Sunday, November 27, 2011

Being Small Has Its Advantages - Mini Chicken Pot Pies with a Cajun kick

For the longest time, our society has programmed us to believe that being small was not a good trait, in almost anything.   To go even further, it's being looked down upon.   Unfortunately, many believe that nonsense which is saddening and unhelpful to those who are below the average size.  Bigger does not mean better.  It only means bigger or taller people have more mass structure. The good news is that there are ways to deal with it which require self-discipline and daily self-reminders:

  1. Accepting and embracing who you are make you unique
  2. Strengthening self-respect prompts respect from others
  3. Ridiculing the belief that being short or small is a drawback
  4. Learning to laugh at yourself
  5. Prioritizing on other things that matter most in your life : your projects, your goals, your dreams (other than wishing to be taller)

By applying the above methods, you'll notice a definite change in your perspective of things in life.   So what if you're being called names and finger-pointed for stretching your muscles a little more than the others to be able to reach out for the cookie jar that's purposely placed on the highest kitchen shelf?  Just get a chair.  Yes, it's more work, but at least you're moving and you are getting that darn cookie jar.  Problem solved.  Nothing else matters more than your well-being and your happiness.

Now you'll ask, 'what does this have anything to do with food?'.  Well, being small can have its advantages.    These mini pot pies can be the perfect appetizers or the original entree that can wow everyone during a holiday dinner party.   Their size makes them practical for a buffet-style dinner for your guests.  They're easy to eat and so fun to prepare.  Invite your guests or your kids to prepare them. Kids love helping out in the kitchen and they have fun cooking when you make a game out of it.

I enjoy making those so much more than making a regular sized chicken pot pie only because it's a different way of making chicken pot pie.  In addition, they're cute.  Who doesn't like biting into canapés or amuse-bouches just before dinner?  They're fun and eye-popping treats that never fail to amaze your guests with 'Ooohs' and 'Aaahs'.  When it comes to cooking, I love being creative and making something a little out of the box for the sake of making my experiments in the kitchen all the more interesting.  The minute I start falling into a routine, I get bored and lose my sense of creativity.

That being said, I hope you will try those for the holidays and I promise that they are treats that you and your guests will love sinking your teeth into.  Adding some cajun spices adds a nice kick to those pies.

Preparation : 15 minutes, Baking time : 10-12 minutes or until crust is golden and flaky

Recipe "au pif":
1/2 kg boneless chicken upper thighs (cut in 2 inch chunks)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 tsp ground cajun spice (found in any local supermarket)
1 red chili pepper (seeds removed and finely chopped)
2 tbsp flour
3/4 tbsp chicken concentrate with 125 ml boiling water (or 125 ml chicken stock)
pinch of coarse sea salt
pinch of ground black pepper
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 tbsp olive oil or 1/2 tbsp butter
200 gr frozen puff pastry (defrosted) and a bit of flour
1 egg

Preheat oven at 350F

In a hermetic plastic bag, throw in the chicken, salt and pepper, chili, thyme, rosemary, cajun spice and flour

Seal the bag and shake well until the chicken is well coated and seasoned.

In a medium-size sauce pan, heat oliver oil (or I prefer using butter for flavour) on high. Add in the seasoned chicken and give it a good stir for about 2 minutes.

Add boiling water and the chicken concentrate, or simply your choice of chicken stock.

Cover, lower the heat to medium and simmer for about 5 minutes.   Turn off the heat and stir in the frozen peas.  Put lid back on and set aside.

With a rolling pin, flatten the puff pastry about 30 cm by 20 cm, and 1/2 cm thick. Sprinkle flour on your board under and on top of the puff pastry so as to avoid sticking to the board and rolling pin.

Use of one your small ramequins and trace with a pairing knife a circle just about 1/2 cm wider around the ramequin.  Repeat until you run out of dough.

Fill each ramequin 3/4 full with the chicken stew.

Cover each ramequin with the puff pastry.  Dab a little bit of water around the edges and squeeze the dough lightly around the rim.  With a fork, poke the top of the pastry dough to allow steam to go through while the pies are baking.

Pop the chicken pot pies in the oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes or until the crust is golden and flaky.

Serves 4 - 6  people.

share and enjoy!


Eftychia said...

Yummy!! They look delicious!

QlinArt said...

Thanks. They're very tasty . :)

Nicole Gamble said...

So simple and so perfect! Yammy!

QlinArt said...

Thanks! They're simple indeed.