Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mini Chicken-Green Chile Pot Pies

Pot pies are comfort food for many who harbor fond memories of tucking into a store-bought dinner in front of the TV. But they don't have to come from that orange box. Here, a traditional meal gets a modern makeover when chicken meets green chile. And for those who consider portion control paramount? These pies are baked in individual tins. Enjoy as many as you wish. Then consider freezing the rest for a busy night when you'd love to recreate your childhood pot-pie moments with a spicy, flavorful kick.

Mini Chicken-Green Chile Pot Pies
by Julie Kozarsky

3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons flour
3 cups whole milk
1 small potato, diced small (about 3/4 cup)
1 small onion, chopped
1 Tablespoons canola oil
3 green chiles (Hatch, poblano, Anaheim), roasted, peeled, and chopped
1 cup cooked chicken, chopped
1/2 cup corn kernels (fresh or thawed if from frozen)
Your favorite pie dough recipe, enough for a double crust
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin

Special equipment: 12-cup cupcake or muffin pan

First, make b├ęchamel: melt butter over low-medium heat, then stir in flour. Stir constantly for 2-3 minutes, not allowing it to brown. Add milk and whisk until the roux is incorporated. Allow to simmer gently for 30-40 minutes until reduced to about 2 cups.

Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the filling. In a medium saucepan, bring to a boil approximately six cups of salted water. Add diced potato and cook until tender - depending on your dice, maybe five minutes. Add corn kernels for the final minute of cooking. Drain and set aside.

In a small skillet heated to medium-high, add canola oil and then chopped onion. Saute until onion is transparent and beginning to brown. Add onion to cooked potatoes and corn. Then, add the chopped chiles and chicken to the mixture. Stir to distribute.

Somewhere around now, preheat your oven to 350F.

When b├ęchamel is reduced, season with salt, chili powder, and cumin. Add the chicken-veggie mixture and allow flavors to mingle over very low heat while you prepare the crusts.

Roll out pie crusts. Using a round cutter, a small bowl, or glass, cut out circles to fit the space in your muffin tin. Press a dough circle into each hole. Save scraps; roll and cut them into strips or whatever decorative patterns you wish. Ladle filling into each mini-crust. Top pies with strips or shaped dough.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until crusts are golden brown.

NOTE: Due to variation in different cupcake pans, you may end up with excess filling and pie dough. Feel free to use the leftovers to make a casserole: spoon filling into a baking dish of an appropriate size, then top with filling scraps and bake with the mini-pies. Alternatively, just make a standard 9-inch pie. It's less finicky, but not as cute.

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