Stuff My Kid Eats: Beet Risotto

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Beets are one of those things that people either love or hate, kind of like boy bands or the Twilight series. I, for one, am definitely in the “Team Beet” camp, and so is my toddler. I don’t know what it is about them, but they just scream summer to me. Maybe it’s because their smell reminds me of cut grass, or their bright color is worthy of a beach ball, but as soon as the weather starts getting warm, I crave them in my salads and pastas. I served this beet risotto to my family last week and when my toddler saw the colorful rice she said, “Oh Mommy, I’m going to eat all of my dinner tonight!” — and she did.

Beet Risotto

Serves 4

  • 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups fish stock, or chicken or vegetable stock (see recipe in Homemade Stocks)
  • 1 roasted beet, coarsely chopped (*see How To)
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • 4-5 chives sprigs, chopped
  • Fresh grated parmesan cheese for serving

In a food processor or blender add beet and 1 Tbsp. oil and blend until smooth, set aside.

In a saucepan, bring stock and wine to a low simmer. Meanwhile, over medium-low heat, melt butter and oil in a large straight-sided skillet until bubbly. Add shallots and cook until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add risotto and garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.

Using a large soup ladle, pour 1 ladle-full (about ½ cup) of stock into risotto and stir until liquid is absorbed. Gradually stir in remaining broth 1 ladle-full at a time, cooking and stirring until liquid is absorbed before adding the next ladle. Continue this process until all but 1 ladle-full of stock has been used, approximately 25-30 minutes. Add the last ladle of stock with puréed beet, stir, then reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, covered. Uncover and stir until all remaining liquid has evaporated, about 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and garnish with a sprinkle of chives and grated parmesan.

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*How to Roast a Beet:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Scrub beets clean, then wrap in tin foil. Place in oven and roast for 1 hour, or until easily pierced with a fork. Let cool, then peel with a vegetable peeler. Cut into ¼-inch cubes. Set aside. (I always roast about 3-4 beets at a time, then freeze the extra in a resealable plastic bag to use later, like in my Creamy Roasted Beet Soup.)

Tip: Beets can stain hands, clothing, cutting boards, and light-colored sinks and countertops. To avoid turning everything in your kitchen red, wear cooking gloves while handling beets, and peel over an open plastic bag set in the sink.

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Sidekick: Serve with a chilled glass of Riesling, Chablis, Rosé, or Pinot Blanc.

 

 

Stuff My Kid Eats: Beer Can Chicken with Grilled Asparagus & Avocado

IMG_9181Now here’s a chicken that has `Merica written all over it: cajun spices, a grill, and beer – not to mention the crude jokes that will inevitably follow once you shove the beer can up it’s…well, can, for lack of a better term.  But cooking the chicken this way provides more than just a good laugh, it keeps the meat moist and raises the bird up off the fire allowing the skin to get nice and crispy it without burning or sticking to the grate.

IMG_9182This is me last summer with my first attempt at beer can chicken, and since then I’ve cooked close to two dozen of these tasty hens. It took me a few tries to fine tune the spice rub and perfect the cooking method, and in doing so I had to eat pounds and pounds of delicious meat. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it. You’re welcome. And an unforseen bonus to my family’s repetitive poultry consumption is that this chicken quickly became my toddler’s favorite meal. When I pull the bird out of the fridge in the morning to start brining it, she’ll do her little happy dance (a combination of clapping and jumping) and sing, “It’s the yummy chicken! We’re having the yummy chicken!” (As opposed to all the other non-yummy chickens I make her eat.) And even better is when I put the can inside the chicken and she asks, “Why are you putting soda in his tushy, Mommy?”

Beer Can Chicken

Serves 4-6

  • 1 5-6 lb. whole chicken, neck and gizzards removed
  • 1 12oz. can of beer, a lager or amber works best (and if you’re able to get your hands on a local brew, even better!)
  • ½ cup Kosher salt
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup sweet paprika
  • 2 Tbsp. cayenne pepper (And don’t skimp on the cayenne, I swear it doesn’t make the chicken too spicy)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 13×9-inch disposable tin baking dish
  • 1 gallon resealable plastic bag

To make the brine and spice rub, combine salt, sugar, and all spices (but not garlic cloves) in a large bowl and mix with a fork.IMG_6803

Place chicken in a plastic bag set inside a bowl big enough to hold it. Set aside. (Folding over the edges of the bag makes it easier to pour in the brine.)

In a medium sauce pan, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add garlic cloves and ½ of spice mixture, about ¾ cup (reserve remaining spice mixture to rub on chicken before grilling). Simmer, stirring occasionally, until salt and sugar have dissolved, about 5 minutes.IMG_6808

Remove from heat and add 2 cups of ice. Let sit until liquid has come to room temperature, it’s okay if the ice hasn’t melted all the way.IMG_6809

Using a large measuring cup, carefully pour brining liquid and garlic cloves into plastic bag with chicken until liquid almost reaches the top of the bag. Fold the edge of the bag back over and seal the zip lock. Place the bag and bowl in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours. (Brining the chicken is a key step in helping preserve its moisture and flavor under the high heat, so don’t skip this step, people! Seriously, it only takes about 5-10 minutes of prep time in the morning.)IMG_6812

Once chicken has finished brining, remove from liquid and pat dry with a paper towel.IMG_6846

Rub the remaining spice mixture all over chicken, making sure to completely cover both sides, under wings, and in all the other cracks and crevices.IMG_6851

Prepare grill for high, indirect heat:

For a gas grill, lift the grate and place the disposable tin baking pan to one side of the grill, then fill the pan half-way with water (this will keep the drippings from starting a grease fire in your grill). Turn on all but 1 burner (the one under the baking pan). Replace grate. Close the lid and allow the internal temperature to reach 350-400°F before cooking chicken.

For a charcoal grill, lift the grate and push the coals to one side of the grill, baking up the side, and place a disposable tin baking pan on the other side. Fill the pan half-way full of water, then light coals and replace grate. Close lid and allow the internal temperature to reach 350-400°F before cooking chicken.

IMG_7251{Note: If you have a top warming rack like is pictured here, you’ll want to remove it otherwise it will knock the chicken over when you try to shut the lid. Which is a big mess. Just trust me on this one.}

Meanwhile, use a can opener to remove the top of beer can and pour out ½ of the beer into a glass. (I strongly advise drinking the extra beer before proceeding.)IMG_6854{In case you were wondering, I didn’t suddenly grow hair on my knuckles, these are my husband’s incredibly masculine hands.}

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Slide the ½-full beer can into the cavity of the chicken, legs pointing down (now here’s where the jokes start).IMG_6868

Carefully place chicken and can on the indirect portion of the grill over the drip pan. You may need to position the legs like a tripod to stabilize chicken. Close the lid and cook.IMG_6881

Okay, so every chicken recipe I’ve ever run across says, “Cook chicken until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165F.”IMG_6886

That’s fine, however, I’ve found that the chicken isn’t always cooked through when I rely on this method, so in addition to inserting a thermometer into the thigh, I also insert one in the top of the breast, like so…IMG_6885If the temperature here also reads 165°F, then you’re good to go. With a 5-6 lb. chicken, cooking at 350-400°F, and a train leaving Station A at 6 o’clock, this will take about 45-65 minutes. (If using charcoal, you may need to add more to maintain heat.)

Transfer chicken to a plate and allow to rest for 10 minutes before carefully removing the beer can and carving. (Don’t dump the beer just yet, because if you slice into the chicken and it’s not quite done, you’ll want to pop it back on the can and put the whole shebang back on the grill a little while longer until cooked through.)IMG_6889

Sidekicks: Serve with beer, of course, and a couple of these grilled sides. While the chicken is resting, throw these veggies onto your hot grill and everything will be ready at the same time. Brilliant!

Lemony-Garlic AsparagusIMG_6887The acidity of the lemon and the sweetness of the asparagus are an excellent counter to the slightly salty, slightly spicy chicken. And the garlic? Well, I added that just because I love garlic.

Lemony-Garlic Asparagus

Serves 4

  • 1 bunch of asparagus, tender parts only
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

In a small bowl, combine butter, garlic, and lemon juice. Whisk until combined. Line a grill tray with a piece of tin foil (you don’t want all those delicious juices to be lost to the fire), and place asparagus on foil in a single layer. Drizzle with butter mixture and season with salt & pepper.

Place basket on grill set to high heat, close lid and cook for 2-3 minutes or until crisp-tender and the tips start to brown. Transfer to a plate and serve immediately.

Grilled Avocados with Salt and LimeIMG_9334Now I like guacamole as much as the next gal, but this is hands down my favorite way to eat an avocado — and it’s probably the easiest side dish in the history side dishes. (Recipe slightly adapted from Bon Appétit) 

Grilled Avocados with Salt and Lime

Serves 4-6

  • 2-3 ripe avocados, halved with pit removed
  • 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4-6 lime wedges
  • Kosher salt to taste

Brush each avocado half with oil, and mist the grill grate with high heat cooking spray. Place avocados flesh-side down on a grill set to high heat. Cover and cook for 3-5 minutes or until avocado easily lifts from grate and has sear marks. Serve with a squeeze of lime and a sprinkle of salt.

Stuff My Kid Eats: Roasted Cauliflower and Goat Cheese Frittata

Stuff My Kid (Mostly) Eats

Now before you go saying: “Whaaaaatever! There’s no way her toddler eats that! My kid would never eat roasted cauliflower!” Well, she didn’t, not technically. She ate the entire slice of frittata that I gave her, yet somehow managed to ferret out every little piece of cauliflower in it. At the end of the meal, there was a very sad looking pile of mutilated white stuff at the edge of her plate which she pointed to and firmly said “NO!” So there it is. That is my disclaimer. My kid doesn’t eat everything! At any rate, the meal was great, my husband and I loved it, and you could easily substitute the cauliflower for another vegetable that won’t cause a juvenile uprising at the dinner table. (Recipe slightly adapted from Fine Cooking.)

Roasted Cauliflower and Goat Cheese Frittata

The beauty of this dish is that the ingredients can be adapted to fit your taste, AND it works well for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! 

Roasted Cauliflower and Goat Cheese Frittata

  • 1 small red or yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 2 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets (about ½ small head), cut into 1-inch pieces, or 2 cups of another favorite vegetable
  • 2 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh herbs (oregano, thyme, parsley, dill, etc.)
  • ½ tsp. whole-grain mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 6 oz. fresh goat cheese, crumbled, about 1 ½ cups, or 6 oz. of another cheese of your choosing (Oh, I just love alliteration!)

Position a rack about 6 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler on high.

Combine the onion, vinegar, and ½ tsp. salt in a small bowl; let sit for 10 minutes and then drain and pat the onion dry. Set aside.

Meanwhile, on a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the cauliflower (or another vegetable) with 2 tsp. of the oil, ½ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper. Broil, tossing once or twice, until the edges are golden, 3 to 6 minutes.

Reposition rack in the center of the oven and set the oven to 400°F.

Whisk the eggs, herbs, mustard, ½ tsp. salt, and ½ tsp. pepper in a medium bowl.

Heat the remaining 2 Tbsp. oil and the butter in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until the butter melts. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until some of the pieces are dark golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat, stir in the roasted cauliflower, and then slowly pour in the egg mixture, redistributing the vegetables evenly. Sprinkle the cheese on top and bake until the eggs are set in the center, about 10-15 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes and then use a silicone spatula to slide the frittata onto a serving plate or cutting board. Slice into wedges and serve.

Sidekick: Serve with a crisp dry white wine like a Chablis, or an Italian dry white like a Soave or Gavi di Gavi.

Stuff My Kid Eats: Lettuce Wraps

Stuff My Kid Eats

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“Lettuce tacos” is what my toddler calls this fun but healthy meal. She loves it when I set up all the serving dishes in the middle of the table, let her pick her own ingredients (with assistance), roll her own wrap (also with assistance), and eat with her hands (no assistance required – except for the sweeping I get to do after she lets everything spill from the open end of her wrap).

Lettuce Wraps

This is probably the healthiest thing I’ve ever made (EVER), yet you’d never know it because it’s packed with tons of flavor, texture, and hands-on fun. I mean who doesn’t love building their own “lettuce taco?” Nobody, that’s who. Another excellent thing about this dish is that it can be served warm or cold. (For cold, prepare all the ingredients, then cover and refrigerate until ready to use.)  

Lettuce Wraps

Serves 4

  • 8 outer leaves from about 2 heads of Boston lettuce, separated and washed (reserve small inside leaves for another use)
  • 4 cups prepackaged broccoli slaw
  • 5 Tbsp. coconut oil, divided
  • 4 Tbsp. pineapple juice
  • 4 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1¾  cups coconut water
  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 2 Tbsp. dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. oyster sauce (vegetarians use soy sauce)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Choose one (or a couple) of the following proteins: 

  • 1 lb. ground turkey or chicken
  • 1 lb. uncooked shrimp, (peeled, deveined, and tails removed) coarsely chopped
  • 2 – 14oz. packages of extra firm tofu, cut into very small cubes

Preparation:

Arrange lettuce leaves on a serving platter. Set aside.

Place broccoli slaw in a serving bowl, then whisk together coconut oil, juice, vinegar, and green onions until combined. Season with salt and pepper. Pour dressing over slaw and let sit for at least 10 minutes.

Bring coconut water and a pinch of salt to a boil in a saucepan. Add rice and continue to boil, stirring, for 1 minute. Cover and reduce heat to low, simmer for 35-45 minutes, or until water has absorbed and rice is tender. Once rice has finished cooking, add mustard and stir to combine. Season with pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 Tbsp. coconut oil, garlic, and protein of your choice and sauté until cooked through. Add oyster sauce and black pepper, and stir until combined. Transfer to a bowl for serving. (Note: if you’ve chosen to use more than one protein, cook separately, wiping out the skillet between batches.)

Place all serving bowls on the table and let everyone assemble their own wraps.

To assemble: 

Fill lettuce leaves with a spoonful of rice, then a spoonful of protein, and top with broccoli slaw. Pick up leaves and eat like you would a taco.

Sidekick: Pair with a glass of Pinot Noir, Merlot, or Rosé.

Stuff My Kid Eats: Pork Medallions with Chickpeas and Cabbage

Warning: Vegetarians turn back now; this post is about pigs. Lots and lots of delicious pigs! 

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{ My toddler at the Pork & Pickle }

My toddler loves pigs. Absolutely loves them! I’m not talking about the cute, little pink guys that appear in most of her story books (although she loves those, too), I’m talking about the kind you eat. Bacon, ham, pork, you name it, the child will gobble it up, no questions asked. During our most recent travels, we ended up with a couple hours to kill in the Kansas City International Airport, and found a real gem of an eatery, Pork & Pickle, which serves, you guessed it…pork and pickles (among other things). It’s located on the second floor of the Southwest terminal, and once you emerge from the wood paneled elevator, you almost forget that you’re eating in an airport. Almost. The menu had a nice variety of pork that spanned from BBQ to brats…and it got me thinking: I need to cook more pork! It’s a healthy alternative to red meat, it’s more fun than chicken, and it gets my toddler to come to the dinner table without complaint. And then, almost as if it were meant to be, the Fine Cooking magazine I brought with me to read on the plane had a great looking pork recipe. I love it when things work out like that, don’t you? Anyway, I tried it out as soon as we got home, and it turned out to be one of the best pork dishes I’ve had in a long time. And my toddler loved it, which makes it a win-win for me!

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Pork & Pickle in the Kansas City International Airport }

Pork Medallions with Chickpeas and Cabbage

Chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans) can be a bit bland on their own, but when baked under tenderloins of sizzling, salty pork, they just explode with flavor. This dish is not only delicious and easy to make, but it’s elegant looking as well, which means you can prepare it for your family one night after work, or save it for the next time you have company. Either way, you’ll look like a rockstar in the kitchen! The original recipe called for using dry chickpeas, soaking them overnight, then cooking them on the stovetop for an hour prior to making the rest of the meal. That method sounded delicious, but, really?! It’s more time than I want to spend on a weeknight dinner (also, my local grocery store doesn’t carry dry chickpeas), so I altered the recipe to use canned chickpeas instead. With that being said, anyone who would like to try the long version gets extra credit – and you can find the recipe here. (Recipe slightly adapted from Fine Cooking.)

Pork Medallions with Chickpeas and Cabbage

Serves 6

  • 2 15-oz. cans of chickpeas, with canning liquid
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 1-lb. pork tenderloins
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  • ½ small head Savoy cabbage, thinly sliced (6 to 7 cups)
  • 6 thin slices prosciutto di Parma (3½ oz.)
  • 6 oz. coarsely grated Italian fontina cheese (about 2 cups)

Position rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F.

In a saucepan over medium heat, add chicpeas (with canning liquid) along with the bay leaves, thyme, and garlic. Heat until just starting to bubble, then reduce temperature to low and simmer for 20-40 minutes, or however long it takes you to prepare the rest of the dish. Drain, reserving ½ cup cooking liquid and garlic, discard herbs. Smash the garlic (it should be very soft, almost paste-like when smashed), chop, and set aside.

Meanwhile, trim and slice each tenderloin on the diagonal into 3 thick medallions (for a total of 6 medallions). Place each medallion on a cut side, and using your hands, gently press on each to flatten slightly. Season on both sides with salt and pepper.

Heat the butter and oil in a 12-inch oven proof skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Working in two batches, cook the pork, flipping once, until golden-brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Turn the heat down to medium and add the onion and ¼ tsp. salt. Cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the cabbage, ¼ tsp. salt, and ½ cup water. Stir, cover, turn the heat down to medium low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Stir in the chickpeas, reserved cooking liquid, and garlic and season to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange the pork (and any cooking juices that have accumulated on the plate) over the cabbage and chickpeas and top with each piece with a slice of prosciutto and a mound of grated fontina. Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook until the pork reaches 145°F on an instant-read meat thermometer, about 15-17 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Spoon chickpeas onto plate, then top with pork tenderloin.

Sidekick: Pair with a glass of Pinot Noir, Barolo, Syrah, or Chardonnay.

Stuff My Kid Eats: Broccoli and Basil Panang Curry

Stuff My Kid Eats

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“Ew, that’s so yucky!” is my toddler’s new favorite phrase. This has been her mantra of late and she uses it in response to pretty much anything she’s offered, be it food, clothes, or a new activity. She turned 2½ a couple weeks ago and has developed an opinion about everything. EVERYTHING! So it was no surprise to me that she turned up her nose at this dinner. “But it’s made with peanut butter,” I told her. She looked at me sideways, calculating her next move. “Peanut butter? Hmm…” She ate a bite, and then another, and another. “It’s very yucky, Mommy,” she said quietly and with much less conviction, then she slurped the last piece of meat out of her bowl and reached across the table to snag more off my husband’s plate.

Broccoli and Basil Panang Curry

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This delicious, easy-to-make Thai dish can be adapted to fit any eater and is sure to become a new family favorite! I usually prepare it with beef (pictured above) and serve it over rice noodles, but it can also be made with chicken, shrimp, or tofu and spooned over long-grain white rice or brown rice. 

Broccoli and Basil Panang Curry

Serves 4

For the Panang

  • 1 13.5-oz. can unsweetened coconut milk (do not stir)
  • 2 Tbsp. Panang or red curry paste
  • 2 Tbsp. almond butter or extra-crunchy peanut butter
  • 5 tsp. fish sauce
  • 4 tsp. dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, sliced lengthwise very thinly
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced lengthwise very thinly
  • 1 bunch broccolini, cut into 2-inch long pieces, stems included (regular broccoli would work, too, just cut each floret into quarters)
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves, cut into a chiffonade (*see How To)
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (from about 1 medium lime)
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • Optional: 1 tsp. hot chili paste, such as sambal or oelek (omit if you don’t like heat)

Choose one of the following proteins:

  • 1 lb. ribeye steak (*see Note)
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (*see Note)
  • 1 lb. uncooked shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
  • 2 14-oz. packages firm tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch cubes

*Note: Place the steak or chicken in the freezer for 15 minutes to make it easier to cut. With a very sharp knife, slice meat against the grain, no thicker than ⅛-inch.

Choose one of the following for serving:

  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain white (such as Basmati or Jasmine), cooked per package instructions
  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice, cooked per package instructions
  • 8 oz. dry rice noodles, cooked per package instructions

Cook rice/rice noodles per package instructions.

While rice/rice noodles are cooking, heat a large, straight-sided skillet over medium heat. Spoon the thick coconut cream from the top of the can into the skillet. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring until fragrant and beginning to dry, about 2-3 minutes.

Stir in the remaining coconut milk, almond/peanut butter, fish sauce, brown sugar, ginger, and water and bring to a simmer. Stir in the red pepper, onion, garlic, and broccolini, cover and cook until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.

Add the protein of your choice and half of the basil, cook uncovered, stirring often until the protein is cooked through, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and season with salt and pepper.

Divide cooked rice/rice noodles among 4 separate plates. Spoon Panang over rice/rice noodles, dividing evenly, and sprinkle with remaining basil chiffonade.

*How To:

Chiffonade Basil

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Stack 4-5 leaves on top of each other.

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Tightly roll the stack lengthwise (another selfie of my thumb).

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With a sharp knife, cut the roll perpendicularly into very thin ribbons.

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Repeat with remaining basil leaves.

Sidekick:

  • If you choose to add heat (hot chili paste) to this dish, then you’ll want a nice cold beer, either an Ale, Pilsner, Singha, or Weiss; or a glass of Riesling, either an off-dry or Spätlese.
  • If you prefer the safer, less spicy version of this dish, add a non-oaky Chardonnay to the beverage list above.

Stuff My Kid Eats: Chicken Pot Pie

Stuff My Kid Eats

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You’ve heard me mention before that word “chicken” in response to “what’s for dinner?” can insight a riot from my toddler. That is unless the word “chicken” is followed by the word “pie.”  As you can see from the photo above, the little stinker pulled a steps tool up to the counter and started to dig in before I could get her plate to the table.

Chicken Pot Pie

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There’s a lot of different ways to make chicken pot pie, and a lot of different crusts you can use; the way I’ve always done it is by filling individual ramekins with chicken, vegetables, and gravy, then topping them with a light and buttery sheet of puffed pastry. Feel free to skip the individual dishes and use one large one, or alter on the veggies if you want (for instance I add broccoli, which isn’t traditional), and if puff isn’t your thing, then swap it out for phyllo dough. Just don’t forget to thaw the pastry in the refrigerator the night before, otherwise you’re going to end up with a couple frozen, unusable blocks of dough that have no business near your beautiful chicken – I know this first hand. (To adapt this recipe for vegetarians, see Vegetarian Modifications at the end of the recipe.)

Chicken Pot Pie

Serves 6

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh thyme, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. flour plus more for dusting
  • ½ cup Sherry
  • 2 cups chicken stock (see recipe in Homemade Stocks)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup diced carrots, from about 3-4 carrots
  • 1 cup pearl onions, peeled and cut in half (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 cups russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (from about 3-4 potatoes)
  • 1 cup diced celery, from about 3-4 celery stalks
  • 1 cup diced broccoli
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, meat removed from bone and torn or cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh Italian parsley, minced
  • ½ tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 sheet frozen puffed pastry, thawed overnight in the refrigerator
  • 1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Heat butter and oil in a large skillet set over medium heat, until butter has melted and begins to brown. Add shallots and thyme and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add thyme and garlic and cook until just fragrant, about 1 minute. Add flour and cook until thick and starting to brown. Add sherry, stirring and cooking until liquid has reduced by half, about 2-3 minutes. Add milk and stock and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

To the simmering liquid, add carrots, pearl onions, and potatoes and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add celery, broccoli, chicken, peas, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, sugar, and salt and stir until combined. Cook for another couple minutes until all the ingredients are covered in gravy.

Scoop chicken mixture into individual oven-safe baking dishes or ramekins, or one large oven-safe baking dish, filling to the top.

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Lightly dust a work surface with flour and roll out puff pastry dough to get rid of the seams. If you’re making individual pot pies, then with a sharp knife, cut rounds slightly larger than the circumference of ramekins. Place a pastry round over each filled dish, crimping the edges a bit and allowing about ½ of dough to hang over the sides. If you’re making one large pot pie, lay the sheet of dough over the baking dish, with a sharp knife, trim the dough to fit, leaving ½-inch overhang, crimp the edges slightly.

Brush dough all over with egg wash and use a sharp knife to make a few small slits in the top for steam to escape. Place baking dish(es) on a baking sheet to catch the drips.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the inside is bubbling at the edges.

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VEGETARIAN MODIFICATIONS

  • Omit chicken and replace with 1 additional cup each of carrots and broccoli.
  • Omit chicken broth and replace with vegetable broth.