It is always by the end of July that I start craving winter comfort foods. I’m not sure if I’ve gone crazy from the heat. (Yes, the heat will be my excuse for insanity.) Or maybe I am just tired of eating summer meals like salads, grilled proteins and popcorn. (I’m not sure if popcorn is considered a meal but it is really easy to make on a hot day.)
So this past week I was flipping the pages in the August 2012 Cooking Light magazine and saw a chicken potpie. My mouth started watering!! It looked so warm and inviting that it was calling my name. (Actually my husband was calling me but I was so wrapped up in my magazine that I couldn’t hear him!)
I longed for a cool day where I could sit with a good book under a blanket eating a steaming, hot pot pie. The thought of the comforting warmth of the chicken in the rich gravy was enough to drive a gal wild! (Once again, blame the heat.) There is only one way I could satisfy my potpie itch…turn down the air conditioning and get into the kitchen!
The recipe in Cooking Light looked absolutely perfect with the exception that I didn’t have all of the ingredients in the house. And I wasn’t about to go for a trip to the store in such unpredictable weather. (It is at this point where I have completely lost it and I am pretending it is the heart of winter. Brrrr!)
I will say that their recipe fit the less than 300 calories category, so I can’t guarantee my tweaks would garner the same results. (I am far from a nutritionist so use your best judgment.) I will say this is a nice summer option when you get craving your old winter favorites.
BLT (Bacon, Leek & Tomato) Chicken Pot Pie
4 slices of bacon, chopped
1 ½ cups red potato, itty- bitty small cubed
2 carrots, diced
1 leek, washed, in thin slices
1 pound chicken breasts cooked and chopped (Or on a lazy day, use the breast meat from a roaster at the deli)
3 Tbsp flour
2 cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp celery leaf, chopped (You can use celery but cook it when you do the carrots and leeks)
1 pint roasted grape tomatoes..(Follow the first 5 steps of this recipe)
1 sheet puff pastry
Beaten egg and 1 Tbsp water
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Thaw puff pastry per package directions and divide into 9 squares. Brush with eggs and sprinkle with onion powder and salt. Bake for about 15 minutes. Check and make sure it “puffs”. Keep an eye on it and cook until lightly brown and poufy. Split in half like a bun and set aside.
In a large dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat. Remove bacon with slotted spoon and leave 2 TBsp of drippings in pan. (Um, this may be where you lose the calorie count with me). Set bacon aside.
Heat oven to 450.
Add leeks, carrot and potatoes. Increase heat to medium high and cook about 5-7 minutes. You should be lightly browed and your potatoes should be a little tender but not done.
Sprinkle with flour and cook another minute.
Slowly add broth, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil and cook until slightly thickened. (Your potatoes should be almost fork tender by now). Mix in your chicken and celery and taste for seasoning. (The bacon will be added in after cooking so you may want to go easy on the salt until you taste it with the bacon.)
Pour this mixture into a 2-quart baking dish and cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes before assembling.
Mix in tomatoes and bacon (I forgot this step when I actually made it so my picture depicts the tomatoes and bacon on the side..it was still good.)
To assemble: Take the sliced puffed pastry and place a generous scoop of the filing in the middle and add the other half of the puff pastry and serve.
The bacon and roasted tomatoes added a nice textural difference in addition to the crunch of the pastry and creaminess of the chicken filling.
I loved the lightness of the puff pastry in this potpie. Marshall Field’s in Chicago used to serve a pot pie this way and I loved it. I will say that I will make the Cooking Light version this winter when I want the heavier crust (and I don’t have extra tomatoes.)
The summer will be over before I know it and I’m sure there will be something else to make me go a little bit insane. But as long as I can comfort myself with food, I’ll be okay.