Okay okay okay. I swear, just one more recipe from My Paris Kitchen and I’ll move on to something else. But this cookbook just has soooo many dishes that I want to make, and the ones I’ve made so far have been a huge hit with my husband, so I keep coming back for more.
I couldn’t decide what to cook for dinner tonight. I was thinking spaghetti but then decided I wanted to do something new and a little more challenging. So I thumbed through the aforementioned cookbook and found Chicken Pot Parmentier (Hachis Parmentier au Poulet), which is basically chicken pot pie but with a layer of potatoes on the top instead of dough. It would make a great fall/winter meal, and it would even be a good dish to bring to Thanksgiving. Chicken-pot-anything is kind of heavy for the 90-degree weather we’ve already been having down here in Texas, but my husband still managed to gobble up half the baking dish in less than ten minutes.
This recipe can be found on page 166 of My Paris Kitchen. I made just a few adjustments/changes, which I’ve noted below.
- 4 cups of chicken broth (the original recipe calls for made-from-scratch chicken stock; I didn’t have the time to prepare that, so I just used store-bought chicken broth)
- 3 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 celery ribs, diced
- 16 pearl onions, peeled
- 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter (you could also use salted butter if that’s what you have/prefer)
- 6 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons of dry white wine
- 4 cups of cooked and shredded chicken (you could use a rotisserie chicken, but I boiled a mix of chicken breast, thighs, and drumsticks that I had on hand and then shredded the meat)
- 1 cup of frozen peas (the original recipes states that you could also use shelled fava beans)
- 2 tablespoons of thyme leaves (the original recipe calls for tarragon or chervil leaves, neither of which my grocery store carries, so I used thyme instead, and the flavor still came out good)
- 2 tablespoons of finely chopped, fresh, flat-leaf parsley
- 1 teaspoon of sea salt, plus more to taste if desired
- 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
- 2 1/2 pounds of russet potatoes, peeled and cubed (this came to four potatoes for me)
- 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons of butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon of sea salt
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1/3 of a cup of heavy cream
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch of nutmeg
- To make the filling: Heat the chicken broth in a saucepan over medium-high heat with the carrots, celery, and onions. Let simmer until the vegetables are almost tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes (this is a roux, which will give the filling its rich, creamy texture). Whisk in a few ladlefuls of the chicken broth, which will appear lumpy at first but will smooth at as you continue whisking. Gradually add in all the broth and the vegetables, stirring as you go. Cook for about 10 minutes, until thickened. During the last minute of cooking, add the garlic and white wine (as I’ve mentioned before, I like to use Savignon Blanc). Remove the pot from heat and stir in the chicken, peas, parsley, thyme (or chervil or tarragon), salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired. Transfer the mixture to a shallow baking dish (I used a 9″ x 13″ dish and that seemed to fit all of the ingredients perfectly).
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
- To make the potato topping: Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until fork tender, about 25 minutes. Drain well. Return the potatoes to the pot and cook over medium heat for 1 minute, stirring constantly, to remove some of the moisture.
- Pass the potatoes through a food mill or potato ricer (I don’t have either of these contraptions so I attempted to approximate the effect with a strainer; that didn’t work terribly well, so I ended up just breaking up the potatoes with a fork; the main thing is that you shouldn’t use a mixer or food processor because, according to Monsieur Lebovitz, the potatoes will get gluey). Mix in the cubed butter and salt and let stand for 5 minutes, stirring once or twice while they’re cooling.
- Stir the egg yolks into the warm potatoes. Add the cream, a good amount of pepper, and the nutmeg. To top with the potato mixture, you can either spread it over the top of the chicken mixture with a spatula or, if you’re feeling fancy and ambitious (my, doesn’t that sound like the name of a terrible alt rock prep school girl band?), you can transfer it to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe the potatoes in a decorative manner over the chicken filling. Using a pastry brush, dribble the melted butter over the potatoes.
- Bake the pot pie for 30 minutes, until the potatoes are golden brown and burnished in places.
- Pour yourself a glass of wine, feed this delicious meal to a very hungry man, then sit back and watch in awe as he devours more pot pie than any human really ought to.