Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Ghost's Kitchen: Alfredo Chicken Puff Pies

What's cooking today?
Alfredo Chicken Puff Pies

Hello everyone and welcome to another segment of...

*sigh*  Well we've arrived at THIS one.  A common complaint among people who don't regularly cook is that cooking can be overly complicated.  This isn't really the case if you know where to look and the kind of recipes you wish to make.  Most of the recipes on this blog are fairly or extremely simple so that anyone can make them with ease... this is NOT one of those recipes.

I'm going to go right out and say it.  This recipe tastes amazing, looks picturesque, but is a gigantic pain in the butt to make.  It's the kind of dish that's overly complicated for the sake of novelty.  Part if this is because of one particular ingredient used, and part of this is just because it's tedious and leaves a lot of mess to clean up.  However it is extremely tasty and it looks very nice as well.  So basically what I'm saying is... only make this if you want to try something a little harder or you really want to impress someone significant in your life.

NOTE: Before we get started I want to tell you about the gigantic blunder that occurred when purchasing the individual cups to make this.  The original recipe called for 4 10-oz custard cups.  My wife and I went to Walmart and found these oven and microwave safe mugs.  However, my wife misunderstood me and heard "fourteen ounce cups" instead of "four ten ounce cups" so she bought something way too big.  I'm going to give you the option of going with either for this because these mugs are awesome even though they are bigger than originally anticipated.

Gather Your Ingredients and Your Courage
  • 2 thawed chicken breasts
  • seasoning of choice for chicken (Weber Garlic and Herb is always a good choice)
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pasty thawed
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium shallot
  • 2 cups frozen vegetables
    • This will depend on your taste - the original recipe called for just a pea and carrot mixture but I use a kind that has peas, carrots, green beans, and corn.  Go with what you like
  • 1 16 oz jar Alfredo sauce
  • 1/4th teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 egg
  • 4 10oz Custard Cups  OR 2 oven-safe mugs approx 16oz
  • cutting board
  • at least 2 knives
  • 2 skillets OR 1 skillet and a plate
  • spatula/turner
  • spoon
  •  measuring spoon
  • pastry measuring mat (optional)
  • flour
  • rolling pin
  • cooking spray
  • bowl
  • whisk
  • basting brush
  • cookie sheet
  • and a partridge in pear tree
1. Take puff pastry out of freezer to thaw

2. Clean up chicken
As always remove anything unsavory from the chicken like fatty bits or noticeable blood vessels.

3. Cut chicken into bite-sized bits

4. Season chicken to your liking
I will always stand by Weber brand Garlic and Herb seasoning.  It's one of the best things out there to season chicken with.  Don't put too much or it'll overpower the rest of the pie.

5. Put chicken in skillet and fully cook
Make sure that none of the chicken is still raw.

6. Once cooked, remove from heat
If you are using 2 skillets just remove the skillet from the heat and let it sit there.  If you only have one skillet to use then put the chicken on a plate and set it to the side.

7. Preheat oven to 400°F

8. Spread a small amount of flour on your counter top, table, or measuring mat
You're about to roll out the puff pastry so you'll need a decent sized place to put it.  A measuring mat is a good idea but not required.

9. Open your puff pastry
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Puff pastry can be a royal pain in the butt to deal with because it doesn't like to stick together quite often.  If you don't let it thaw enough or you just aren't holding your tongue in the right spot the thing is gonna rip wide open like this
This can also happen as you're rolling out the dough it'll just decide to rip at one of the folds or even in the middle with little to no provocation.  There's a simple way to fix this.  Get yourself a small cup of warm water and tip your index finger(s) in the water.  Then with that warm water add some pressure around the tear till the puff pastry is one whole unit once again.
If your finger is too wet or you have to keep revisiting a spot, there's a good chance that the spot you were working with will become extremely sticky and want to stick to the rolling pin or your hands.  Just grab a tiny bit of that all purpose flour you were using on the surface and sprinkle some on the wet spot.  OK back to the steps!
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10. Start rolling out the dough
Use your rolling pin to very gently increase the dough's size.  Try to make the dough as uniform thickness as possible

11. Stop rolling once it reaches approx 13 inches by 13 inches
This is why it's a decent idea to have a measuring mat.  Most puff pastries are a 9x9 square so you're looking at spreading it out 2 inches in every direction.  A measuring mat will tell you exactly how wide it is but you can simply eyeball it as well.  Just try to make it as close to 13 inches as possible or you're not going to be able to fold the corners over the top of the pie.

12. Spray the inside of your cups with cooking spray

13. Cut your puff pastry
Obviously if you are doing the 4 custard cups you will cut it in fourths, and if you are doing the two oven-safe mugs then cut it in half.

14. Gently place puff pastry in the cups
You will want to very gently pick up the puff pastry and place the center of your pastry into the center of the cup.  Make sure the pastry fills up the inside of the cup and goes out over the top.  Just let these top portions sit there for now.

15.  Peel shallot and dice
Peel the outside off the shallot and finely dice it into tiny pieces.  You're going to want at least 2 tablespoons worth of shallots but if you like a sort of garlicy onion flavor then you may want to add more.  1 medium shallot is usually more than enough for my family.

16. Melt butter in skillet
Melt your 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet.

17. Add shallot, cook approx 3 minutes
Once your butter is melted, add the shallots and cook them till they are slightly golden and soft. This will probably take about 3 minutes.

18. Add chicken to skillet
Once shallots are cooked, add your chicken back to the skillet

19. Add vegetables and alfredo to the skillet
Top with your frozen vegetables and alfredo sauce

20. Mix and cook till warm
Mix these ingredients together well and leave it in the skillet till the vegetables are thawed and the sauce is warm/hot.

21. Add thyme and mix
Once mixture is hot and vegetables are thawed, add your thyme and mix.  Make sure you don't have a pocket of thyme anywhere or else it'll make for an unpleasant surprise later.

22. Spoon into cups
Fill them almost all the way to the top of the cup but not completely.  You may have some leftover in the skillet but that's ok.

23. Fold puff pastry over top of the pie

24. In a separate bowl, beat one egg with a whisk

25. Brush egg over the top of the puff pastry
This will give it that wonderful golden color

26. Bake for 25 minutes

27.  Let cool for 3-5 minutes so that you can actually touch the cup.

28. Serve, Enjoy, and Collapse!

You made it to the end!  Now, as I have said this particular dish is really neat to make.  It's not often that you get your own mini personal pot pie.  The novelty is only half as good as the flavors coming out of this dish.  I have a general dislike for chicken pot pie but I'd eat two regular sized pies if it were filled with this deliciousness.  However it IS something that takes a lot of time and steps while dealing with some irritating ingredients.  It requires you to have purchased containers to even create.  I realize this one isn't for everyone.  It's not the cheapest thing to start making and it's not the simplest.  However, you may find my joking about the difficulty to be out of place  Perhaps this isn't difficult at all for you.  It's something that you should give a try if you're being adventurous or trying to impress your date/partner/spouse/fiance/whatever.

This is Ghost fading into the darkness.
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If you want to see my other food topics and recipes then simply click here!

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