Citizen Chef is still out on vacation and will be until next week, but he took a quick break between the restaurants and wine tastings so we could catch up. When I told him I was making a serious attempt at cooking up Ellie Krieger’s James Beard nominated book, The Food You Crave, I backed up my actions by saying we had wanted to start cooking healthier food. His approbation was given in the utmost sophistication when he said, “And she’s hot, too!”
So last night I cooked up another Ellie creation: Chicken Pot Pies with Phyllo Crust.
My mom never made chicken pot pies when I was a kid, but when I moved out and into my own apartment, I discovered the microwavable versions. They made me so happy. They were also really fattening, so after a while I had to stop eating them. Chunks of chicken and vegetables with a salty, savory broth are hard to pass up, and when I saw Ellie Krieger’s healthier version that is topped with phyllo dough instead of a biscuit, I had to try them.
Chicken Pot Pies with Phyllo Crust
Courtesy of Ellie Krieger
1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 leeks, bottom 4 inches only, washed well and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 medium potatoes cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups low-fat milk
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
3 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
Once again, you know I was only serving two, so I cut this in half. I also only used one chicken breast.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 4 individual-sized baking dishes with cooking spray.
Season the chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few turns of pepper. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil over a medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, turning once. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
Add 2 more teaspoons of the oil, the leeks, and the celery to the pan and cook until vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the potatoes, green beans, garlic, and remaining salt and pepper and cook for 2 more minutes.
Add the milk to the pan. Stir the flour into the chicken broth until dissolved and add to the pan. Cook, stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Stir in the reserved chicken, peas, parsley, and thyme.
Stir in the reserved chicken, peas, parsley, and thyme. Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking dishes.
Put the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil into a small bowl. Unroll the phyllo dough and cut it into quarters. Place a quarter sheet on top of each baking dish and brush with olive oil. Repeat with remaining 3 baking dishes. Tuck the edges of the phyllo into the dish rim. Top each pie with Parmesan.
My phyllo wasn’t big enough to cover the whole bowl so I criss-crossed them when I went through the layering process.
Place on a baking sheet and bake until the filling is bubbling, about 30 minutes.
I broke this open so you can see what’s inside — the fluffy, crispy phyllo makes a great crust over the pot pies, which look beautiful inside. Be careful when seasoning this, right before you plate them into the bowls. Eating the top half tasted a little bland, and I didn’t really enjoy this until I got to the bottom, where the salted sauce had collected. It was healthy and good, and I loved the presentation, but I’ll probably only make this again if I get a total craving for pot pies.
Weeknight Cooking: B
Overall Dish: B