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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Wednesday, March 07, 2012

My Version of Starvin' Guy Chicken Pie

Over the past couple of weeks while on crutches I managed to watch a few shows on Food Network Canada.  It was a bit of a treat while icing my ankle and knitting the most testy ever afghan pattern.  I pretty much gave up watching television during the day a few years ago so don't indulge as much as I used to on the food channel.  Greta and Janet Podleski of Eat, Shrink and Be Merry made a healthier version of individual chicken pot pies called Starvin' Guy Chicken Pie that sounded too yummy not to try making it.  I made my version of their dish last night for dinner.

deli bought rotisserie BBQ chicken
Greta and Janet's recipe is based on using a large rotisserie chicken.  This is one of the very few take-out foods that I consider frugal in terms of cost and time.  A whole, raw chicken here costs about $10 in the stores and they very seldom go on sale which explains why we buy chicken pieces rather than whole chickens most of the time.  Whole chicken from the farmers costs us $8.  We can buy rotisserie chicken at Sobey's and Wal-mart for $7.47 but once it gets past 5 PM, Wal-mart marks them down to $5.  Since I needed the chicken for dinner, I ended up paying full price.  It was still a good deal.

rotisserie BBQ chicken deboned
I deboned the rotisserie chicken cutting the meat into bite sized chunks and reserving the bones that would be added to my bag of frozen chicken bones for making chicken stock later.  Not only would this chicken make a delicious, low cost and healthy meal, it would also go towards making home canned chicken stock for the pantry. 

Greta and Janet's recipe did not specify how many cups of chicken, only to use a large rotisserie chicken (light and dark meat).  I ended up with about 3 cups of prepared chicken. 
swiss cheese bought from local butcher shop
We have dealt with the same local butcher shop that my husband's parents dealt with.  They have good quality meats, lunch meats and cheeses as well as a specialty Dutch foods section.  What I really like about buying there is I can buy according to my need.  Greta and Janet's recipe called for grated Swiss cheese.  Surprisingly, or not so surprisingly, the grocery store here did not have chunk Swiss cheese.  This is rather normal as it is a smaller community.  The butcher shop came to my rescue.  The cheese ended up costing $17 and I only used a piece about 1 inch wide off the end of one of the pieces for this recipe.  However, cheese doesn't go to waste here so I'm sure the rest will get used up without a problem.

my version of starvin' guy chicken pie just out of the oven
I started tweaking the recipe to eliminate a bit of measuring and using what I had on hand.  What I did keep was their very low fat added for cooking.  Their recipe called for measuring the onion, celery and garlic but I just guestimated for my version.  None of these would add extra calories or fat so a little over their measurements wouldn't hurt.  I used homemade poultry seasoning and home canned turkey stock which lowered the price per serving.  My home canned turkey stock is defatted as well.  I would have used home canned creamed corn but am completely out so had to buy a can.  I also used a frozen mixed vegetable blend (peas, corn, carrots, green beans, Lima beans) as I didn't have just plain frozen peas and carrots on hand.  Rather than make individual chicken potpies as they did, I made one large one saving a bit of time in the process.

While I modified the filling, I kept the biscuit topping the same (refer to link to recipe above).  I will note that the biscuit topping was very much on the wet side and difficult to work with!  Here is the recipe for the filling as I changed it:

My Version of Starvin' Guy Chicken Pie Filling
recipe by: Garden Gnome

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, sliced
2 cloves garlic
8 oz package sliced mushrooms
¾ c frozen mixed vegetables
1 tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp poultry seasoning
2 c home canned turkey stock
1 c cream-style corn
1 c 2% evaporated milk
3 tbsp unbleached flour
½ c grated Swiss cheese
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
3 c rotisserie chicken

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in ceramic coated (or non-stick) fry pan.   Add onions and garlic.  Cook until onions are just turning translucent.  Add celery and mushrooms.  Cook until mushrooms are tender.  Stir in mixed vegetables, thyme and poultry seasoning.  Mix well.  Stir in stock and corn.  Let the mixture simmer for about 2 minutes.  In a separate bowl, whisk the flour and milk together then pour into the vegetable mixture.  Continue cooking and stirring until the mixture thickens.  Remove from heat.  Stir in the cheese, parsley and chicken.  Pour the mixture into an oven proof baking dish.   Cover with dough of your choice.

my version of starvin' guy chicken pie plated for serving
One of our kids warned me that Greta and Janet's recipes are very flavourful bordering on intensive.  We did not find that to be the case with this recipe and in fact we both found the recipe to be on the bland side.  The filling was a definite keeper but needs a bit of tweaking.  It could definitely use a bit of pepper, more garlic and I would use fresh lemon thyme rather than dried thyme.  In fact, Herbes de Provence would work rather nicely in this recipe.  Both of us agreed that a stronger flavoured cheese like Asiago would have added a bit more spark to the filling.  I would be tempted to use a small grated potato as the thickener in place of the flour as well. 

The biscuit topping was an utter failure!  It looked lovely but that's it.  I was expecting flavour but there really wasn't any.  Even though the dough was horrid to work with and that can be easily remedied, the flavour was very much lacking even though I used the flesh from sweet baked potatoes with that bit of extra caramelization.  It was missing the pizzaz!  Perhaps a pinch of nutmeg or even garlic or onion would brighten the flavour.   The nice thing is, their recipe gave me a healthier way to make the filling.  Even though it does need tweaking it is still an excellent starting point.

1 food lovers commented:

Anji said...

I like the sound of this one. I wonder if a savory crumble topping might go down well with the filling

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