Friday, December 30, 2011

Grain Free Chicken Pot Pie (GAPS, Paleo, Dairy Free)

Welcome to what might be your very first 'Virtual Progressive Dinner'. The wonderful and talented bloggers from Paleo Parents and Multiply Delicious, were gracious enough to ask me to join them in planning a New Years Eve Menu! I'm starting off with the main course (because I'm backwards that way). Then we'll move on to the scrumptious appetizer by Heather from Multiply Delicious and finish off with a tempting dessert by Stacy from Paleo Parents. Yes, I may be a bit unconventional, but at least I still saved the dessert for last. Are you ready then? Cause here we go...

I can't really think of a more classic, All-American dish than the 'Pot Pie'. It's warm, savory, and the perfect thing to keep you toasty on a cold winter's day. It also happens to be the perfect New Year's Day meal. With all of that leftover turkey, ham, beef roast, or whatever it is that you had on Christmas day, you can make a rocking good 'pot pie'.  And fret not, all you vegetarian friends out there; you are not forgotten! I've cooked up the all vegetable version of this recipe many a time and it. is. SMASHING!  

When I set out to create my own Pot Pie recipe I started with the one little secret that will make just about any savory dish work every time! That secret is...'MIREPOIX'; otherwise know as the wondrous trifecta of carrots, onions and celery. Often used as the main flavor base in french cooking, a mirepoix virtually guarantees you a flavorful and aromatic outcome. Other than that, you can pretty much add anything you want, as long as the flavors are complementary. Think chicken and zucchini; or beef, shallots and mushrooms. And for a vegetarian option, I like to add asparagus, leeks and fennel to the mix.

These fillings were good, but for me, there was still something missing.  I had tried a great MANY 'grain free' pot pie recipes, and I still found myself longing for the creaminess of the pot pies that I used love. This is difficult to achieve without the addition of a grain flour in your veggie and meat mixture. And then one day, it dawned on me (I believe it was the day that I made my first cashew gravy)..... 
"I  need to add the cashew gravy.....TO the pot pie"

BRILLIANCE! and the result was pot pie heaven! 

Below is my recipe for chicken pot pie, but you can substitute any veggie, broth or meat that you like and make it your own special dish. Happy Cooking!

Classic Creamy Chicken Pot Pie

2 cups sliced or chopped carrots
1 cup sliced or chopped celery
1 cup diced onion

4 Tbls olive oil or oil of choice
5 garlic cloves minced  (about 3 Tbls)
2 cups packed chopped cooked chicken. (roasted, boiled, leftover)
2 cups sliced or chopped zucchini (sub 1 cup zucchini for 1 cup green peas if you can have them)
1/2 cups unsalted chicken broth
2 tsp coarse salt or more to taste (omit if using a pre-salted broth)
Cracked pepper to taste

2 Tbls olive oil or oil of choice
5 large garlic cloves, minced (about 3 Tbls)
4 large shallots, minced
1 cup raw cashews (soaked for 4 hours or overnight and drained)
2 cups unsalted chicken broth or more if needed for consistency (sub 1/2 cup white wine if you like)
1 1/2 tsp coarse ground salt or more to taste (omit if using a pre-salted broth)
Cracked pepper to taste

2 1/2 cups Honeyville* blanched almond flour 
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbls coconut oil, 

softened or liquid
1 egg

*(I recommend making this crust with the Honeyville brand almond flour. It's ground much finer than other almond flours on the market. When I am in a pinch though, I have been known to regrind the Bobs Red Mill brand to make it finer but be sure to watch that it doesn't turn into almond butter.)

Instructions For the gravy: 

Preheat a frying pan over medium to medium high heat. Add the prepared garlic and shallots. Cook the mixture till onions are soft, translucent and starting to brown or caramelize. Remove from heat. Do not clean out the pan.

In a blender, combine the onion mixture (and any remaining oil in the pan), cashews and chicken broth (wine). Blend the mixture till it is smooth and creamy.

Transfer the gravy back into the frying pan and carefully cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for about 5 min. If it thickens too much add more broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. It should darken slightly.

Set aside. Gravy can be made up to 2 days in advance.

Instructions For the filling:

In a large frying pan or wok, over medium heat fry the mirepoix (celery, carrots & onion) and the garlic in the olive oil for 2-3 min.  Add the chicken, zucchini and broth. Continue cooking, stirring periodically until the vegetables are cooked al dente and all the broth is gone.

Remove from heat and add the gravy. Mix well.

Fill 6 large ramekins or 8 small ones with the mixture.

Instructions For the crust:

In a medium size bowl, combine the almond flour and salt. Add the oil, blend well. Add the egg, mixing it in till well combined. 

Split the dough into 6 to 8 rounds (depending in the size of you ramekins)

Press the rounds out on parchment paper into circles slightly larger then the top of your ramekins. As  you press out, also keep drawing the sides in so that the outside of the circle is smooth and not broken or jagged. You can use a little almond flour as bench flour if needed.

Top each ramekin with a circle of dough, pressing down on the edges slightly to seal it.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for around 25 min or until golden brown. Watch that it does not burn. Let cool for 5 min. before serving.

Pot pies may be assembled ahead of time and kept covered in the fridge until ready to bake.

The Appetizer:

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with Paleo Herb Buns by Multiply Delicious. They are loaded with bacon, sundried tomatoes, herbs, and garlic, all sandwiched between a Paleo Herbed Bun. That's not all...they are then topped off with a homemade garlic & herb aioli to tie it all together. You'll enjoy every bit of this fanciful, creamy, deliciousness. 

The Dessert:

These  S'mores Paleo Parents, won't have you missing anything! You especially won't be missing that leftover sticky burning 'goo' on your fingers...or the blinding smoke in your eyes. However, if you're really into that sort of thing, by all means-eat them beside a bonfire and let the chocolate melt in your hand instead of your mouth! Otherwise, enjoy these delicious treats all cozied up in front of your living room fire place.