Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Chicken and Vegetable Cobbler


The last few days have been strong winds and driving rain here, coupled with a drop in temperature that makes me go home and want to huddle in my apartment with warming, homey food. This cobbler is great because it has all the great taste of chicken pot pie, but none of the faffing around rolling out pastry. You try swapping half the flour for a whole wheat alternative if you wanted to make it a little better for you.

This is from a recipe I found on the New York Times website.

Ingredients
1 leek, well washed and chopped
Salt and black pepper
2 cups (140g) quartered button mushrooms
1.5 cups (375ml) chicken stock
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2 medium carrots, cut into coins
2 boneless chicken thighs, diced
1 cup (130g) peas, frozen or fresh
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup (125g) flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
1/2 (125ml) cup buttermilk/soured milk
1 egg.

Substitutions

I didn't make any big changes, but quite a few little ones. I used a beef stock cube because that's what I had on hand, and I used chicken breast instead of chicken thighs. Thighs have a lot of flavour and are great for this kind of thing, but I had breast already and wanted to keep fat content down where I could.

I can't get butter milk here, so I used soured milk instead (put a tablespoon or two of fresh lemon juice into the milk and then leave it for 5 minutes). I used a sprinkling of ground, dried rosemary instead of a fresh sprig, and added a little bit of sage too.

The cobbler topping had margarine instead of butter, and as mentioned before you could also go for half whole wheat flour to make it a bit better for you.

Method


1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Put oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, add the leek, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until liquid has released and evaporated, about 8 to 10 minutes.


2. Add stock and rosemary; bring to a boil, and let bubble for a minute or two, then add carrots and chicken and reduce heat so the liquid simmers. Cook until carrots are almost tender and chicken is cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Add peas and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are brightly colored and just tender, another minute or so; fish out rosemary stem and discard.


3. Whisk cornstarch with a few tablespoons of broth to make a slurry. Add slurry to pot and stir until liquid thickens slightly. Transfer everything to an ovenproof dish and set aside.


4. Put flour in a food processor with baking powder, soda and salt. Add butter and process until mixture resembles small peas, no more than 30 seconds. (You can also do this by hand, using two knives, a fork, your fingers, or a pastry cutter). Transfer mixture to a bowl and mix in buttermilk and egg until it just comes together; it should be sticky. For this part you may have too much liquid (at least I did). so I would recommend whisking the egg and adding small, equal amounts of egg and milk until you reach the consistency you're looking for. The dough was wetter than I expected (I was thinking it would be more like scones, but it's much stickier than that) so don't be worried if it seems quite wet.

5. Drop spoonfuls of batter on top of vegetables and chicken and smooth with a knife, covering as much surface area as possible but leaving a few gaps for steam to escape. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until golden on top and bubbly underneath. Scoop into bowls and serve immediately.

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