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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Chicken Not Pie

Even as a kid I didn't really like pie, because as I've mentioned many times before, I hate pastry crust. I just can't think of a bigger waste of stomach space or empty calories.  The one exception was chicken pot pie.  I loved the filling, so I would mash the crust into the filling so that it was unidentifiable.

As a healthier alternative, I came up with  this recipe.  Rich, creamy and comforting, yet low in fat and packed full of veggies.  It's dairy-free for Adam since he is lactose intolerant and doesn't eat dairy and meat together.  You could easily veganize it by replacing the chicken with chickpeas, the chicken stock with veggie stock, and using vegan worcestershire sauce.  Make it gluten-free by replacing the flour with whatever gluten-free flour or thickener you have on hand.  You can also sub in whatever veggies you have on hand.  Leeks would go nicely in this, and any root veggies would make a nice addition too.

In terms of serving, there are many options too.  Scoop out the centre of whole grain buns to make bread bowls, and ladel this stew into them.  Or serve on it's own or over quinoa, like I did, or brown rice or other grain.  You could even serve it over noodles.

Of course, if you are a pie lover, by all means top this with a crust, but for goodness sakes, PLEASE make it whole grain.  No white-flour crap please!

Chicken Not Pie

2 tbls Earth Balance or butter
1 tsp olive oil
2 shallots, minced (I did this in food processor)
1 cup minced cabbage (I did this in food processor using big blade)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or other flour or thickener)
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup non-dairy milk (I used plain organic soy), or dairy milk
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 small onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2+ cups chicken stock (or veggie stock)
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts (or thighs), cut into bite sized pieces
1 bunch broccoli, cut into small florets
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large, deep skillet over medium heat melt Earth Balance or butter with oil.  Add in shallot, cabbage, garlic and thyme and saute for a few minutes.  Add in flour and cook for another minute or two.  Pour in milk and simmer until thickened.  Add remaining veggies and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Pour in stock and add diced chicken and broccoli florets.  Simmer until chicken is cooked through and broccoli is tender.  Add additional stock if you want to thin it out.  Season to taste.  Freezes well.