the well you have created. Cover the pan with the tight-fitting lid and cook over low heat for approximately 3-4 minutes.

Please the charred tomatoes on top of the meat mixture, avoiding the eggs (so you don’t rupture the egg yolks), and cover again, steaming for an additional 5 minutes. (You want the egg whites to be cooked, but the yellow part should be runny).

Remove from heat, dollop with the yogurt sauce as liberally as you want, sprinkle with sumac, and garnish with either freshly chopped cilantro or parsley. Serve hot and serve the extra yogurt sauce alongside since this dish can dry out and needs that moisture.

Enjoy! πŸ™‚

Lamb and Egg Single Serving PK

Healthy Nachos

Have you guys been tempted by the oozy, amazingness of cheesy nachos at a baseball game or your local taqueria? DON’T DO IT!!! There is absolutely no reason to take in that synthetic, re-heated cheese and poison your body with it, when you can make even tastier nachos at home with real cheese! πŸ™‚ This is a no-cook recipe that takes less than a few minutes to assemble and less than 2 minutes in the microwave. A one-plate meal or finger-food, depending on what your craving is. Serve this as a hot appetizer at your next party too!

Enjoy!

Love,
Priyanka

Nachos PK

Ingredients
tortilla chips, of your choice (white corn or yellow)
one can of black beans, drained
finely diced onion
grated cheese of your choice (I prefer using a blend of mozzarella and cheddar, or you can also use a ‘mexican blend’ found at most grocery stores)
sliced green chili
salsa, of your choice (I like to use both salsa verde and a corn salsa!)
sour cream
Optional topping: grilled chicken or rotisserie chicken

Directions

Fill a microwave-safe plate with tortilla chips. Top with black beans, onion, cheese, chili slices (and cooked chicken, if you want). Microwave for approximately 1 minute 30 seconds (depending on your microwave strength) until cheese is perfectly melted. Top with salsas of your choice and drizzle with sour cream. Enjoy hot! πŸ™‚

Cheesy & Creamy Broccoli Soup

This is the quintessential, classic green vegetable soup that we all grew up on in America. Our parents ‘conned’ us into eating green veggies with this soup, but perhaps we conned them into enjoying such a luscious and creamy and cheesy treat! πŸ˜‰ My soup craze continues, and I hope you enjoy this simple yet delicious recipe that you can share with both your young and adult friends!

Love,
Priyanka

Yields approximately 6 servings
Broccoli Soup PK
Ingredients
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cups chicken broth (can use vegetable broth to make it vegetarian!)
6 cups broccoli florets, steamed
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups heavy whipping cream (or milk, for a lighter version)
3/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in medium sized stock pot, and saute onion and celery until tender.

Add broccoli and broth, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Put all the ingredients in a blender (don’t fill the blender pitcher more than halfway full and be sure to hold down the lid of the blender with a folded kitchen towel). Carefully start the blender, pulsing first, then leaving it on the ‘liquefy’ or ‘puree’ setting for about 30 seconds-1 minute (depending on the strength of your blender).

Note: If you do not own a blender, you can use a stick blender and puree the soup right in the cooking pot.

Pour blended soup back into a saucepan, add cheese, and simmer for approximately 10 minutes on low-medium heat. Season with Kosher salt and black pepper, according to taste. And serve hot with a crouton garnish! Enjoy πŸ™‚

Easy Butter Chicken

It’s amusing how when people find out I’m an avid cook and have a food blog, they naturally assume that my blog features Indian recipes (if not 100%, at least a majority of the recipes). And if you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I’m almost doing the opposite! I’ve been sharing mostly non-Indian recipes with a few, fun, and homey Indian recipes here and there. But, when I ask people what their all-time favorite Indian dish is, the majority exclaim ‘BUTTER CHICKEN’!! No kidding, I would probably say the same thing, although you and I both know that butter chicken is not the healthiest of Indian recipes. However, for the occasional time that you want to indulge in some authentic, North-Indian cuisine, this is an amazing, EASY recipe for butter chicken! Don’t remember to pair it with simple basmati rice for an explosion of flavors!

PS – I have previously blogged my recipe for Priyanka’s Butter Chicken, but this one is more authentic (no spinach in this one!) πŸ™‚

Enjoy πŸ™‚

Easy Butter Chicken PK

Yields: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
3/4 cup butter, divided
2 onions, minced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 (approximately 25 ounce) can of tomato sauce (or peeled and diced tomatoes)
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons Kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1.5 teaspoon garam masala
2 tablespoons tandoori masala
1.5 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast or thigh, cut into bite-sized pieces

Directions

Melt a few tablespoons of butter into a saucepan over medium heat (be careful to not burn the butter!). Stir in the onion and garlic, and cook slowly until the onion caramelizes to a dark brown for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Melt the remaining butter, and once melted, add the garam masala, tandoori masala, and cayenne pepper and cook, stirring for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Now, add the tomato sauce, heavy cream, salt. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to lowest setting on your stove; cover, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then, add the cubed chicken into the sauce and continue to simmer for an additional 25 minutes on low heat.

Once you have checked the chicken has been cooked through, garnish with fresh cilantro and serve hot alongside Indian bread and hot basmati rice. Enjoy! πŸ™‚

Avgolemono (Egg-Lemon-Chicken Soup) with Orzo

This is by far my favorite mediterranean soup recipe – if I ever see this on a menu, I order it without blinking. If I am ever craving something rich, creamy, tangy, and yet healthy, this is my go-to recipe in the kitchen. The creaminess of this soup comes from the eggs and flavorful chicken broth. It is a light soup, that is decadent at the same time. It can also be made in under 20 minutes, thanks to store-bought rotisserie chicken that is hard to replicate in your every day kitchen! Why waste 30-40 additional minutes cooking or boiling chicken for this recipe when you can buy gorgeous, roasted chicken meat at your local Costco or grocery market? πŸ™‚

My favorite flavor in this soup is the citrus from the lemon juice – it is gorgeous against the meaty, starchy nature of the chicken and orzo. This is truly a one-pot meal that you can always accessorize with toasted bread and/or crackers to complete it. Perfect for that weeknight family meal, or as an appetizer for your worldly weekend dinner spread!

Enjoy! πŸ™‚

Love,
Priyanka

IMG_20121108_123306

Yields: 6-8 portions
Ingredients
8 cups chicken stock (or to make vegetarian, use vegetable broth)
3/4 cup orzo pasta (optional)
2-3 cups of shredded rotisserie chicken (already cooked) – depending on how ‘meaty’ you like it (can omit to make vegetarian)
5 eggs
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
Kosher salt and white pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons fresh dill

Directions

In a large saucepan, bring stock to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and add orzo. Cook uncovered until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Five minutes before pasta is done, add chicken.

Meanwhile, place eggs in mixing bowl. Whisk eggs while adding lemon juice. Stir in zest. Whisking constantly, slowly pour a ladle of the hot stock into the egg mixture to temper (this is to ensure that your eggs don’t curdle – you have to keep whisking constantly so that the room temperature egg mixture does not cook!).

Reduce heat to very low. Then, while whisking the soup in pan, slowly pour in the egg mixture (continue to whisk constantly!). Soup should thicken slightly. Add salt and pepper to taste, and garnish with parsley or fresh dill. Serve hot!

Roast Halibut with a Spiced Cream Topping

My parents have been vegetarians their entire lives (well, mostly) :). My dad apparently had his ‘meat’ days when he used to eat seafood, hamburgers, and even chicken before he met my strictly vegetarian mother. But, I suppose after over 35 years, it becomes a distant memory and almost hard to believe. Well, as it would so happen, I managed to convince both of them to start eating fish and eggs to help them increase their protein consumption. And this was the SECOND fish dish they had – and they loved it.

I have to admit, it’s not the healthiest preparation of fish, but I won’t lie, steamed fish can get old really quickly. Make things interesting once in a while and add creative vegetables and sauces and excite your family! πŸ™‚

Since this huge change in my parents’ diet, I’ve been trying to make fish for them 2-3 times a week until they get a hang of how to handle and cook fish (I guess Dad really has forgotten!) :). But, I have to say, there is nothing more delightful than making food for your loved ones and have them enjoy it and eat up every little bit of it. There were no leftovers when I made this dish. πŸ™‚

I think of this dish as Asian-inspired slash french πŸ™‚ The asparagus and the cherry tomatoes really put this dish over the top when they blend with the tanginess of the Tabasco and chili sauce and the creaminess of the mayo! *I’m getting hungry just typing this!* πŸ™‚

If your family loves fish, they will LOVE this recipe!! πŸ™‚ Enjoy πŸ™‚

Love,
Priyanka

PS – I beg all of you who have tried ANY of my recipes to send me pictures and any feedback and/or comments!!! πŸ™‚ Would love to feature you on my reviews section.


IMG_20130102_212240

Ingredients

4 filets of halibut (or similar, firm white fish such as cod or sea bass!)
Kosher salt, to taste
freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

1/2 cup mayonnaise (to make it healthier, feel free to use 1/4 cup mayo, 1/4 cup greek yogurt)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of Tabasco sauce (red)
3/4 teaspoon Lee Kum Kee chili garlic sauce(can be found at asian stores) – you can substitute with sriracha or a pinch of chili powder or flakes and minced ginger
1/2 teaspoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 bunch of thin asparagus, approximately 1 inch of the stem trimmed
1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup thinly sliced onions
1 lemon, cut in half (or a teaspoon of lemon juice)

Garnish: 1 tablespoon sesame seeds & 3/4 cup sliced green onions

Directions

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F, and set an oven rack on the center rung.

In a separate bowl, mix the mayonnaise, lemon juice, Tabasco, chili garlic sauce, sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil and onions.

Line a baking sheet (or flat, oven-safe pan) with aluminum foil and spray the aluminum with cooking spray. Now, arrange halibut pieces on the prepared baking sheet (it’s ok if they touch each other!) and season with Kosher salt and pepper to taste. Now, lay the thin asparagus spears and cherry tomatoes over the fish in whichever arrangement you like.

Top the asparagus and fish with the mayo mixture – use spatula if easier to spread.

Bake in the preheated oven until almost opaque, 15 to 20 minutes; remove the baking sheet from the oven.

Raise the oven rack with the baking sheet to the next-highest level and change the oven setting to ‘Broil’. Put the baking sheet back into the oven on the higher rung and cook the fish until the top is browned (oven strengths vary, but you should broil the fish for anywhere from 3-7 minutes). Just watch it! πŸ™‚

Plate each filet, squeezing fresh lemon juice over each piece. Garnish with sesame seeds and green onions.