Chicken Paprikash Pot Pies

Post image for Chicken Paprikash Pot Pies

by Abby Dodge on January 13, 2013

I’ll admit that January isn’t my favorite month. Between the post-holiday let down, the clean-up, the frigid temps & cloudy days, I sometimes wish I could channel my inner bear and hibernate until the spring air wafts past my sleeping nose. Yet, year after year, as hard as I try to be bear-like, I’m reminded that hibernating isn’t an option. I am simply human and must forge ahead.

In my effort to keep that darned “glass” half full, I have a  Sunday afternoon ritual. I light a fire in the hearth, turn on some music (Thank you Santa for my Sonos – it’s life-changing and even, at times, sanity-saving), clean off my desk and turn on the stove. Sure, 90% of my days are spent on the sweet side of my kitchen but, during these wintery months, I spend a fair amount of time over on the savory side stirring up stews, soups and sautes. I really do. Of course, my family, used to days full of sweets, usually make cracks like ” wow.. I forgot you knew how to cook ‘real’ food” but their voices are soon quieted by the warmth in their bellies. Their silent, appreciative smiles are reward enough.

Today will be no different. With Ms T headed back to school and it is just me and Joe listening to some tunes (Joe prefers the classics on Sundays but you should hear what he listens to on the other days… crazy.), I’ll clean off my desk (OK..somewhat clean off my desk. judge-free zone, please), and head to the savory side to cooked up one of my easiest skillet stews – chicken paprikash. Sure, the stew is great on it’s own or served over egg noodles but I like to plunk the rich, thick & chunky stew  into bowls and top each with an easy-peasy pate brissee and bake ’em up just before dinner. It just feels more homey and comforting. If I don’t have all for of us humans home for dinner, I wrap the extra, unbaked crock-o-pies and tuck ’em into the freezer and pull them out as needed. Nothing quite like a hot meal at-the-ready.

Here’s hoping your glass is always half full. Cheers.

ps… While this isn’t an official #Baketogether recipe, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t treat it like one. Go for it. Spin the stew anyway you like. Throw in more stuff (beans are nice and so are hot chilies) or take out some stuff (don’t like ‘srooms? toss ’em, I say.). As for the crust, here are a few thoughts. Have fun!

Optional flavors for the crust:
Add one of the following ingredients to the flour and salt mixture:
1/3 cup  (1 1/2 ounce) finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh herbs (be sure that the herbs are VERY dry or you’ll add too much moisture to the dough)

A couple of process-y shots:

Here you’ll see that I’ve rolled  and cut the dough to fit my wide-mouth bowls and I’ve used the butt end of a pastry tip to punch out a hole for the steam to escape while they bake.  Adjust the pastry circle’s dimensions to suit your bowls and use whatever you like to cut the dough. X marks the spot works well too.

I bake the stew-filled bowls on a foil lined baking sheet to catch any drippings. For me, clean-up needs to be easy – I do enough dishes in a day. You can also see how I’ve pushed the dough down into the the bowl. This allows the excess to fare up around the edges. All that’s left to do is press this 1/2 inch or so of dough against the sides of the bowl.