Friday, November 17, 2017

A Culinary & Cultural Journey to South Florida

A Culinary & Cultural Journey to South Florida
November 17 - December 29, 2017

Scrumpdillyicious will be touring South Florida from mid November through Christmas, on a culinary and cultural journey from Longboat Key, Anna Maria Island Sarasota and Naples, up to St. Petersburg and Tarpon Springs, then over to Miami, capturing all of the seasonal festivities in this little corner of paradise, renowned for it's sugar-sand beaches, fabulous cuisine, stunning Spanish style architecture and thriving arts scene. 

Join me online each day for this Culinary & Cultural Journey that will take us from beautiful Longboat Key and St Armand's Circle to John and Mable Ringling's Circus Museum and Sarasota waterfront palazzo, Ca' d'Zan. We then journey up to St Petersburg, home to the renowned Dali Museum and over to Tarpon Springs, the sponge capital of the world, is also known for its Greek fare and serene beaches. Then south to Venice and Naples, then over to Miami's thriving culinary and art scene, as we explore the diverse culinary influences and regional ingredients of South Florida cuisine. So grab your appetite as we head south for six weeks of culinary and cultural snooping!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Apple Crumble Tart with Salted Caramel Drizzle

A divinely decadent Apple Pecan Crumble Tart drizzled with salted caramel, takes this Autumn classic to new heights of sophistication. Baked in a fluted tart pan with removable bottom, the grooved sides lend flair to this fabulous dessert without added effort.

Apple Crumble Tart with Salted Caramel Drizzle
Serves 8

1 cup all-purpose flour 
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut in 1/8-inch pieces
3 tbsp ice water

Apple Filling:
6 apples such as Delicious, Fuji, Gala or Granny Smith
2 tbsp corn starch
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp white sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 tbsp butter

Crumble Topping:
2/3 Quaker Quick oats
2/3 cup brown sugar
6 tbsp flour
1/2 cup pecans, slightly crushed
1 tbsp cinnamon
4 tbsp melted butter

Salted Caramel Sauce:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
6 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 tsp sea salt

Heat sugar and water in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and stir until the sugar dissolves, but stop stirring when the sugar comes to a boil. Swirl the pan a bit as it boils. When the liquid sugar becomes dark amber in colour, add all of the butter to the pan. Whisk until the butter has melted, then remove the pan from the heat. Add the cream and continue to whisk well to incorporate. Add the sea salt and whisk until caramel sauce is smooth. Let cool in the pan for a couple minutes, then pour into a glass jar and let cool to room temperature; set aside.

Peel, core and slice the apples into eighths and place in a large bowl. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice and mix well to combine, then set aside.

For the pastry, put the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the butter and quickly cut it into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ice water and mix briefly, about 30 seconds, to form a soft dough. Remove the dough, shape into a thick disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Roll the dough to about 13 inches in diameter, then trim to make a 12-inch circle and lay it loosely into a 9 1/2-inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom, letting it relax a bit. Fold the overlap back inside to make a double thickness, then press firmly against the pan so the finished edge is slightly higher than the pan. Refrigerate for an hour before pre-baking. Poke a few holes in the surface of the crust with a fork and bake in a pre-heated 350°F oven for 8-10 minutes. Time may vary depending on the oven, so watch it closely — it should be half-baked with a slight colour difference.

Fill the crust with the apples. Take a few tablespoons of the liquid that has formed at the bottom of the bowl of apples and mix it with the corn starch, then pour the liquid over the apples and dot with 2 tablespoons of butter.

Mix together the crumble topping in a large bowl then pour the melted butter over top and mix until it forms a crumbly consistency. Spread the crumble topping over the apples.

Cover with foil and bake at 400°F for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350°F and bake for an additional 40-45 minutes, testing the apples with a fork after 30 minutes for doneness and remove the foil. Allow the pie to cool slightly and then drizzle with bourbon salted caramel as desired. Serve with lots of pillowy soft whipped cream.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs with Leek Mash

Tender, succulent and meltingly tender, Braised Short Ribs must be one of the ultimate comfort foods. The magic of braising is that it relies on heat, time, and moisture to successfully break down the tough connective tissue and collagens in meat, transforming the dense, well-marbled texture of short ribs until it's fall-off-the-bone tender and creating a rich, velvety and deeply flavoured sauce along the way. From the perfect pot roast to the fragrant complexity of a classic coq au vin, there's really no food more satisfying than a well-braised dish. In this recipe, slowly braising the short ribs in a combination of red wine, beef broth, flour, a bouquet of aromatic herbs and chopped vegetables gives the meat a deep, dark colour and sumptuous flavour, that makes this dish one of the most memorable braises I've ever prepared. Served over a mound of Leek Mashed Potatoes with a puddle of satiny sauce and a bottle of full bodied red wine, this recipe is an absolute winner.

Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs
Serves 4

5 lb bone-in flanken-style beef short ribs, cut into 2" pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp vegetable oil
3 medium onions, chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled, chopped
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 750-ml bottle dry red wine, preferably Cabernet Sauvignon
10 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
8 sprigs thyme
4 sprigs oregano
2 sprigs rosemary
2 fresh or dried bay leaves
1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
4 cups beef stock

Preheat oven to 350°F. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, and working in 2 batches, brown the short ribs on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. When done, transfer the browned short ribs to a plate. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the drippings from the pot.

Add the chopped onions, carrots and celery to the pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the onions are browned, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until well combined and deep red, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in the wine, then add the short ribs with any accumulated juices. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium and simmer until the wine is reduced by half, about 25 minutes. 

Add all of the herbs and the garlic to the pot. Stir in the beef stock and bring to a boil, cover, and transfer to the oven. Cook until the short ribs are tender, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Turn off the oven and let the short ribs rest at least 15-30 minutes in their juices — I left them for 90 minutes — and then transfer the ribs to a foil lined baking sheet to brown in a preheated 275°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, strain the braising liquid into a large bowl, discarding the vegetables and herbs. Return the liquid to the pot and using a handful of paper towel, skim the fat from the sauce as much as possible. Set the pot over medium-high heat and allow the liquid to thicken slightly. Taste for seasoning.

Serve the short ribs over the leak mashed potatoes and garnish with chopped fresh herbs.

Mashed Potatoes with Leeks
Serves 4

6 russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 large leek, washed and trimmed
10 tbsp butter
salt and white pepper
3/4 cup cream

Slice the leek in half lengthwise and rinse in cold water, then slice in half again. Using a chef's knife, finely chop the leeks then sauté with 2 tablespoons of butter on medium high heat until they become soft, about 5-6 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside, allowing them to rest in the residual heat until needed.

Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the potatoes. Cook for 25-30 minutes until they are fork tender, then toss into a colander to drain.

In the same pot, melt 8 tablespoons of butter over medium heat then add the potatoes and mash until smooth. Add the sautéed leeks and stir to combine. Pour in the cream and blend to your desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper, turn the heat to low and cover until ready to serve.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Dorie Greenspan's Fabulous French Apple Cake

This gorgeous recipe by award-winning cookbook writer Dorie Greenspan, is a deceptively simple and delicious Apple Cake from her cookbook, "Around My French Table". Full of entertaining stories, memories, and insider tips on French culinary customs, Greenspan shares dishes she gathered over years of living in France. Inspired by a recipe by her friend Marie-Hélène Brunet-Lhotse, Greenspan watched her in her kitchen, in the hopes of nabbing a recipe by observation, but found it impossible. "Like so many really good cooks, Marie-Hélène starts off with a set of ingredients, but, once she starts mixing, stirring, boiling, baking, or sautéing, she makes so many mid-cooking adjustments that you just have to throw up your hands and content yourself with being the lucky recipient". 

"And so it was with this apple cake, which is more apple than cake, rather plain but very appealing in its simplicity: the chunks of apple make a bumpy, golden top, and so satisfying that we all went back for seconds. Despite knowing that it was futile, I asked for the recipe, and, of course, Marie-Hélène didn't really know" — "It's got two eggs, sugar, flour, and melted butter - oh, and rum," she said. "I mix the eggs and sugar together and then I add some flour, some butter, some flour, and some butter." When asked how much flour and butter, Greenspan got a genuinely apologetic shrug, and when asked what kind of apples she used, the answer was, divers, or different kinds. Thank goodness Greenspan was so tenacious, for she succeeded in transcribing Marie-Hélène's sensational recipe for us all to share for evermore.

Dorie Greenspan

Dorie Greenspan's celebrated cookbook 'Around my French Table'

French Apple Cake
Serves 8
Adapted from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 cups mixed apples, such as Fuji, Golden Delicious, or Gala
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp dark rum
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
3/4 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

Crème Chantilly:
1 cup whipping cream
2 tbsp icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F and adjust the oven rack to the centre of the oven. Using some of the melted butter, brush the inside of a 6 or 8-inch springform pan and place it on a baking sheet.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in small bowl and set aside. Peel and core the apples, then dice them into 1-inch pieces.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk or electric mixer until they are foamy. Add the sugar, rum, vanilla, cardamom, and lemon zest and whisk to blend. Add in half the flour and when it is incorporated, add half the melted butter, followed by the rest of the flour and the remaining butter, mixing gently after each addition so that you have a smooth batter. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the apples, turning the fruit so that it's coated with batter. Scrape the mix into the pan and smooth out the top with the spatula.

Place the cake on a baking sheet and bake for 60-70 minutes for an 8-inch cake or about 2 hours for a 6-inch cake, until the top of the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edge to loosen the cake from the pan and carefully remove the sides of the cake pan, making sure no apples are stuck to it. Carefully remove the bottom of the pan and turn the cake onto a serving dish. Using a whisk or mixer, whip each of the crème chantilly ingredients together until firm peaks are formed. Spoon the cream into a bowl and serve with the cake.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Cauliflower Cheese with Cheddar Béchamel Sauce

Luscious, creamy, cheesy and delicious, there's nothing like a whole cauliflower, smothered and baked in a béchamel sauce, enriched with aged cheddar cheese and a spoonful of english mustard. It's classic comfort food, and as midweek suppers go, Cauliflower Cheese is a thrifty and nutritious triumph. An excellent cheese sauce is unquestionably the most important element of any cauliflower cheese, but when combined with a reliable creamy béchamel, this dish goes from satisfying to sensational, and a dish that can be served as a side dish with a Sunday roast, or a sinfully decadent treat all on its own with a big spoon to scoop up every last bit of lovely cheesy sauce.

Cauliflower Gratin with Cheddar Béchamel Sauce
Serves 2-4

1 head cauliflower, broken into large florets
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp plain flour
1 cup partly skimmed or whole milk, as required
1 tsp English mustard
2 cups grated mature cheddar cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Break the cauliflower into large florets and place in a steamer basket over boiling water for 10-15 minutes until fork tender, then remove from the heated set aside. To make the sauce, melt the butter in a medium saucepan then stir in the flour and cook over a gentle heat for one minute. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually add the milk as required, a little at a time, stirring well with a wooden spoon between each addition. Return the pan to a medium heat and bring the mixture to the boil, stirring constantly. Simmer the roux for two minutes until thick, then remove the from the heat. Stir in the mustard and grated cheese until melted and set aside. Arrange the cauliflower florets heads-up in and ovenproof baking dish. Carefully pour over the béchamel cheese sauce ensuring the cauliflower is completely covered. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden-brown and bubbling.

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair: 95th Anniversary

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is the largest combined indoor agricultural fair and international equestrian competition in the world. The annual event, which takes place over two weeks each November on the grounds of the CNE, was inaugurated in 1922, when a group of farmers led by W. A. Dryden, sought to create a national agricultural exhibition to set national standards for the judging of domestic animals. These days, over 6,000 animals arrive in Toronto every November, including over 4,900 head of cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, rabbits, and fancy birds, and over 900 horses and ponies, plus a display of wheat crops and vegetables, educational exhibits and feature attractions, such as the Burnbrae Food & Lifestyle Stage, which hosts local and international chef challenges, food sampling, and a wide variety of entertaining and decorating demonstrations during the day; the President's Choice Superdogs and Royal Horse Show, a gala event that has been a cornerstone of the fair since its inception 95 years ago. "Since its humble beginnings 95 years ago, The Royal has grown into a beloved Toronto tradition and an arena of excellence for culinary arts, agriculture and equine sport," said Charlie Johnstone, Chief Executive Officer of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. "From top chefs and food producers offering the best in the farm-to-table movement to decorated Olympian equestrians competing for a place on The Royal podium, the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is a celebration and recognition of the best that Canada has to offer the world."

Horse and young rider waiting to enter the practice ring

Two Suffolk lambs posing for the camera — makes me want to become a vegetarian

This lamb gave birth a few days before and the young ones were nestled beside her in the stall

This years award-winning fleece

Shaving a cow before it's presented for competition in the ring

Breeds are represented from all over Canada - coast to coast

A beautiful Holstein having a bite of lunch before appearing in 'Cowsmopolitan'

Waiting to bring their cows into the ring for judging, this young boy reassures his Limousin friend

Exhibiting at the Fair means gruelling 14-hour days as farmers and their animals 
compete for titles, prizes and glory

Giant pumpkins at the Royal Agricultural Fair

38-pound rutabaga

Award-winning multi-fanged carrot

The Cheddar Grand Champion for 2017 — Balderson Extra Old

With a lot of fast food options, The Heritage Court Café is one of the nicer venues 
to enjoy a quiet lunch

A small but good looking menu of soups, salads and sandwiches

Muskoka Brewery Craft Lager made in Bracebridge

The Royal Reuben with smoked meat, melted swiss and champagne sauerkraut 
on marbled rye bread

One of the food events we visited was 'Rediscovering Acadian Food' with Simon Thibault, who researched old family recipes, cookbooks and folk wisdom for his cookbook on best-loved Acadian recipes

Thibault's cookbook celebrating Acadian cuisine

Classic French Canadian Tourtière 
Serves 6
Recipe courtesy of Simon Thibault

1 tbsp butter
1 lb diced pork shoulder
1/4 lb ground or diced veal
3 tbsp chopped onion
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Pinch summer savoury
Pinch thyme
1/2 cup warm water

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup shortening
4 tbsp ice-cold water
1 egg, beaten

In a frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the pork, veal and onion and cook for about 25 minutes, stirring often. Season with salt, pepper, cloves, cinnamon, savoury and thyme, then stir in 1/2 cup of warm water. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Allow the mixture to cool completely – preferably overnight – in the fridge before preparing the dough. Tourtière bakes best when a cold filling is added to the pastry shell. It is your best protection against the dreaded soggy crust. 

Measure the flour into a large bowl, then sift in the salt. Cut room temperature shortening into the flour with a pastry blender until the mixture is uniform and resembles large peas. Blend in cold water and mix with a fork until the dough comes together. Divide the dough in 2 pieces and shape each into a ball. Flatten each into a circle about 4-inches, then wrap and chill for 15 minutes for easier rolling. Roll half the dough on a lightly floured surface and fit into a 9-inch pie plate and spoon in the filling. Roll out the remaining pastry and place over filling. Seal the pastry edges, trim and the flute edges and cut steam vents in upper crust then brush the top with a beaten egg.

Bake in a preheated 450°F oven for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F for 25 minutes until pastry is golden brown. Allow the tourtière to cool slightly, about 30 minutes, before serving with tomato chutney and nice green salad.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Guy's Five-Alarm Chili con Carne with Beef & Sausage

Every year we make our annual batch of Five-Alarm Chili. It's a culinary tradition. A one pot wonder, this recipe makes enough for twelve hungry people, and any leftovers freeze wonderfully well for easy meals during the cold winter months. My husband is the one who actually takes charge of making this robust, full flavoured Five-Alarm Chili, although it can be tweaked for the faint of heart to a three or four-alarm blaze, if necessary. Spanish for 'chilis with meat,' this hearty and delicious Chile con Carne recipe is made with both ground beef and mild Italian sausages, which are sautéed with garlic, cumin, chili powder, mustard, and herbs then simmered with tomato paste, wine, lemon juice, dill, parsley, kidney beans and black olives for about half an hour. Topped with a good dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt, grated cheddar cheese, sliced chives and finished with fresh parsley, this is comfort food with a kick. Served with my friend Charles Kirby's Jalapeno Cheese Cornbread, this dish is comfort food at its very best. 

Guy's Five-Alarm Chili con Carne with Beef & Sausage

Serves 12

1/4 cup olive oil

3/4 lb yellow onions coarsely chopped
1 lb mild Italian sausages, removed from casings
4 lb ground beef
1 12 oz can tomato paste
2 tbsp minced garlic
1/3 cup ground cumin
4 tbsp chili powder
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tbsp dried basil
2 tbsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tbsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
2 28 oz cans Italian plum tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup dry red wine
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 tbsp chopped fresh dill
4 tbsp chopped parsley
2 16 oz cans red kidney beans, drained
2 5 oz cans pitted black olives, drained

Optional Garnishes:

Greek yogurt
cheddar cheese, grated
chives, finely chopped
parsley, finely chopped

Heat the olive oil in a very large pot. Add the onions and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 15 minutes. Add the sausage meat and ground beef, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring until it's well browned. Spoon off as much excess fat as you can and discard. 

Stir in the tomato paste, garlic, cumin, chili powder, mustard, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes, wine, lemon juice, dill, parsley and kidney beans. Stir well and simmer, uncovered, for another 15-20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Just before serving, add the olives and simmer for about 5 minutes more to heat through. 
Serve immediately with a dollop of Greek yogurt, a sprinkle of grated cheddar, some chopped chives and parsley. 

Charles Kirby's Jalapeno Cheese Cornbread
Makes 1 large pan or 12 single serving cornbreads

1 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup creamed corn
2 large eggs, beaten
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup shortening
1 cup sharp cheddar, grated
1/2 cup canned jalapeno peppers, chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F. Put shortening in a skillet and place in the oven until melted. Alternatively, you could use a muffin pan for single servings. Stir the dry ingredients in a bowl. Then stir the wet ingredients together in another bowl, except the jalapenos. Combine the wet and dry ingredients together, adding the jalapenos at the end. Pour the combined mixture into the heated skillet, or muffin pan, and bake 30-40 minutes, until puffed and golden. This is outrageously good and completely addictive. Cheers Charles!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Casarecce with Sausage, Broccoli, Leeks & Cremini

Originally from Sicily, Casarecce is a short pasta which has been loosely rolled like a scroll, quite similar to Arabian 'pasta busiata' that was made with a 'bus' or reed to curl the pasta. Also known as Maccaruna di Casa, busiate are Sicily’s most famous pasta lunga, and are perfect for soaking up sauces. The deft hands of Sicilian women traditionally turned these out with astonishing speed — knobs of dough were formed into ropes and rolled around a ferretto, similar to a knitting needle. Paired with a classic sauce of Italian sausage and broccoli, Casarecce con Broccoli e Salsiccia is a match made in culinary heaven. Simple, hearty and delicious, this sensational pasta is also excellent combined with sautéed leeks, anchovies and mushrooms for a fabulous full flavoured dish, the ideal comfort food for a chilly Autumn evening.

Casarecce with Italian Sausage, Broccoli, Leeks & Cremini Mushrooms
Serves 4

1 lb casarecce pasta
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 lb sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
4 anchovies
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 lb broccoli florets
8 oz cremini mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and sliced
1 small leek, trimmed, cut in half length-wise and finely slice 
1 tbsp finely chopped tarragon
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup freshly grated Pecorino 

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the casarecce and cook according to package instructions. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium high heat. Crumble the sausage and anchovies into the skillet and cook, breaking apart with a spoon, until lightly browned, 5-6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the sausage from the pan and set aside in a small bowl. Add the mushrooms to the same pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook 5 minutes until they start to brown. Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining olive oil, garlic and chopped leeks and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.

Then add the broccoli florets and red pepper flakes, and sauté for 2 minutes, then add the sausage and mushrooms to the pan along with the wine. Cook, stirring frequently, until the broccoli is tender-crisp and the sauce is warmed through, about 5-6 minutes. Stir in the butter until melted and simmer for a few minutes to reduce and concentrate the sauce.

Drain the pasta well and add to the sausage and broccoli mixture, tossing well to blend. Stir in half of the grated cheese taste and chopped tarragon, and adjust the seasoning to taste. Transfer the pasta to a serving platter or individual bowls, sprinkle with a little extra grated cheese, and place the remainder in a small bowl for guests to help themselves.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Chicken Pot Pie with Thyme Puff Pastry

A delicious way to use up leftover roast chicken is to make a hot and comforting Chicken Pot Pie. Taking advantage of store bought puff pastry makes the process even easier. The filling can be prepared in advance with any vegetables you have on hand, but I like to use carrots, celery, shiitake mushrooms, fresh thyme, a handful of green peas and sliced leeks sautéed in butter until tender. A rich thick creamy sauce brings the whole dish together, so it's important to taste for seasoning as you go along, adjusting the flavour to suit your palate. The final flourish is laying a rolled out sheet of thyme-spiked puff pastry on top of the casserole and brushing it with an egg wash, using any extra pastry to decorate the top. Baked for about an hour at 400°F and you have a bubbling homemade chicken pot pie capped with a handsome crown of golden puff pastry.

Chopped carrots, celery, leek and lemon thyme with 2 tablespoons of butter

Sautéed for 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft

Sliced shiitake mushrooms, frozen peas and a cup of Madeira wine are added

The mixture is cooked until the liquid is mostly cooked off

The leftover roasted chicken is torn into bite size pieces and added to the pan

Tossed well to combine, the filling is turned to low while a béchamel sauce is prepared and then poured over the mixture

The chicken pot pie filling is poured into a casserole

Topped with some puff pastry rolled out with sprinkled thyme, 
the edges are tucked in to create a rough border

Brushed with beaten egg, the extra puff pastry trimmings can be used to make decorative details such leaves and berries, on top of the chicken pot pie

Baked at 400°F for a little over an hour until the chicken pot pie is bubbling 
and the puff pastry crust is golden brown

Leftover Chicken Pot Pie
Serves 4

3 tbsp butter, divided

3 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1/4″ pieces
2 stalks celery, chopped into 1/4″ pieces
1 leek, trimmed, cut length-wise and finely sliced
3 new potatoes, cut into 1/4" pieces
1 cup frozen peas
1 tbsp fresh lemon thyme
1/2 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups cooked chicken meat
4 oz shiitake mushrooms, washed and chopped 
1/2 cup Madeira 
2 1/2 cups milk, divided
1/4 cup flour
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed 
1 tsp dried thyme
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large frying pan set over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the chopped carrots, celery, leek, potatoes, thyme, salt and pepper, and sauté until the vegetables are just tender, about 8-10 minutes. Add the chicken, mushrooms, peas and Madeira wine, and continue cooking until the liquid cooks off, then turn the heat to low.

Place a saucepan on medium heat and melt the remaining tablespoon of butter. Add 1 cup of milk plus the flour, and whisk until no lumps remain, then add the remaining milk. Cook for another minute until smooth, then remove from heat and pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables, and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into a 2 quart casserole dish.

Roll out the puff pastry large enough to amply cover the casserole and sprinkle with some dried thyme. Lay the pastry over the casserole, and tuck the overhang but saving any excess pastry to make decorative leaves and berries on top of the casserole. Using a sharp paring knife, cut a few slits into the puff pastry, brush the top with lightly beaten egg and bake, uncovered, for 60-70 minutes, until the dough puffs up and becomes golden brown. Delicious served with a Bibb Lettuce Salad with Fine Herb & Mustard Vinaigrette.

Bibb Lettuce with Fine Herb & Mustard Vinaigrette
Serves 4

2 heads Bibb lettuce 
3 1/2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 
1 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar 
1 tsp Dijon mustard 
Malden salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste 
1 tbsp chopped fresh chives 
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon 
1 tbsp fresh chervil 
1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 

Separate the lettuce leaves. Tear the largest outer leaves in half, leaving the smaller leaves whole. Wash, rinse and dry the lettuce. In a large salad bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper to make a vinaigrette. Add the lettuce, chives, tarragon, chervil and parsley and toss well. Serve immediately.