Showing posts with label leek. Show all posts
Showing posts with label leek. Show all posts

Friday, March 25, 2016

Creamy Leek and Chicken Hand Pies #FridayPieDay

Leeks sautéed in butter are the perfect start to a creamy béchamel sauce which is folded around tender chicken then baked in puff pastry till flakey and crunchy. These handy chicken pies are perfect for lunch boxes or a special brunch or dinner at home. 

Leeks are the milder cousin of the onion, not so sharp but still with a lovely oniony flavor. They soften beautifully when sautéed in butter and almost melt into a white sauce. They are a beautiful match for chicken in a pot pie or really, any dish but today, for Friday Pie Day, I created these hand pies with my favorite chicken pot pie in mind.

2 cooked chicken breasts, bones removed  - about 9 1/2 oz or 270g total
1 long leek - about 6 oz or 172g whole, 4 oz or 113g after the hard green bit is trimmed
1 red chili pepper
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup or 120ml whole milk
11 2/3 oz or 330g puff pastry
1 egg

Cut the hard green part off of your leeks and trim the roots. Split the white part in half. Wash well, making sure to clean any dirt that might be hiding in the root end. Slice the clean leek into small pieces and cube the cooked chicken.

Mince the red chili pepper then sauté it with the leek in the butter until softened, add a healthy pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Sprinkle on the flour and stir to combine it with the softened leeks and butter. Cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently.

Remove the pan from the heat briefly and add in the milk.

Stir vigorously until you have a thin sauce. Put the pan back on the stove over a medium heat and cook until the sauce begins to thicken and a spoon dragged through leaves a gap that fills up again slowly.

Add in the chicken and stir to coat. Cook for a few minutes more, until the sauce is very thick. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Preheat your oven to 400°F or 200°C and prepare a cookie sheet by lining it with baking parchment or a silicone mat.

Cut your puff pastry dough into four equal pieces and roll one out until it is about 7in or 28cm square.

Whisk your egg with a fork and brush a little bit all around the pastry square with a pastry brush.

Divide the cooled chicken leek mixture into four equal portions and put one on the pastry square.

Fold the pastry over to form a triangle and press the air out as you seal the sides by pressing down all around the edges. Brush more egg around the edges of the pastry triangle.

Start folding the pastry over again, to double seal the edges.

Place the triangle on your lined cookie sheet and repeat the process until you have four hand pies ready to bake. Brush them all with the beaten egg.

Bake in your preheated oven about 20-25 minutes or until the hand pies are puffed and golden.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least a few minutes before serving. You do not want to burn your mouth with the hot filling.


Now after you have these for your main course, may I suggest finishing off the meal with Triple Cherry Pie  from my friend and creator of Friday Pie Day, Heather, over at All Roads Lead to the Kitchen?

I am pleased to join her on the last Friday of each month for pie and crust recipes, techniques, tools of the trade, and other inspiration.

For more information and recipes, please check out her #FridayPieDay page!


Friday, November 29, 2013

Cauliflower and Leek Soup

Cauliflower gives this soup body, the leeks and bacon give it flavor.  A serving of this, topped with some freshly grated Parmesan, is a bowl of warm comfort on a cold night.  It’s the perfect quick meal after days of excess. 

When I joined Facebook back in 2009, one of the first things I did was start a group for me and my friends to share our recipes.  We were going along great until Facebook, in its infinite wisdom, decided to change the format and the recipes were no longer categorized under Discussions and became jumbled in several long threads.  With all the complications, we stopped using the group.  But not before my dear friend, Jayne, had shared the tidbit that the leftover rind off a wedge of Parmesan makes a lovely addition to soup as it simmers.  (I think she was making potato and leek.)  I kicked myself at the time because I had JUST thrown one away.  But I held on to that nugget of flavorful information and have used it ever since.

You can have this delicious soup on the table in less than 30 minutes so it’s the perfect weeknight meal.  Pop some of your own homemade biscuits in the oven at the same time, and you will be dancing in the kitchen.  (Put on some music too.  Come on, live a little!)

Ingredients to serve two very generously and four you have bread or biscuits to go with.
1 small head of cauliflower (about 1 lb or 500g)
4-5 small leeks or 2-3 large ones (about 1 lb or 500g)
2-3 slices smoked bacon
Olive oil
1 stock cube (chicken or vegetable)
1 rind Parmesan cheese (optional but recommended)
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup or 80ml cold milk
1 heaped tablespoon cornstarch or cornflour
Sea salt, to taste at the end

To serve: Freshly grated Parmesan for each bowl (optional but highly recommended)

Cut the large stem off the cauliflower and then cut the florets into bite-sized pieces.  Set aside.

Cut the root ends and the hard green bits off the leeks and discard.  (Or save in scrap and peel bag in freezer for making homemade stock later.)

Now split the leeks in half lengthwise.

Run them under cold water, separating the layers to clean all the dirt off from inside.  This is very important because even one little piece of grit you leave behind will mess up the whole pot.

Chop the leeks into small pieces and set aside.  Slice the bacon into little pieces as well.  Fry the bacon with a drizzle of olive oil, in a pot large enough for all of your eventual soup.

When the bacon is crispy, add in the leeks and give the whole thing a stir and cook for a few minutes or until the leeks have softened.

Now add in the cauliflower florets and stir again.

Add water enough to cover the vegetables, add your stock cube and bring the pot to a boil.

If you are fortunate to have a Parmesan rind, peel off any plastic and pop it in the pot when the stock cube goes in.  Turn it down to simmer and put on a lid partially covering the pot.

Make sure to take the wax or plastic off of your Parmesan rind. 

The soup is almost done when the cauliflower is soft enough for your liking.   Add the cornstarch to your cold milk and stir until the cornstarch has completely dissolved.

Pour the mixture into your pot, stirring constantly.  Bring the soup back to the boil and let it thicken a little.   Add a few grinds of fresh black pepper.  (If you aren’t adding grated Parmesan to each bowl, check the taste and add salt to your taste.  Otherwise, remember that Parmesan is pretty salty and be conservative with the salt.)

Serve with extra grated Parmesan for each bowl.