Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie

This is the best chicken pot pie I've ever eaten.
The recipe was requested so I decided I'd make it a whole blog post so that it would look like I'm not neglecting my blog entirely.

So. This pie is adapted from a Moravian Chicken Pie from Cook's Country.
The chicken pie is just chicken, no veggies, and it is SO delicious.
But I've adapted it a little to suit my tastes but my brothers always ask for vegetables so I sometimes adapt the already adapted recipe to accommodate them.
It is an extremely labor-intensive meal. But it is WELL worth it.


For crust:

1/2 C sour cream
1 Large egg
2 1/2 C flour
1 1/2 Tsp Salt
12 Tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold butter, chopped or sliced into pieces

For pie:

Salt, pepper
Olive oil
3 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
Lemon thyme
3 tbs butter
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup half and half
2 large chicken breasts
1 large potato, chopped
1 large celery stalk, chopped
1 handful of chopped carrots
and peas
1 egg

Make the crust ahead of time, it will have to refrigerate up to 1.30 hours and take a while to make.

The crust:
Start by putting flour and salt in the bowl to make crust dough. Cut in the butter. In a measuring cup, mix together sour cream and egg then add that to the flour, stirring to form a dough. If the dough is dry, you may need to add a little cold water, up to half a cup.

Separate dough in two and form into discs, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for an hour.
Take dough out of fridge and let warm to room temp. Form into a ball (I find it easier to make a round shape if I do) and roll out and put in the pie plate, and then roll out the top part and put on plastic. Put both pieces in the fridge for another 30 minutes.
Take out and let get to room temp before filling.
(Now, if I'm in a hurry, I'll put them in the freezer and sometimes I don't even let them get to room temp, it doesn't seem to make much of a difference)

For filling:

Drizzle oil on bottom of a pot (like a dutch oven, something you can fry in but also boil in).
Pat chicken dry and sprinkle with salt, pepper and lemon thyme.
Fry chicken on all sides until golden brown.
Add broth, bay leaf and veggies (minus the peas) and simmer. When chicken is fully cooked, remove from pot to let cool then cut up into small pieces and put in a large bowl.
When veggies are mostly cool, strain the broth into a bowl and put veggies in bowl with chicken, add peas.
Put butter and flour in the pot to make a roux. Add 2 cups of the reserved broth and half and half. Stir and season with salt and pepper.
Take 1 cup of the gravy and pour it over chicken and vegetables, stir well. Pour mixture into pie.
Top the pie and fold the top layer UNDER the bottom layer then lightly crimp. Put a slight or two in the top then brush the crust with a beaten egg (just an egg, nothing else).

Finally, but in a 450° oven for 18-20 minutes. When time is up, let out some heat, and turn the oven the 375° 10-15 minutes. Finally, take the pie out and let cool, they say for 45 minutes but I eat it pretty much right away. The only thing is, if you let it cool it will set and the filling will not fall out all over the place.

To serve, heat the leftover gravy with the remaining broth and pour over servings of pie.
Sometimes I don't have enough brother leftover so I add a little extra canned broth, it's just fine.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Demand Excellence

My dear friends,
I have to talk about one of the most controversial topics of this year: The 2012 Presidential Election.
Pray, friends, do not run from this post screaming and shouting. Give me a few minutes of your time and I'll strive to deserve them.
This is not a rant (or, at least I will try to keep it that way) and it is not to endorse Ron Paul (though it should be said beforehand that I do), it is a desperate plea to all Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, white, black, tan, Christian, atheist, gay, straight, smart and not-so-bright Americans.
A plea to better-think this election and wake up to what is going on.

All this year I have seen just about every argument over Facebook regarding this election.
Most of the arguments were Republican-based, crying for anyone BUT Obama.
Others were saying, "choose the lesser of two evils."
Some said, "vote with your conscience. Not for evil."
Some Democrats, though I know very few, do not even like Obama, but are probably going to vote for him in order to keep Romney out of office. (You can't blame them, that's what Republicans are doing with Romney).
Many, many times I've seen, "there are only two choices."
Since when? Why are we allowing this? Nobody likes the two candidates. But no one is doing anything about it. We just threw up (or regurgitated) the "likeliest" Republican candidate for one reason and one reason only, he had the "best chance" at "beating" Obama.
This election is not a game, does anyone understand that? We are choosing a person to run our country. To make decisions for our country. To protect us.
This is NOT a decision to be taken lightly.
Our president is given a lot of power (though, more than he should, I admit), he's put up in a nice house, given money, vacation time if he wishes it. We provide for him a team of special servicemen that will go to lengths at protecting him. It's a big to-do. Shouldn't the next President of the United States be somebody worthy? Shouldn't they earn it? What has Obama or Romney done, what task have they committed that recommends them as the best, most exceptional person to run our country?
We shouldn't only have two choices, we should have many! We should go through all willing and able peoples in the United States and find the absolute BEST man (or woman) for the job! Not some random already politicians that seem to fit the bill. The BEST. How is it in American Idol or America's Got Talent everyone has to work their rears off to get to the top with what recommends them but when it comes to the next President, we just throw our support to whoever seems to line up with our issues the best? Why not vote for THE best? Why are we settling on mediocrity?

People, we do not have to be so divided. I realize there are some insane differences between the left and the right. But there is a nice thing called compromise.
But I'll tell you what we should never compromise on:
Why are we ok with the government regulating everything? Taking away some peoples' rights and giving them away to others?
I'm a strong believer in Jesus Christ, most of you know this, but I'm not going to force everyone to believe in Him. I'd like to have the freedom to preach and say what I wish. That's what makes America great, we have freedom! You can say what you wish, and we can say what we wish. As simple as that.
Stop letting government meddle in our lives. WE, the PEOPLE, are responsible for setting up the government. The government is there for us. WE, the PEOPLE, are in charge. Don't like the candidates for this election? Let's do something! Let's demand they change it. Let's demand excellence from our government. Let's elect someone we actually WANT to run our country. Not someone that will beat the next person or simply looks presidential, or because he's black or Mormon.
We have to put our proverbial foot down and say enough is enough.
We don't have to go by their rules, we make the rules! Read the following with the utmost concentration:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

We have this power and we have this right! We are not cattle to be pushed and prodded around, told what to do, tossed in cages if we don't obey their laws that we didn't even agree to. We set up the government, we set up the rules, the laws, by voting, democratically, on what should be and shouldn't be illegal. Democracy is not a dirty word: Democracy allows people to participate equally—either directly or through elected representatives—in the proposal, development, and creation of laws.
And a Republic is not a bad thing: A republic is a form of government in which the country is considered a "public matter" (Latin: res publica), not the private concern or property of the rulers, and where offices of states are subsequently directly or indirectly elected or appointed rather than inherited.
Laws are not bad, they are meant to keep us safe. But when laws are grossly perverted they need to go, just as the corrupt politicians need to go. This stereotype that all politicians are liars has got to be righted. Fire the liars, hire honest, good men. There are still good men in this country. You just have to look hard to find them! Why do we put up with liars? Why are we letting them lie to us?
We were once one of the greatest countries in the world and now we're the joke, the laughing stock. Nobody likes America, we're viewed as idiots.
It's time to take a stand. Be the America our presidents of old would be proud of, the America our beloved soldiers have died--given their lives and blood--for. Be the America we can be proud of.
Many people have said our votes don't even matter. Make them matter, demand that they matter, because they do.