So if you’ve been on our Facebook site lately you’ve heard the chatter, and pictures, of the bitter cold weather we’ve been having here. When it’s 1F when I drive to work and the high only goes to 6F it’s cold! When it’s 1F with a windchill of -15F.. it’s *&^%$##@@%&* COLD!!! It’s been that cold, that even though I heat my car up in the morning, layer clothing, thick wool jacket, gloves, scarf, hat I STILL have to literally drive with a blanket wrapped around me. Yeah.. it’s THAT cold!
Well as I said it doesn’t get much warmer by the time I leave work either. So when I get home I want warmth and some comfort-type foods. Since I already had chili made and soups I wanted something different. I wanted Shepherd’s pie. Yeah I know, real Shepherd’s pie has lamb in it. Sorry but I don’t do lamb; don’t like it. Mr. Fantabulous and I both fell in love with my Turkey Shepherd’s Pie I made with Thanksgiving leftovers but um, it’s no where near Thanksgiving and we inhaled all the leftovers so that was out. BUTTTTTTTT I had chicken in the fridge and I decided to go with that.
Now I’m telling you what folks, this was so amazingly good and EXACTLY what I needed to not only warm up my insides but put me in such a state of comfort. Like literally this is that dish you could so totally see yourself eating in your favorite jammies, under your most softest blankie and snugglin’ with your baby. This is exactly where this dish took me! It’s one of those dishes where if you were a person, you’d want to huge it and never let it go!
This is one of those few dishes that I actually would eat as a leftover. See I’m weird like that. I’m not a huge fan of leftovers. Now wait a min before you chastised me or lecture me. Chili and Lasagna are ALWAYS better the 2nd day therefore I don’t deem them leftovers. And growing up we didn’t have much at all; money was sparse and while we never went hungry we ate poor-folks food. That being when Mom would cook a roast she would cook I swear half a cow and enough veggies/noodles that we would eat that all week. It’s great food but not day after day after day. Now Mr. Fantabulous he can and does eat Pasta every day (or at least every other day). Me, I like a variety. I like to mix it up and keep my taste buds tantalized. But this… Good God this…
THIS I could eat for days on end.. and have. See I can’t just make 2 portions. I need to make like 6 or 8 or more. It’s how I was raised – 6 kids plus parents and 900,000 family/friends there, I learned to cook en bulk. Now I’ve gotten a lot better the longer I’m married but I can remember the first time I made pasta for Mr. Fantabulous. Yeah, 2 people can never EVER eat 5 pounds of pasta in one setting. Even if one is Italian. LOL
Now this dish is one of those – it’s not a pie per se, it’s not stew either or soup – it’s just.. just.. it’s just pure comfort in a bowl.
- 5 Tbl butter, unsalted
- 1 Tbl olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 1 cup of 1” pieces of green beans (fresh preferably or no sodium canned – rinsed well)
- 5 thick slices of white bread ripped into 1” chunks
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1/2” cubes
- 16 ounces of chicken stock
- 3 Tbl flour
- 1 cup chicken gravy
- 1/2–1 cup heavy cream *optional
- 1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
- 1/2–1 tsp kosher salt
- 1–2 tsp fresh black pepper
- 3 cups mashed potatoes (already seasoned with salt & pepper), warmed
- 1 large egg, beaten
- Preheat oven to 400F with the rack in the upper third of the oven.
- Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.
- Season the chicken with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.
- Add the chicken to the pan and cook until no pink remains. ~5-8 minutes.
- Remove the chicken and place in a bowl.
- Add 2 Tbl of the butter to the pan and melt.
- Toss in the onion, celery and carrot and cook over low heat until softened, ~10-13 minutes. If using fresh beans, add now.
- Add in the flour and stir; cook for 3 minutes.
- Add in the stock and stir well.
- When the mixture thickens, add in 1 cup of cream and mix to combine.
- Cook for 3 minutes and add the chicken back into the pan.
- Cook for 2 minutes.
- Stir in the gravy and cook until bubbling around the edges. *if the mixture is too thick, add in the cream and stir until all combined and the mixture has just started to re-thicken.
- Remove from the heat, stir in the thyme.
- Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
- Butter the sides and bottom of 8 9 ounce 3” high ramekins with a little bit of butter.
- Divide evenly the ripped pieces of bread and place on the bottom of each ramekin.
- While the mixture in cooling, mix the mashed potatoes with the beaten egg and mix well to incorporate.
- Melt the remaining 2 Tbl of butter.
- Spread the potatoes over the filling as evenly as possible leaving small peaks (for presentation).
- Brush or drizzle the top with the melted butter.
- Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until the topping is lightly browned and the filling is bubbling.
- The last 3-5 minutes turn on your broil to brown the potatoes slightly.
- Let the pies stand for about 5-10 minutes before serving.
So if you’re looking for something simple, huggable and just so good, you need to make this!