Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day: Chicken and Artichoke Heart Pot Pies

Oh, mercy. I have so many recipes to share with you I don't even know where to start. But now there is a double request for something I mentioned in the comments of my friend Auld Hat's blog and so now I must comply.

About 8 years ago, The Spouse was sent to Philadelphia on a job. It was supposed to last 6 weeks. It lasted 6 months. He came home every other weekend, but it happened that Valentine's Day fell on one of the off weekends. I was bitterly unhappy about the fact that he was still in Philly at all so his absence on Valentine's Day stuck the knife in a little further. Granted, we don't normally make much of a fuss about VD but hey, when you're married you're supposed to have a built-in date for the big holidays, right?

I decided not to take it lying down and planned a superfantastic party. I invited my closest single girlfriends for dinner. Riffing off an idea of Ina Garten's, we had a simple but elegant little meal, champagne, chocolates, the works and then sat down for some entertainment. I had instructed each guess to bring some of her favorite romantic movies, cued up what she deemed the most romantic scene, and while we at our dessert and drank more wine, we watched all the clips. It was most awesome fun and actually, one of the best Valentine's days I've ever had.

Dinner was a variation on one of my signature dishes, chicken pot pie, tweaked to give it just a smidge more elegance for the occasion. Of course, I did it out of my head so the proportions here are somewhat variable but you get the idea. You could make this as one big dish but for a more refined presentation I made it up in individual ramekins.

Chicken and Artichoke Heart Pot Pie

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 quart chicken stock
1 package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
1 shallot, finely diced
2 T. butter
2 T. flour
1/2 c. cream
salt & white pepper
puff pastry

Preheat oven to 400° (or whatever temperature is called for on your puff pastry package).

Poach the chicken breasts in the stock until cooked through. Remove breasts and chop into mouthsize chunks. Conserve the stock.

In a large saucepan, saute the shallots in the butter, over medium high heat. When they are soft, add the flour and stir for one minute. Add in 2 cups of the chicken stock and cook until it begins to thicken. Add the cream and continue stirring and cooking until you have a lovely sauce. Season to taste with dillweed, salt and white pepper. When the sauce is to your liking, add the chunks of chicken and the artichoke hearts, stirring them through the sauce. Turn the heat down to low to keep everything warm while you prepare the puff pastry.

Roll out the pastry according to the package directions (unless you happen to be one of those obsessive people who makes his/her own puff pastry). Using a large heart shaped cookie cutter, cut out 6 pastry hearts.

Place 6 ramekins on a baking sheet. Ladle chicken and artichokes into the ramekins, making sure to get a nice distribution of both meat and veg, and top the ramers off with sauce. Place a pastry heart over each and brush with water.

Bake until pastry hearts puff up and are golden brown.


Willym said...

And we will definately use this one on one of those Sundays when what we want is Amer-Canadian comfort food - with a touch of elegance.

Now about the celery and parmessan salad?

Lorraine said...

And I sincerely hope you enjoy it, my friend.

Doralong said...

Thanks for coughing it up before the masses started threatening..

Lorraine said...

Anything I can do to preserve the peace, Doralong.

Kimberly Ann said...

Oooh, that sounds terrific. I'm giving it a go this weekend. Danke.

Seattle Coffee Girl said...

I was there for the Valentine's Day Feast those years past, and it was a wonderfully scrumptuous supper indeed! This one's a keeper!

What would you suggest I substitute since DH does not care for artichoke hearts?

Doralong said...

SCG- I'm thinking asparagus would be lovely. But that's just me.

Kimberly Ann said...

I'm happy to report this was delicious. The sauce is going to the top of my favorite white sauces list. Hubby had three helpings. Yes, the aid car will be on the way shortly for all the cream and butter he ate, but it was worth it.

Lorraine said...

SCG, I would concur with Doralong. Or, you could go with the standard peas and's the veloute and puff pastry that make this dish a winner. Or, you could get a husband who likes artichoke hearts. But I supose that's not an option.

KA: Oh, I'm so glad. Thanks for posting your results, 'cuz I put this stuff up there but knowing that people are actually trying and liking the recipes...that's the best!

Willym said...

We have a winner. I made one big one for dinner tonight and two small ones to be reheated (toaster oven not micro) for Saturday lunch. The two of us devoured the big one and licked the plates. Thanks for another great recipe, and we almost had celery and parmessan salad with it but....

Doralong said...

Variation on the theme.. this was quite fab with ham and asparagus. Yes Wills, me and the ham again..

laurelmoons said...

I'm salivating just reading the recipe! Which means I'll have to actually make it...might it be adaptable to a potluck, do you suppose?