Category Archives: Entrées/Main Dishes

Potato and Ham au Gratin Recipe

White casserole dish filled with Sliced Potatoes, Diced Ham Smothered in a Rich Cheese Sauce
Potato and Ham au Gratin

This Potato and Ham au Gratin is a fabulously tasty way to use leftover ham and stretch it into more servings than could be achieved by simply plating the meat. Any time this can be done, it provides relief to the grocery budget and provides another main meal option. Continue reading Potato and Ham au Gratin Recipe

Chicken Francese Recipe

Chicken Française in skillet
Chicken Francese

I am a huge fan of one skillet stovetop dinners and, today, I am sharing my recipe for Chicken Francese with you. This restaurant quality dish is basically pan-fried battered chicken breast cutlets served in a lemony white wine sauce. This savory dish is easy enough to make for a weeknight meal, but is certainly (at least in my opinion) suitable for company fare, too. Continue reading Chicken Francese Recipe

Rustic Potato, Cheese, and Bacon Pie Recipe

Savory Bacon Pie Served with Salad
Rustic Bacon, Cheese, and Potato Pie Served with a Green Salad

This Rustic Bacon, Cheese, and Potato Pie is simply delectable. As I write this post, it is Food Day Canada, a day set aside to acknowledge all the wonderful foods produced in Canada. While, usually, I celebrate the day with seafood for which Prince Edward Island is well known, I thought it was time that I featured another food for which the Island is famous – potatoes! Continue reading Rustic Potato, Cheese, and Bacon Pie Recipe

Lobster Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

Lobster Pasta Dish
Lobster Macaroni and Cheese

Living in PEI, we have access to fresh locally-fished lobster during the Island’s two lobster fishing seasons, commonly known as the spring and fall fisheries.

Lobstter Boats
Lobster Fishing Boats Loaded with Traps for Setting Day, North Rustico, PEI

The first season begins in late April/early May and goes until the end of June. The second season runs from August to October.

Lobster Fishing Boat
Lobster Fishing Boat Loaded with Traps, French River, PEI

After a few good “feeds” of lobster straight from the shell, I am ready to incorporate lobster as an ingredient in other dishes such as in this tasty Lobster Macaroni and Cheese. This is not your usual weeknight Mac ‘n Cheese dish. Rather, I refer to it as a more extravagant grown-up version of an old family classic. Continue reading Lobster Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

Bistro Style Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

Bowl full of Spaghetti and Meatballs garnished with fresh basil
Bistro Style Spaghetti and Meatballs

Homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs make a super tasty meal. Spaghetti sauce is not difficult to make and this sauce freezes very well so it is great to have on hand when needed. Likewise, meatballs are not difficult to make either and they also freeze well. So, this is a great make-ahead meal to have on hand when the tastebuds crave a Spaghetti and Meatballs meal. It’s simply a matter of thawing and reheating the sauce and meatballs and cooking up a pot of spaghetti. Continue reading Bistro Style Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce

Homemade Beans
Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce

Homemade Baked Beans make a hearty stick-to-the-ribs meal. Add some homemade bread or biscuits along with molasses and a simple yet tasty meal awaits. I originally published my traditional Baked Beans in Maple Syrup recipe in 2012 and that recipe can be accessed by clicking here. My newest recipe, Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce, differs from my original recipe in that the yellow eye beans are slowly baked in a sweet and savory tomato-based sauce giving them a lovely rich flavor and reddish-brown color. Continue reading Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce

Goat Cheese and Basil Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Breaded Stuffed Chicken Breast
Goat Cheese and Basil Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Designed with the smaller household of two in mind, the recipe for these delectable Goat Cheese and Basil Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breasts is easily scalable to the number of servings required. So, for example, if you need four servings, simply double the ingredients called for in the recipe. Continue reading Goat Cheese and Basil Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breasts

PEI Lobster Frittata Recipe

Red baking dish filled with baked lobster frittata
PEI Oven-baked Lobster Frittata

Living in PEI, we are accustomed to high quality local seafood.  When lobster is in season, I try to make the most of it, enjoying it steamed and fresh from the shell with the tender meat dipped in melted butter.

Three steamed lobster on white tray with wedges of lemon and a small bowl of melted butter for dipping the lobster meat
Steamed Lobster in the Shell

Once I have had a couple of good “feeds” of lobster with homemade potato salad and rolls, I start using the meat as an ingredient in other recipes like this easy-to-make oven-baked Lobster Frittata.

Baked lobster frittata with a side salad and a glass of white wine
Oven-baked Lobster Frittata

Frittata is an Italian dish that is a cross between a crustless quiche and an open-faced omelette, probably leaning more toward similarity with the quiche.  The main difference between a frittata and an omelette is that, for a frittata, the filling ingredients are cooked with the egg mixture versus being added just before an omelette is folded in half to finish cooking.

Traditionally, frittatas are made on the stovetop, either completely or, sometimes, they are partially cooked on the stove and then finished in the oven.  However, it is quite acceptable to completely bake the frittata in the oven which is the method I am using for the Lobster Frittata.

Close-up of a bite of lobster frittata on a fork
Baked Lobster Frittata

There are two main tips for making this frittata.  First, use cream, blend, or whole milk but never fat-reduced milk as it makes the frittata’s custard too runny and watery. The second tip is to pre-cook the vegetables to get rid of some of their liquid and also to ensure that they are sufficiently cooked. If they were added raw with the egg custard, they would not be sufficiently cooked in the same amount of time it takes to properly bake the frittata and they would release too much liquid into the egg custard.  Even with the pre-cooking, the vegetables will still have a lot of moisture in them. For this reason, I recommend transferring them from the sauté pan to a paper-towel lined bowl to sop up the excess moisture before they are added to the egg custard mixture.

Frittata is a great brunch, lunch, dinner, or picnic fare, making it very versatile. It can be eaten hot from the oven or at room temperature. Serve with a side of toast, salad, homefries, or fresh fruit.

Baked Lobster Frittata with a side green salad
Baked Lobster Frittata

I use individual small 6″x4″ baking, or gratin, dishes for this recipe.  Oblong  baking dishes that have 1½ – 1¾ cups capacity work well for this recipe as the egg mixture will puff up somewhat and room needs to be allotted for that. If you don’t have individual baking dishes that are approximately 6”x4” inches, you could use one baking dish that would be large enough to hold the entire amount of ingredients.

Bake the frittatas on the middle rack in a preheated oven. It is important not to overbake frittata as it will become somewhat tough and leathery.  This Lobster Frittata takes between 18-22 minutes when baked in the dishes called for in the recipe.  When the frittata is perfectly baked, the eggs should be set and no longer runny.

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Oven-baked Lobster Frittata

Ingredients:

4 large eggs
2½ tbsp cream
Salt and Pepper
¼ – ½ tsp Herbes de Provence

1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp onion, chopped
1 – 2 cloves garlic, minced
5-6 slices zucchini, halved or quartered
5-6 button mushrooms, sliced
3 tbsp red bell pepper, chopped

4 oz cooked lobster, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

¼ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Method:

Place oven rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 350°F.

Heat oil in small skillet.  Sauté, over medium heat, the onions, garlic, zucchini, mushrooms, and red bell pepper for 4-6 minutes, until vegetables start to soften.  Transfer to small bowl double lined with paper towel to absorb the moisture from the sautéed vegetables.

Whisk the eggs just enough to break them up and mix the whites with the yolks.  Whisk in the cream. Season with salt and pepper and the Herbes de Provence.

Spray two 6”x4” baking dishes with cooking spray, each dish having 1½ – 1¾ cup capacity.  Divide the vegetables and lobster equally between the two dishes.  Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and first amount of cheddar cheese.  Pour egg mixture over the vegetables, lobster, and cheese, dividing equally between the two dishes.  Place on baking sheet and transfer to oven.  Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until frittatas are puffed up and just set in the center.  Add the remaining cheese for the last 2-3 minutes of baking.

Serve with a side salad, toast, fresh fruit, or homefries.

Yield: 2 servings

Oven-baked Lobster Frittata

This easy-to-make, oven-baked Lobster Frittata is perfect for brunch, lunch, dinner, or a picnic
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Italian
Keyword frittata, lobster, lobster frittata, oven-baked frittata
Servings 2
My Island Bistro Kitchen My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs
  • tbsp cream
  • Salt and Pepper
  • ¼ - ½ tsp Herbes de Provence
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp onion chopped
  • 1 – 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 5-6 slices zucchini halved or quartered
  • 5-6 button mushrooms sliced
  • 3 tbsp red bell pepper chopped
  • 4 oz cooked lobster coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Place oven rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Heat oil in small skillet. Sauté, over medium heat, the onions, garlic, zucchini, mushrooms, and red bell pepper for 4-6 minutes, until vegetables start to soften. Transfer to small bowl double lined with paper towel to absorb the moisture from the sautéed vegetables.
  3. Whisk the eggs just enough to break them up and mix the whites with the yolks. Whisk in the cream. Season with salt and pepper and the Herbes de Provence.
  4. Spray two 6”x4” baking dishes with cooking spray, each dish having 1½ - 1¾ cup capacity. Divide the vegetables and lobster equally between the two dishes. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and first amount of cheddar cheese. Pour egg mixture over the vegetables, lobster, and cheese, dividing equally between the two dishes. Place on baking sheet and transfer to oven. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until frittatas are puffed up and just set in the center. Add the remaining cheese for the last 2-3 minutes of baking.
  5. Serve with a side salad, toast, fresh fruit, or homefries.

Recipe Notes

[Copyright My Island Bistro Kitchen]

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Baked Lobster Frittata in red baking dish
Oven-baked Lobster Frittata
Oven-baked Lobster Frittata

 

If you have made this recipe and enjoyed it and/or wish to share it with your friends and family, please do so on social media but be sure to share the direct link to this posting from my website.

Connect with My Island Bistro Kitchen on Social Media

Join the Facebook page for My Island Bistro Kitchen:  https://www.facebook.com/MyIslandBistroKitchen/

Follow “the Bistro” on “X” (formerly Twitter):  https://twitter.com/PEIBistro/

See the drool-worthy gallery of mouth-watering food photos from My Island Bistro Kitchen on Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/peibistro/

Follow “the Bistro” on Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.ca/peibistro/ and pin the Pinterest-ready photo found at the end of this post to your favorite Pinterest boards.

For other great lobster dish recipes from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the links below:

Lobster Cakes
Lobster and Asparagus Crepes
Lobster Club Sandwich
Lobster Macaroni and Cheese
PEI Lobster Rolls
PEI Lobster Chowder

Double-crusted Chicken Pot Pies

Small Chicken Pot Pie on white dinner plate with small dish of cranberry sauce
Double-crusted Chicken Pot Pie

Comfort food has an emotional, nostalgic, and/or sentimental aspect to it.  It evokes reactions to the senses of sight, taste, and smell.  Think of walking into a kitchen where, for example, a roast chicken or turkey dinner is cooking.  Can you visualize the golden roasted chicken or turkey?  Recall the aroma? The satisfying taste? The mere sound of someone talking about homemade apple pie can summon both the smell and taste sensation of such a fabulously simple dessert.  Maybe you remember the smell of bread baking in the oven at your mother’s or grandmother’s house.  Can you recall the heavenly taste of the homemade bread?

These are a few classic examples of traditional comfort foods.  They are typically hearty foods (not necessarily devoid of calories) that conjure up great taste sensations and perhaps wonderful memories of special people in your life with whom you associate specific foods or special events.

One of my special memories of comfort food is arriving at my grandmother’s house just as a batch of big, fat, soft molasses cookies was coming out of the oven.  This particular grandmother was the epitome of the typical picture of a grandmother – gray hair in a bun, floral pinafore….and you get the picture.  Even as I write this, decades later, I can still conjure up the spicy scent of the molasses cookies and the memory picture of my grandmother removing the pan of cookies from the oven of her wood stove and her sheer pleasure, sitting in her Boston rocker beside the stove, watching little hands reaching for a warm cookie and savoring every bite.  Sweet memories of simple pleasures.

Small, individuall sized chicken pot pies in little tin pie plates sitting on top of a green and white tea towel
Individual Double-crusted Chicken Pot Pies

Today, I am sharing my recipe for individual-size Chicken Pot Pies that, in my view, fall nicely into the comfort food category.  Getting the right seasoning and consistency for the sauce and a flaky pastry in which to encase the filling are the two big aspects of making a tasty and satisfying chicken pot pie.  Once you have a good recipe for those, you have a good chicken pot pie.

I am often asked if this recipe could be made into a large single pie and then sliced into portions. I do not recommend it as the filling is very creamy but quite fluid (it is intended that way – it is not meant to be thick, pasty, and dry) and would not slice into tidy pie slices much like, for example, a tourtière or quiche would. I think, trying to slice a larger pie made from this recipe would result in the filling flowing out into the pie plate after the first slice would be cut and it certainly would not plate well, either. If you think about it, you frequently find frozen store-bought chicken pot pies available in individual, personal-sized portions and that is the style for my recipe as well.

These pies are filled with a mixture of vegetables and chunks of chicken (or turkey – either works) surrounded by a gently seasoned creamy sauce.  All encased within tender and flaky pastry, these Chicken Pot Pies are the full meal deal.  I typically serve them with nothing but the condiments of homemade mustard pickles and/or cranberry sauce.

Small individual chicken pot pie on dinner plate beside small dish of cranberry sauce
Chicken Pot Pie

Making homemade Chicken Pot Pies can be a bit time-consuming but, if you break the task down into logical steps, the work is accomplished quite efficiently and the end result is all worth it. There are four key steps in making this classic comfort food:

  • Get organized
  • Prepare the filling
  • Prepare the pastry
  • Assemble and bake the pies

Step 1 – Get Organized

Breaking down the tasks and preparing and measuring all the ingredients before beginning to cook will make the work of preparing Chicken Pot Pies efficient.  Of course, the first step is to read through the recipe thoroughly to ensure you understand the steps and procedure.  Make the grocery list of any items you don’t already have on hand.  Plan the shopping excursion to the supermarket.

The recipe is written in logical format, calling for ingredients in the order in which the method is laid out.  Break down the tasks.  Some parts can actually be prepared the day before.  If you need to cook chicken for this recipe, complete that task the day before. The vegetables can be peeled, chopped, and stored in the refrigerator overnight. The pastry can be made the day before and refrigerated. In fact, the entire filling can be made a day ahead and refrigerated and the pies assembled the following day.

Set out all the pots, pans, and cooking utensils needed.  Remember those Home Economics class days when we thought these tasks were mundane and tedious and all we really wanted to do was get to the actual cooking? Turns out the teacher really was giving great advice on how to efficiently organize cooking activities. There is nothing more frustrating than looking for a grater or big spoon just as you’re ready for it!

Before starting to make the recipe, group the ingredients according to different aspects of the pie-making – i.e., pastry ingredients, vegetables, and sauce.   By doing this upfront organization, it will ensure you don’t leave out an ingredient, the actual making of the dish will go faster, and the work area will be less chaotic and cluttered than it would be if several containers and ingredients are all over the counter.

Look for items in the recipe that need the longest cooking or chilling times and prepare those first.  Start with the filling and know that the filling has to be completely cold before assembling the pies so be sure to allot time for the chilling process.  Otherwise, hot or warm filling will break down the fat in the pastry, causing a soggy bottom crust. The pastry needs chilling time, though less than the filling, so make it while the filling is cooling.

Step 2 – Make the Filling

Cooked poultry (either chicken or turkey) is required for this recipe.  This is a great recipe to use if you have leftover roast chicken or turkey.  Chicken or turkey breasts can, of course, be cooked (using your preferred cooking method) specifically for this recipe.  A supermarket BBQ chicken can also be used to save time.

Sauté the vegetables. Having the vegetables already chopped means they can be quickly added to the pan when needed since some vegetables require shorter cooking times than others. It also means that some vegetables in the pan are not getting over-cooked and limp while you stop to chop up the ones needed next.

Prepare the sauce.  Either wheat-based or gluten-free flour can be used as the primary thickener in this recipe.  The recipe calls for either chicken or turkey stock and either homemade or commercial stock can be used.

The sauce needs to be cooked until thickened to the consistency of a very thick chowder.  Add the cooked chicken and frozen peas. Cool the filling completely before assembling pies.

Step 3 – Make the Pastry

The pastry for this pie can be made with either wheat-based flour or gluten-free 1-to-1 flour. The 1-to-1 flour can be used in the same quantity as the recipe calls for for the wheat-based flour.  Other gluten-free flours cannot automatically be substituted, cup-for-cup, so you’d need to know their individual properties, substitution weights, and how they would interact with the fat and liquid content called for in the recipe in order to use them in this recipe.

Here are some basic hints on successfully making pastry, regardless if you are making wheat-based or gluten-free pastry.  All ingredients, even the flour, should be super cold.  Use only enough of the water-egg-vinegar mixture that the dough will cling together.  Too much water will yield a tough crust and, as we all know, the hallmark of the best pastry is a tender and flaky texture.  Adding some vinegar to the liquid ingredients helps to tenderize the dough.  I use one part butter and one part lard in my pie pastry. Using all butter in pastry will give a wonderful flavor and a lovely tanned crust. However, it can be a bit finnicky to work with because it softens very easy and can quickly be over-blended with the flour. If overworked, a tough crust is likely. While lard is easy to work with and will give layers of flakiness in the pastry, it lacks the flavour that butter gives. I find the best combination of fats to provide flakiness, tenderness, flavour, and structure to pastry is to use one part lard and one part butter.  I coarsely chop/cube the butter and lard into the flour then take my pastry cutter and blend the fats to the consistency of large peas.  There is no need to mash it or blend it finely.  Use flour sparingly on the work surface on which the pastry is rolled out as too much flour toughens pastry. Roll the pastry to desired thickness, generally between 1/16” – 1/8” thick.

Hands on rolling pin rolling out pie pastry with three disks of pastry in the foreground
Rolling Pie Pastry

The pastry can be made several days ahead and refrigerated up to three to four days or frozen for up to 2-3 months.  Because pastry dough freezes well, I will often mix up a large batch of pastry to have on hand in the freezer.  Simply divide the dough into desired size portions, form into disks, and freeze individually wrapped in plastic wrap inside airtight freezer bags.

This recipe is designed to be made into individual personal-sized pies, about 4” – 5” in diameter.  These small individual pies have been designed to be double-crusted pies.  I prefer presenting them as individual personal pies versus baking them in large pie plates because the smaller pies stay intact and plate well.  By making them double-crusted, they are easily slid out of the pie plates on to dinner plates and the filling stays inside the two crusts. The filling is the consistency of thick chowder so, if it was made in a large pie plate and wedges were cut, it is likely that it would not cut out well with the filling staying intact inside each pie wedge and, for lack of a better description, it would go “splat” when cut and transferred to a plate.

Individual chicken pot pie on white dinner plate with a small dish of cranberry sauce
Homemade Chicken Pot Pie

I have a supply of small tin pie plates I typically use for these pies but small tinfoil meat pie plates work equally well and, if I run out of the tin plates, I do use the tinfoil ones.  These will often be labeled as meat pie plates and can be obtained at reasonable prices at supermarkets and even dollar stores. You can see a sample of those in the photo below.

Eight mini tin and tinfoil pieplates on table
5″ Individual Pie Plates

 

Step 4 – Assemble the Pies

Place the cold filling in the prepared and chilled pie shells.  Cover with the top crust pastry.  Ensure there are slits in the top of the pastry to allow the steam to escape while the pies bake. Glaze the tops of the pies with an egg wash, if desired.  Use a light touch when applying the egg wash – don’t saturate the tops of the pies. The egg wash will add more color and a lovely gloss to the tops of the pies.  Place the unbaked pies in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to allow the filling to settle and to chill the pastry.  This will help to reduce pastry shrinkage during baking.

Hands rolling pie pastry with small chicken pot pies in the foreground
Making Double-crusted Chicken Pot Pies

Place the pies on one or two large baking sheets and transfer them to the lowest rack in the oven that has been preheated to 425°F. After 10 minutes, reduce the heat to 375°F and bake the pies for about 35-40 minutes or until the filling starts bubbling out through the steam vent holes in the tops of the pies. Using the bottom rack heats the bottoms of the pies, yielding a more crispy and stable crust.

These pies are best if they rest after baking for 15-20 minutes at room temperature before eating.  This allows the filling to set and the pie to be at comfortable eating temperature so its flavor is best enjoyed.

Two baked Chicken Pot Pies on brown background
Chicken Pot Pies

If making the pies to have for later use, freeze them unbaked then bake them from frozen state.  You may need to allow an additional 10-15 minutes for the frozen pies to bake.

Individual chicken pot pie on white dinner plate with knife and fork in background
Chicken Pot Pie

These Chicken Pot Pies are part of my “batch cooking for the freezer” repertoire.  They are super handy to have on hand and make a weeknight dinner easy to pull together with minimal work and kitchen clean-up at the time.  The added bonus is the divine aroma in the house as the pies bake, whetting the appetite for a tasty dinner to enjoy.

[Printable recipe follows at end of post]

Double-crusted Chicken Pot Pies

 Ingredients:

1 batch pastry (recipe follows)

1½ tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
½ cup onion, finely chopped
¾ cup carrots, diced into ¼“cubes
2/3 cup celery, finely chopped
¼ cup parsnip, diced into 1/8“ cubes
¼ cup turnip, diced into ¼“ cubes

2 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced or chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp dried summer savory
½ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp dried rosemary, crushed
1 cup warm poultry stock (either chicken or turkey)
8 oz Russet potatoes, diced into ½” cubes (apx. 1 cup diced)

1 tbsp olive oil
1½ tbsp butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour (or 1-to-1 gluten-free flour)
1½ tbsp cornstarch
2 cups warm poultry stock (either chicken or turkey)
1/2 cup whipping cream (35% M.F.)
2½ tbsp Parmesan cheese, finely grated
2½ tbsp medium cheddar cheese, finely grated
1 tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
1½ tbsp dry white wine (optional)
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried parsley
Salt and Pepper, to taste

2½ cups cooked diced chicken
½ cup frozen peas

 Method:

In large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat then add the butter.  When butter is melted, add the onion, carrots, celery, parsnip, and turnip.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for approximately 10 minutes.  Add the mushrooms, garlic, summer savory, oregano, and rosemary.  Cook 2-3 minutes longer, stirring continuously.  Add 1 cup chicken or turkey stock and the potatoes. Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce to low and simmer for approximately 8-10 minutes, or until vegetables start to soften.  Remove from heat.

While vegetables are cooking start preparing the sauce by heating second amount of oil in separate saucepan over medium heat.  Add the butter.  Stir in the flour and cornstarch (mixed together).  Whisk in the remaining 2 cups of warm chicken or turkey stock along with the whipping cream, cheeses, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, white wine, cayenne, parsley, and salt and pepper.  Reduce heat slightly and cook, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens to the consistency of a very thick chowder.

Add the cooked chicken and frozen peas to the saucepan or Dutch oven containing the vegetables.  Stir.  Pour the sauce into the mixture.  Stir. Remove from heat and cool for about ¾ hour at room temperature, stirring occasionally, then refrigerate until mixture is cold.

Pastry

Ingredients:

5 cups all-purpose flour (or, for gluten-free pastry, 5 cups gluten free 1-to-1 flour)
1¼ tsp salt
3 tsp granulated sugar
2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup lard
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3¾ tsp vinegar
Enough ice-cold water to make 1 cup liquid (combined with egg and vinegar)

For egg wash:  1 large egg yolk mixed with 1 tbsp water (optional)

Method:

In medium-sized bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and sugar together.  Cut the butter and lard into chunks and add to the flour.  With a pastry cutter, cut the butter and lard into the flour until the fats resemble the size of large peas.

In a measuring cup, whisk the egg and vinegar together.  Add enough cold water to measure 1 cup.  Add the egg-vinegar-water mixture to the flour, small amounts at a time, and mix with a fork.  Add only enough water that the dough clings together and can be formed into a ball.

Divide the dough into 20 equal pieces.  Form disk shapes with each piece. Wrap disks individually in plastic wrap or place, single layer, in large airtight container. Place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to chill. Remove one disk at a time from the refrigerator and roll pastry to desired thickness, generally between 1/16”and 1/8” thickness. Transfer pastry to a 4” or 5” pie plate that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray or greased.  Cut off excess dough so pastry is flush with the pie plate edge.  Place pie shell in refrigerator to keep chilled. Repeat with remaining disks.

Prepare pastry for the top crusts in the same manner as for the bottom crust.  Remove pie shells from refrigerator and equally divide cold chicken filling between the prepared cold shells. Brush outside rim edges of bottom crust pastry along pie plate edge with a bit of water to moisten. Transfer rolled-out pastry to the top of pie filling in each pie plate. Trim excess pastry flush with the pie plate edge.  Press the edge of the pastry all around the pie plate rim with tines of fork to adhere top crust to bottom crust.  Cut slits in top of pie pastry to allow steam to escape as pie bakes. For additional venting, prick each pie in several places with tines of a fork.

For pastry egg wash, lightly beat the egg yolk with 1 tbsp water in a small bowl.  With a pastry brush, lightly brush the pie with the egg wash.

Place pies in refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow filling to settle and to chill pastry to reduce shrinkage while pies bake.

While pies are chilling, place oven rack in lowest position in oven. Preheat oven to 425°F.  Place pies on large baking sheet(s) and bake for 10 minutes then lower oven temperature to 375°F and bake for approximately 35-40 minutes or until filling is bubbling through slits in tops of pies.  For unbaked frozen pies, bake at same temperatures for approximately 50-55 minutes, or until filling is bubbling through slits in tops of pies.

Yield:  Ten – 4 or 5-inch individual pies

Note:  If making this recipe gluten free, ensure that all ingredients, not only the flour, called for in the recipe are gluten free.

If you have made this recipe and enjoyed it and/or wish to share it with your friends and family, please do so on social media but be sure to share the direct link to this posting from my website.

Connect with My Island Bistro Kitchen on Social Media

Join the Facebook page for My Island Bistro Kitchen:  https://www.facebook.com/MyIslandBistroKitchen/

Follow “the Bistro” on “X” (formerly Twitter)https://twitter.com/PEIBistro/

See the drool-worthy gallery of mouth-watering food photos from My Island Bistro Kitchen on Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/peibistro/

Follow “the Bistro” on Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.ca/peibistro/ and pin the Pinterest-ready photo at the end

Pin Me To Pinterest!

 

Double-crusted Chicken Pot Pies

Individual made-from-scratch double-crusted Chicken Pot Pies are chock full of poultry and vegetables in a delectable creamy filling, all encased between tender flaky pie crusts. The supreme comfort food!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Canadian
Keyword Chicken, chicken pot pies
Servings 10
My Island Bistro Kitchen My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 batch pastry recipe follows
  • tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ½ cup onion, finely chopped
  • ¾ cup carrots, diced into ¼“cubes
  • 2/3 cup celery, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup parsnip, diced into 1/8“ cubes
  • ¼ cup turnip, diced into ¼“ cubes
  • 2 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced or chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp dried summer savory
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1 cup warm poultry stock, either chicken or turkey
  • 8 oz Russet potatoes, diced into ½” cubes (apx. 1 cup diced)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour or 1-to-1 gluten-free flour
  • tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 cups warm poultry stock, either chicken or turkey
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream, 35% M.F.
  • tbsp Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • tbsp medium cheddar cheese, finely grated
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • tbsp dry white wine (optional)
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • cups cooked diced chicken
  • ½ cup frozen peas

Pastry:

  • 5 cups all-purpose flour or, for gluten-free pastry, 5 cups gluten free 1-to-1 flour
  • tsp salt
  • 3 tsp granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup lard
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • tsp vinegar
  • Enough ice-cold water to make 1 cup liquid (combined with egg and vinegar)
  • For egg wash: 1 large egg yolk mixed with 1 tbsp water (optional)

Instructions

  1. In large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat then add the butter. When butter is melted, add the onion, carrots, celery, parsnip, and turnip. Cook, stirring occasionally, for approximately 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms, garlic, summer savory, oregano, and rosemary. Cook 2-3 minutes longer, stirring continuously. Add 1 cup chicken or turkey stock and the potatoes. Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce to low and simmer for approximately 8-10 minutes, or until vegetables start to soften. Remove from heat.
  2. While vegetables are cooking start preparing the sauce by heating second amount of oil in separate saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter. Stir in the flour and cornstarch (mixed together). Whisk in the remaining 2 cups of warm chicken or turkey stock along with the whipping cream, cheeses, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, white wine, cayenne, parsley, and salt and pepper. Reduce heat slightly and cook, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens to the consistency of a very thick chowder.
  3. Add the cooked chicken and frozen peas to the saucepan or Dutch oven containing the vegetables. Stir. Pour the sauce into the mixture. Stir. Remove from heat and cool for about ¾ hour at room temperature, stirring occasionally, then refrigerate until mixture is cold.

Pastry:

  1. In medium-sized bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and sugar together. Cut the butter and lard into chunks and add to the flour. With a pastry cutter, cut the butter and lard into the flour until the fats resemble the size of large peas.
  2. In a measuring cup, whisk the egg and vinegar together. Add enough cold water to measure 1 cup. Add the egg-vinegar-water mixture to the flour, small amounts at a time, and mix with a fork. Add only enough water that the dough clings together and can be formed into a ball.
  3. Divide the dough into 20 equal pieces. Form disk shapes with each piece. Wrap disks individually in plastic wrap or place, single layer, in large airtight container. Place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to chill. Remove one disk at a time from the refrigerator and roll pastry to desired thickness, generally between 1/16”and 1/8” thickness. Transfer pastry to a 4” or 5” pie plate that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray or greased. Cut off excess dough so pastry is flush with the pie plate edge. Place pie shell in refrigerator to keep chilled. Repeat with remaining disks.
  4. Prepare pastry for the top crusts in the same manner as for the bottom crust. Remove pie shells from refrigerator and equally divide cold chicken filling between the prepared cold shells. Brush outside rim edges of bottom crust pastry along pie plate edge with a bit of water to moisten. Transfer rolled-out pastry to the top of pie filling in each pie plate. Trim excess pastry flush with the pie plate edge. Press the edge of the pastry all around the pie plate rim with tines of fork to adhere top crust to bottom crust. Cut slits in top of pie pastry to allow steam to escape as pie bakes. For additional venting, prick each pie in several places with tines of a fork.
  5. For pastry egg wash, lightly beat the egg yolk with 1 tbsp water in a small bowl. With a pastry brush, lightly brush the pie with the egg wash.
  6. Place pies in refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow filling to settle and to chill pastry to reduce shrinkage while pies bake.
  7. While pies are chilling, place oven rack in lowest position in oven. Preheat oven to 425°F. Place pies on large baking sheet(s) and bake for 10 minutes then lower oven temperature to 375°F and bake for approximately 35-40 minutes or until filling is bubbling through slits in tops of pies. For unbaked frozen pies, bake at same temperatures for approximately 50-55 minutes, or until filling is bubbling through slits in tops of pies.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Ten – 4 or 5-inch individual pies

Note: If making this recipe gluten free, ensure that all ingredients, not only the flour, called for in the recipe are gluten free.

 

[Copyright My Island Bistro Kitchen]

 

 

How to Make Bistro Style Beef Bourguignon

Beef Bourguignon
Bistro Style Beef Bourguignon

Doesn’t the mere sound of the name Beef Bourguignon conjure up the notion that it is some exotic dish you would expect to find in a French bistro?  Guess what?  You can easily make this classic French cuisine dish at home! Simple ingredients, economical cuts of beef, and time are all that is required.

Braising

Made with basic ingredients, what makes Beef Bourguignon so wonderful is the cooking method known as braising.  Used in many recipes, braising is simply using a long, slow, moist heat method of cooking tougher cuts of meat in a liquid such as red wine and/or beef stock to tenderize the meat.

This method of cooking is great to use for cuts of meat known to be on the tougher side because the combination of moist heat, low cooking temperature, lengthy cooking time, and a flavorful liquid breaks down the connective tissues (collagen) in the meat, melting it into a silky gelatin. This results in divinely tender and succulent meat that will easily break apart with a fork.

Cuts of meat suitable for braising are cuts of muscular meats like chuck or beef cheeks, for example.  These cuts from the highly exercised parts of the animal are ones known to have lots of collagen that, like magic, when cooked long and slow, turn tough cuts of meat into soft gelatin that will break apart with the touch of a fork. If you don’t need a knife to cut the meat, you have yourself a dandy Beef Bourguignon!  Using more premium cuts of beef will not become more fork tender than the cheaper cuts in this dish so, save your money, and buy the economical cuts.

Braising can be done on the cooktop over low heat but oven braising will provide more even heating and will reduce the risk of burning the meat.  Braising on the stovetop will result in more heat directly hitting the bottom of the pot specifically as opposed to oven braising where the heat is more evenly distributed to all sides of the cooking vessel.

Beef Bourguignon is not difficult to make but there are several steps involved and some time has to be dedicated to it.  It’s not a dish you would start for dinner after arriving home from work at 5:00pm.

There are many versions of this dish and various ways in which to prepare it.  What follows is the method that works well for me.

Choosing the Meat

Both pork and beef are used in this dish.

Pork

Pork lardons add a lovely texture and layer of flavour richness to Beef Bourguignon..  Lardon is another name for thick, fatty salt pork, much thicker than the thin bacon strips found, pre-packaged, in supermarkets.  While the lardons, themselves, lend wonderful texture and flavor to the dish, it is their rendered fat that is prized for the rich flavour it gives to the beef as it is seared before it is braised.

Lardons
Pork Lardons

I recommend using the lardons over the thin bacon because the thickness of the lardons allows them to keep their shape when fried.  You may need to go directly to a butcher shop (as opposed to a standard supermarket) to get the lardons.  I went to a local butcher, KJL Meats, here in Charlottetown and, as soon as I said what I was making, the butcher knew exactly what I was looking for and he actually cut the lardons into suitably-sized chunks for me!

The lardons are cooked until the fat in them has been rendered out. That flavorful fat is then used to sear the beef, keeping all the wonderful flavor in the dish.

Lardons
Pork Lardons

Beef

 As mentioned, one of the best things about Beef Bourguignon is that economical cuts of beef are used.  My preference is to use beef cheeks for this recipe though chuck also works very well.  Some marbling in the meat is also beneficial as the slow cooking process will melt the fat and turn it into a melt-in-your-mouth gelatin. The transformation is absolutely amazing!

To get exactly what I want for meat, I go directly to a local butcher – it’s local PEI beef and it’s fresh.  The meat in the photographs came from MacQuarrie’s Meats in Milton, on the outskirts of Charlottetown. Depending on where you live and what your local butchers keep on hand, you may need to pre-order specific cuts, such as beef cheeks, from your local butcher.

Beef Cheeks
Beef Cheeks

If there happens to be any excess hard fat or tendons still visible on the meat, remove them.  Pat the meat dry with paper towel – this will help the cornstarch or flour stick to the meat when it is dredged before being seared.  Season the meat with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Beef Cheeks
Beef Cheeks cut for Beef Bourguignon

Cut the meat into rather large chunks – approximately 2” pieces.  This is meant to be a rustic dish and cutting the meat any smaller may cause the meat to dry out faster and it won’t have the same presentation as if the chunks are larger.  Once the meat is dredged in the cornstarch or flour, sear it over medium-high heat in the lardon fat.

Searing Beef for Beef Bourguignon
Searing Beef for Beef Bourguignon

Searing the meat before simmering it in the cooking liquid is known as brown braising. This will add depth of flavour as the meat caramelizes while a brown crust forms on the beef. This ‘browning” will not only add flavor but it will help produce a rich brown sauce.  Don’t try to speed up the process by over-crowding all the meat pieces into the pan at once.  Work in batches and leave some space between the chunks of meat so they brown nicely. The aim of this process is to sear the meat, not steam it or cook it all the way through.

Searing Beef for Beef Bourguignon
Searing Beef for Beef Bourguignon

Making the Bouquet Garni

Fresh herbs really do make the difference in this dish. You will need two to three sprigs each of fresh thyme and parsley along with two dried bay leaves.  These are easily tied together with kitchen string/twine.  Insert 4 whole cloves into the center of a 6” strip of celery and tie the herbs to the celery.  This bouquet will get dropped into the braising liquid to flavour it as the meat cooks.

Bouquet Garni
Bouquet Garni

When the Bourguignon is cooked, the bouquet garni is removed and discarded.

Preparing the Braising Liquid

Once the meat has been seared, there will be caramelized brown bits (known as fond) left in the pan.  This bears wonderful flavour and will help to color the braising liquid.  Deglaze the pan with either red wine, brandy, or beef stock, scraping up the flavorful brown bits. I find the brandy adds a layer of flavour complexity, richness, and depth to this dish.

Some basic aromatics always form a good basis for any braising dish.  Cook some coarsely chopped onion in some olive oil and butter.  Butter (which gives fabulous flavour) tends to burn easily which causes some flavour deterioration.  Olive oil, however, does not burn so quickly so heating it first then adding the butter prevents the butter from burning and yet still gives the dish some buttery flavour.  Add some garlic and just a bit of tomato paste and then, of course the red wine which, next to the beef, is the signature ingredient in Beef Bourguignon. It’s really not Beef Bourguignon if there is no red wine in this dish!

The acidic properties in the red wine not only add flavour to the dish but, importantly, soften muscle fibres and generate melt-in-your-mouth quality meat.  I recommend using a dry red wine. While technically any dry red wine will work in this dish, I like to use a Pinot Noir that has earthy notes to it – it tends to be a wine that goes well with all sorts of red meat.  There is no need to go with the best wine on the market for this dish but I do suggest using one you would be prepared to drink. When I am pairing a wine to drink with Beef Bourguignon, I use the same wine at the table as has been used in the Bourguignon.  Don’t use a supermarket “cooking wine” for Beef Bourguignon.  No, just don’t do it!

Beef Bourguignon
Bistro Style Beef Bourguignon

Slowly boiling the wine for 4-5 minutes will burn off the raw alcohol.  This dish is not meant to reek of the wine; rather, the role of the wine is, yes, partly to flavour the sauce in a good way but, more importantly, to tenderize the meat.

Any beef stock can be used in this dish, either homemade (click here for my recipe) or purchased.  Adding the beef stock (as opposed to only using wine), adds a layer of flavour.  In my opinion, using only wine would make the resulting sauce too strong.  If the first taste I get from Beef Bourguignon is a heavy wine taste, that tells me too much wine was used in the braising liquid. The hallmark of a well-prepared dish is the subtle layers of flavours that build the overall flavour profile and one flavour should not dominate the others in a negative way.

With braising, the braising liquid should not entirely cover the meat; rather, it should cover no more than about one-half to two-thirds of the meat. If you “swim” the meat, that’s a stew and, unlike with the braising method, tough cuts of meat will not tenderize using a stewing method. In addition, adding too much liquid will dilute the sauce and flavour.  It’s also important that the braising liquid just simmer, not boil. Check the Bourguignon as it braises.  If it is actively bubbling/vigorously boiling, reduce the oven temperature.

Keep the pot covered tightly to keep the moist heat in. Otherwise, the braising liquid will evaporate and the meat will be subject to some drying. Dutch ovens are often used for braising because they have the width for the contents to evenly cook and they have tight fitting covers. Other cooking vessels with tight-fitting lids, such as a high-sided casserole dish, will work equally well.  The important thing is to use a vessel that allows the sauce to surround, not completely submerge, the meat.

There are many schools of thought on what the “correct” braising temperature should be.  I am not sure there is one. My preference is around 275°F.  The aim is to keep the braising liquid from actively boiling because the premise behind braising is to let the meat cook very slowly allowing it to tenderize.  High temperatures can result in dryer meat. Additionally, since my recipe calls for a starch thickener for the braising liquid, a high cooking temperature will break down the starch causing it to lose its thickening power resulting in a watery thin sauce.  As a general rule of thumb, or frame of reference, the sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Vegetables

Beef Bourguignon does not contain a lot of vegetables, or varieties of vegetables.  Typically, it only has carrots, mushrooms, and either tiny pearl onions or shallots.  It’s all about the beef in this dish and the other additions serve only as flavour contributors that, themselves, absorb the wonderful savory flavours in the braising liquid.  There are enough vegetables in the Bourguignon, however, that it generally is not necessary to add a side of vegetables (except perhaps mashed potatoes) to serve with the Bourguignon.

 Beef Bourguignon
Bistro Style Beef Bourguignon

Serving Suggestions

My favorite way to serve Beef Bourguignon is with whipped mashed potatoes seasoned with butter and garlic. The wonderfully rich sauce from the Bourguignon pairs very well with the potatoes.

Bistro Style Beef Bourguignon Served with Whipped Garlic Seasoned Mashed Potatoes
Bistro Style Beef Bourguignon Served with Whipped Garlic Seasoned Mashed Potatoes

Beef Bourguignon can also be served on, or with, plain toast or garlic bread which can be used to soak up the flavorful sauce. You want to capture every last bite of this delectable sauce!

 Beef Bourguignon
Bistro Style Beef Bourguignon

 

This dish freezes well and is part of my batch cooking repertoire.  It reheats well in the microwave.

Beef Bourguignon
Bistro Style Beef Bourguignon

The recipe for Beef Bourguignon may look a bit complicated but it really is not if the process is organized.  Read through the recipe and plan your work and you can produce restaurant-quality food at home.  Measure out all the ingredients and do all the chopping and ingredient preparation before beginning the actual cooking.

[Printable recipe follows at end of post]

Beef Bourguignon

Ingredients:

For the bouquet garni:
3 sprigs fresh thyme
3 sprigs fresh parsley
2 large dried bay leaves
4 whole cloves
6” piece of celery rib

2 tsp olive oil
7 oz bacon lardons, cut into chunks approximately ¼“ – 1/3“ thick x 1” long

1½ – 2 lbs beef cheeks or beef chuck
3 tbsp cornstarch or flour
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground pepper

1½ tbsp brandy (or red wine)

1 tbsp olive oil
½ tbsp butter
½ cup onion, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 2/3 cup dry red wine
1½ cups warm beef stock

1 tbsp cornstarch or flour
2 – 2½ tbsp beef stock (or water)

1 tbsp butter
½ tbsp olive oil
12 oz baby carrots
8 – 10 small shallots or pearl onions

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
8 oz small button mushrooms, halved or quartered (depending on size of mushrooms)
½ cup dry red wine

Method:

Make a bouquet garni consisting of 3 sprigs each of fresh thyme and parsley tied with kitchen string/twine along with 2 large bay leaves.  Insert 4 whole cloves into center of a 6” piece of celery rib. Tie the herbs and bay leaves to the celery rib. Set aside.

Heat 2 tsp olive oil in sauté pan over medium heat.  Add the bacon lardons.  Cook over medium-low heat for approximately 12-15 minutes, until lardons are crisp and brown and the fat has been rendered from the lardons.  Remove the lardons with a slotted spoon and transfer to paper towel-lined bowl or plate. Reserve the rendered fat in the pan.

Pat beef dry with paper towel. Season the beef with salt and pepper and cut into chunks approximately 2” in size, removing any excess fat, tendons, and sinew.

Place the cornstarch or flour and the sea salt and pepper into small plastic bag.  Shake well to mix.  Set aside.

Increase the heat under the sauté pan containing the lardon fat to medium-high.  Working in small batches, two to three chunks at a time, dredge the beef chunks in the cornstarch or flour mixture, shaking off any excess.  Place the beef chunks in the hot pan, leaving space between each chunk.  Sear the meat.  Using tongs, turn the meat to brown all sides.  Do not overcook – just cook long enough to brown the beef, a minute or two per side.  Transfer the seared meat to a 4-quart Dutch oven, casserole dish, or small roaster.

Preheat oven to 275°F.

With the pan (in which the beef was seared) off the heat, add either 1½ tbsp brandy, red wine, or beef stock and stir. Return pan to medium-low heat and deglaze the pan by using a wooden spoon to scrape up any caramelized brown bits remaining in the pan after the meat was seared. Once all the brown bits have been loosened and mixed in with the deglazing liquid, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil then the ½ tablespoon of butter.  Add the chopped onions and, over medium heat and stirring constantly, sauté until the onions begin to become translucent.  Add the tomato paste and chopped garlic and stir to prevent burning, about 20-30 seconds.

Remove pan from heat and add 1 2/3 cups red wine to the onion-garlic mixture.  Increase heat to high, return pan to heat, and bring mixture to a boil then immediately reduce heat to a slow boil.  Boil slowly for 4-5 minutes to boil off the raw alcohol in the wine.  Add the beef stock.  Cook over low heat 2-3 minutes. Stir in half of the bacon lardons, reserving the remainder.

Transfer the onion, wine, beef stock, and lardon mixture to the casserole containing the seared meat.  Add the prepared bouquet garni, pressing it gently into the braising liquid. The liquid should cover approximately one-half to two-thirds of the meat.  Place lid on casserole dish and transfer it to the preheated oven and cook for about 2½ hours.  If the braising liquid is still very thin at the 2½ hour point, add about 1 tablespoon of cornstarch or flour whisked together with 2 – 2½ tablespoons water or beef stock and some of the hot braising liquid to temper the mixture.  Stir into braising liquid gently. Regardless whether additional thickening agent is added, return the casserole to oven to cook for 30 more minutes, or until meat is tender to the touch of a fork.

Meanwhile, add 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter to a clean sauté pan placed over medium high heat.  Add the carrots and whole shallots or pearl onions.  Stir fry for about 5 minutes until the carrots are slightly beginning to soften and both the carrots and onions are lightly tanned with color.  Add the stir-fried vegetables to the meat casserole.  Return the lid to the casserole and continue slow cooking for approximately 20 minutes.  After the 20 minutes, if the braising liquid still does not coat the back of a spoon, add an additional ½ to 1 tablespoon cornstarch or flour mixed with 2 tablespoons beef stock or water and a little hot braising liquid, whisked together.

In clean sauté pan, over medium-high heat, heat 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter.  Add the mushrooms and stir fry for 2 minutes.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and add the remaining lardons.  Stir fry for 2-3 minutes longer then reduce heat to medium-low and add ½ cup red wine. Cook for 4-5 minutes longer at a very slow boil.  Transfer mixture to the casserole and cook for 45 minutes longer, or until carrots are cooked and the beef breaks apart easily with the light pressure from a fork. Remove and discard the bouquet garni.  Serve with whipped garlic potatoes, toasted French bread, or a crusty bread.

Yield:  Apx. 8 servings

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Beef Bourguignon

One of the best French classic dishes, Beef Bourguignon is made with beef, pork, carrots, onions, and mushrooms all braised and slow cooked in a rich red wine and beef stock sauce
Course Main Course
Cuisine French
Keyword Beef Bourguignon
Servings 8
My Island Bistro Kitchen My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 2 large dried bay leaves
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 6 ” piece of celery rib
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 7 oz bacon lardons, cut into chunks approximately ¼“ – 1/3“ thick x 1” long
  • 1½ - 2 lbs beef cheeks or beef chuck
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch or flour
  • Fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • tbsp brandy, or red wine
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tbsp butter
  • ½ cup onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 2/3 cup dry red wine
  • cups warm beef stock
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch or flour
  • 2 – 2½ tbsp beef stock, or water
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 12 oz baby carrots
  • 8 – 10 small shallots or pearl onions
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 8 oz small button mushrooms, halved or quartered (depending on size of mushrooms)
  • ½ cup dry red wine

Instructions

  1. Make a bouquet garni consisting of 3 sprigs each of fresh thyme and parsley tied with kitchen string/twine along with 2 large bay leaves. Insert 4 whole cloves into center of a 6” piece of celery rib. Tie the herbs and bay leaves to the celery rib. Set aside.
  2. Heat 2 tsp olive oil in sauté pan over medium heat. Add the bacon lardons. Cook over medium-low heat for approximately 12-15 minutes, until lardons are crisp and brown and the fat has been rendered from the lardons. Remove the lardons with a slotted spoon and transfer to paper towel-lined bowl or plate. Reserve the rendered fat in the pan.
  3. Pat beef dry with paper towel. Season the beef with salt and pepper and cut into chunks approximately 2” in size, removing any excess fat, tendons, and sinew.
  4. Place the cornstarch or flour and the sea salt and pepper into small plastic bag. Shake well to mix. Set aside.
  5. Increase the heat under the sauté pan containing the lardon fat to medium-high. Working in small batches, two to three chunks at a time, dredge the beef chunks in the cornstarch or flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Place the beef chunks in the hot pan, leaving space between each chunk. Sear the meat. Using tongs, turn the meat to brown all sides. Do not overcook – just cook long enough to brown the beef, a minute or two per side. Transfer the seared meat to a 4-quart Dutch oven, casserole dish, or small roaster.
  6. Preheat oven to 275°F.
  7. With the pan (in which the beef was seared) off the heat, add either 1½ tbsp brandy, red wine, or beef stock and stir. Return pan to medium-low heat and deglaze the pan by using a wooden spoon to scrape up any caramelized brown bits remaining in the pan after the meat was seared. Once all the brown bits have been loosened and mixed in with the deglazing liquid, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil then the ½ tablespoon of butter. Add the chopped onions and, over medium heat and stirring constantly, sauté until the onions begin to become translucent. Add the tomato paste and chopped garlic and stir to prevent burning, about 20-30 seconds.

  8. Remove pan from heat and add 1 2/3 cups red wine to the onion-garlic mixture.  Stir. Increase heat to high, return pan to heat, and bring mixture to a boil then immediately reduce heat to a slow boil. Boil slowly for 4-5 minutes to boil off the raw alcohol in the wine. Add the beef stock. Cook over low heat 2-3 minutes. Stir in half of the bacon lardons, reserving the remainder.

  9. Transfer the onion, wine, beef stock, and lardon mixture to the casserole containing the seared meat. Add the prepared bouquet garni, pressing it gently into the braising liquid. The liquid should cover approximately one-half to two-thirds of the meat. Place lid on casserole dish and transfer it to the preheated oven and cook for about 2½ hours. If the braising liquid is still very thin at the 2½ hour point, add about 1 tablespoon of cornstarch or flour whisked together with 2 – 2½ tablespoons water or beef stock and some of the hot braising liquid to temper the mixture. Stir into braising liquid gently. Regardless whether additional thickening agent is added, return the casserole to oven to cook for 30 more minutes, or until meat is tender to the touch of a fork.
  10. Meanwhile, add 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter to a clean sauté pan placed over medium high heat. Add the carrots and whole shallots or pearl onions. Stir fry for about 5 minutes until the carrots are slightly beginning to soften and both the carrots and onions are lightly tanned with color. Add the stir-fried vegetables to the meat casserole. Return the lid to the casserole and continue slow cooking for approximately 20 minutes. After the 20 minutes, if the braising liquid still does not coat the back of a spoon, add an additional ½ to 1 tablespoon cornstarch or flour mixed with 2 tablespoons beef stock or water and a little hot braising liquid, whisked together.
  11. In clean sauté pan, over medium-high heat, heat 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter. Add the mushrooms and stir fry for 2 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and add the remaining lardons. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes longer then reduce heat to medium-low and add ½ cup red wine. Cook for 4-5 minutes longer at a very slow boil. Transfer mixture to the casserole and cook for 45 minutes longer, or until carrots are cooked and the beef breaks apart easily with the light pressure from a fork. Remove and discard the bouquet garni. Serve with whipped garlic potatoes, toasted French bread, or a crusty bread.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Apx. 8 servings

 

[Copyright My Island Bistro Kitchen]

 

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Beef Bourguignon
Bistro Style Beef Bourguignon

 

Chicken and Mushroom Vol-au-vent Recipe

Creamed Chicken
Chicken and Mushroom Vol-au-vent

One of my favorite recipes is Chicken and Mushroom Vol-au-vent. Some may know this as “creamed chicken”.  I actually make up a large batch of this delectable dish and freeze it in serving-sized portions.  It makes a quick and easy meal when all that has to be done is bake the frozen patty shells, heat up the creamed mixture, and toss a green salad. Continue reading Chicken and Mushroom Vol-au-vent Recipe

Chicken and Quinoa Salad with Star Anise and Orange Vinaigrette

Chicken and Quinoa Salad with Orange Star Anise Vinaigrette
Chicken and Quinoa Salad with Star Anise and Orange Vinaigrette

We grow a garden and live out of it in the summer. Lots of different varieties of lettuce are grown and so salads are an almost daily part of our menu. On hot summer days, I love to make what I call a main meal salad like this Chicken and Quinoa Salad with Star Anise and Orange Vinaigrette. Continue reading Chicken and Quinoa Salad with Star Anise and Orange Vinaigrette

Rethink Beef Global Recipe Swap Campaign: Moussaka

Moussaka
Moussaka

I have been invited by www.thinkbeef.ca to participate, as one of ten food bloggers from across Canada, in the Rethink Beef Global Recipe Swap Campaign to promote recipes using ground beef. Each blogger was asked to develop a recipe (using ground beef) that is inspired by his or her cultural background or a culinary adventure experienced. Each blogger was paired with another and the two exchanged their own recipe for the other to try. This posting involves showcasing my own recipe as well as a recipe from my swap partner, Jason Lee, who writes the blog, “Shut Up and Eat”.

Moussaka
Moussaka

I frequently use ground beef in recipes and am never at a loss to come up with meal ideas to use this versatile meat. The recipe I have chosen is Moussaka. This is a one-dish meal typically characterized by ground meat, eggplant, and tomato sauce with a white sauce on top. So, I will begin with a discussion on why I chose Moussaka to feature ground beef, followed by some hints and tips on making this Greek-inspired dish, and will end with my experience cooking my recipe swap partner’s Beef and Coriander Dumplings inspired by his Chinese heritage. This posting has two recipes from two different cultures but both use ground beef as the main ingredient. Continue reading Rethink Beef Global Recipe Swap Campaign: Moussaka

Asparagus-stuffed Chicken Breasts Recipe

Asparagus
Asparagus-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Asparagus is one of the most versatile vegetables, both in the ways in which it can be prepared and the ingredients with which it can be paired. Locally, in Atlantic Canada, asparagus has a very short growing season in late May/early June and it is a harbinger of wonderful produce to come from the land.

I like to feature asparagus in springtime on my dinner table and, for this recipe, I have chosen to combine Boursin cheese, prosciutto, and chicken breasts with the asparagus for this delightful entrée – Asparagus-stuffed Chicken Breasts.  This stuffed chicken breast can be served whole or it can be sliced into 3/4″ slices and served on either a bed of rice or on a green salad.  The latter is quite colorful as it shows the green asparagus stuffing. Continue reading Asparagus-stuffed Chicken Breasts Recipe

Harvest Quiche

Harvest Quiche
Harvest Quiche

My newly-created recipe combines several wonderful flavors to create this tasty quiche – sausage meat, leeks, mushrooms, Roma tomatoes, and a mixture of cheeses. While this savory quiche can, of course, be made year-round, it is especially good in the fall when the tomatoes are fresh off the vine and leeks and mushrooms are locally harvested.

Harvest Quiche
Harvest Quiche

This quiche is a little bit time-consuming to make but the end result is so worth it!  But, first, here are some of my tips for quiche-making.

There are three key elements to a good savory quiche:  1) A tender, flaky pie crust; 2) The right combination of flavorful, fresh ingredients; 3) A custard filling that holds the ingredients together so that each slice of the quiche holds its own when cut and does not fall apart and spread all over the plate.

First, I recommend par-baking the pie shell.  This helps to keep the crust flaky and prevents it from becoming soggy when an egg mixture filling is added.  Time the preparation of this quiche so that the par-baked shell comes out of the oven when the filling is ready to be added.  Allowing the pie shell to cool first may result in a tougher crust than if the filling is added to the warm shell and the quiche immediately placed in the oven.  Either an unbaked frozen pie shell or one made from your own favorite pastry recipe will work fine for this recipe.  Adding a layer of shredded cheese on top of the par-baked pie shell before adding the other ingredients and custard filling also helps act as a barrier to prevent moisture from the filling soaking into the pie shell as the quiche bakes.

Second, use a good combination of flavorful ingredients that are as fresh as you can get them.  Part of the issue with some quiches is that the filling is simply too moist and this can come as a result of a couple of reasons – either the wrong amounts of eggs and/or milk used or ingredients that, themselves, are too wet and have not been drained enough.  Because this quiche recipe uses ingredients that already have significant moisture content in them (mushrooms, leeks, sausage, and tomato), it is important to drain the cooked sausage meat well and to blot the cooked mushrooms and leeks with paper towel before adding them to the quiche.

In fact, in addition to draining the cooked sausage meat, I often blot the cooked meat in this way, too.  It does make a difference.

The other recommendation I have is to use a “meaty” tomato, such as the Roma/plum tomato variety, as it is tends to be less watery than some other varieties of tomatoes.  It’s also important to keep the ratio of ingredients in proportion and to curb the urge to, say, add more sausage meat, mushrooms, leeks, or tomatoes than the recipe calls for as this will add more moisture to the quiche which may make it difficult for it to stay together when cut. It will also make a heavier quiche and the light, custard filling part of the quiche will be lost.

Quiches may be eaten warm or cold.  It’s important to let the quiche rest for at least 20 minutes when it comes out of the oven.  This allows it to set so that, when it is cut, each piece stays intact when plated and the rest of the quiche stays together without the filling running all over the pie plate before the next slice is cut. A quiche should not be sloppy.

Harvest Quiche
Harvest Quiche

Any combination of hard cheese can be used in this recipe so long as it can be shredded and equals 1 1/2 cups total.  Cheddar cheese is pretty much a standard addition to most of my quiche recipes. In addition, I also like to buy a bag of already-shredded mixed cheese such as mozzarella, provolone, gouda, and parmesan to add to the quiche. This is a quick way to get shredded cheese and is the most economical way to get a mixture of cheeses for a recipe.

It’s a good idea to place the pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet as this catches any drips should they occur and it also makes it easier to transfer the quiche to and from the oven.

This quiche is a great brunch dish and I also use it as a main entrée alongside a green salad and paired with a good white wine such as Rossignol’s Little Sands White Wine produced right here on Prince Edward Island.

DSC_0559

Because quiches can be eaten warm, at room temperature, or cold, I often add quiche slices to a picnic basket, especially if I’m preparing a savory picnic.

Harvest Quiche
Harvest Quiche
Harvest Quiche

Ingredients:

1 – 9” pie shell, chilled for 30 minutes before par-baking

½ tbsp butter
1½ tsp vegetable oil
2 small leeks (about 1 cup sliced), white and light green parts only
4 oz. button mushrooms, thinly sliced

1-2 tsp vegetable oil
4 oz. sweet Italian or sun-dried tomato sausage meat, removed from casing

2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup whole milk or blend
1 tsp liquid chicken bouillon
1 tsp. dried basil
¼ tsp garlic salt
Pinch pepper

1½ cups shredded cheese (any mix of cheddar, mozzarella, provolone, gouda, and/or parmesan)
1 medium-sized Roma tomato, thinly sliced
2-3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
Fresh basil leaves and parley for garnish (optional)

Method:

Preheat oven to 375°F. Lay a piece of parchment paper over the unbaked chilled pie shell and add a layer of ceramic pie weights or dried baking beans to keep the pastry from puffing up while it bakes. Bake the pastry for about 12-13 minutes then remove the parchment paper and pie weights and return pastry to oven to bake for 5 minutes longer.

The pie crust should not be cooled before adding the filling so, while pastry is baking, prepare the filling. In small frypan over medium high heat, melt the butter and vegetable oil. Add the sliced leeks and mushrooms. Sauté, stirring constantly, until leeks are golden brown and mushrooms tender (about 3-5 minutes). Remove from heat and transfer leeks and mushrooms to paper towel. Blot dry to remove excess moisture. Set aside.

In clean frypan over medium high heat, add 1-2 tsp. cooking oil. Add the sausage meat and scramble-fry until browned. Remove from heat, drain well, and set meat aside.

In small bowl, beat the eggs lightly. Whisk in the milk or blend and the liquid chicken bouillon. Add the dried basil, garlic salt, and pepper.

To assemble quiche:

Reduce oven heat to 350°F.

Place pie plate with warm partially-baked shell on rimmed baking sheet.

Line the pastry shell with half of the cheese mixture. Distribute the sausage meat over the cheese. Next, add the layer of leek and mushrooms followed by the remaining cheese mixture. Lay a layer of the tomato slices over the cheese. Lastly, pour the milk mixture over the quiche ingredients and sprinkle with 2-3 tbsp of grated parmesan cheese. Add some fresh basil leaves to top of quiche along with a sprinkle of chopped parsley, if desired.

Transfer quiche to oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until knife inserted into center of quiche comes out clean. Remove from oven and let quiche stand on wire rack for at least 20 minutes before cutting and serving. May be served warm, at room temperature, or cold.

Yield: Apx. 6-8 servings.

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Harvest Quiche

Yield: Apx. 6-8 servings

A savory quiche that combines the wonderful flavours of sausage meat, leeks, mushrooms, tomato, and cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 - 9” pie shell, chilled for 30 minutes before par-baking
  • ½ tbsp butter
  • 1½ tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 small leeks (about 1 cup sliced), white and light green parts only
  • 4 oz. button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 4 oz. sweet Italian or sun-dried tomato sausage meat, removed from casing
  • 2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup whole milk or blend
  • 1 tsp liquid chicken bouillon
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • ¼ tsp garlic salt
  • Pinch pepper
  • 1½ cups shredded cheese (any mix of cheddar, mozzarella, provolone, gouda, and/or parmesan)
  • 1 medium-sized Roma tomato, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • Fresh basil leaves and parley for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lay a piece of parchment paper over the unbaked chilled pie shell and add a layer of ceramic pie weights or dried baking beans to keep the pastry from puffing up while it bakes. Bake the pastry for about 12-13 minutes then remove the parchment paper and pie weights and return pastry to oven to bake for 5 minutes longer.
  2. The pie crust should not be cooled before adding the filling so, while pastry is baking, prepare the filling. In small frypan over medium high heat, melt the butter and vegetable oil. Add the sliced leeks and mushrooms. Sauté, stirring constantly, until leeks are golden brown and mushrooms tender (about 3-5 minutes). Remove from heat and transfer leeks and mushrooms to paper towel. Blot dry to remove excess moisture. Set aside.
  3. In clean frypan over medium high heat, add 1-2 tsp. cooking oil. Add the sausage meat and scramble-fry until browned. Remove from heat, drain well, and set meat aside.
  4. In small bowl, beat the eggs lightly. Whisk in the milk or blend and the liquid chicken bouillon. Add the dried basil, garlic salt, and pepper.
  5. To assemble quiche:
  6. Reduce oven heat to 350°F.
  7. Place pie plate with warm partially-baked shell on rimmed baking sheet.
  8. Line the pastry shell with half of the cheese mixture. Distribute the sausage meat over the cheese. Next, add the layer of leek and mushrooms followed by the remaining cheese mixture. Lay a layer of the tomato slices over the cheese. Lastly, pour the milk mixture over the quiche ingredients and sprinkle with 2-3 tbsp of grated parmesan cheese. Add some fresh basil leaves to top of quiche along with a sprinkle of chopped parsley, if desired.
  9. Transfer quiche to oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until knife inserted into center of quiche comes out clean. Remove from oven and let quiche stand on wire rack for at least 20 minutes before cutting and serving. May be served warm, at room temperature, or cold.
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Harvest Quiche
Harvest Quiche

Cranberry and Ginger Sauced Pork Chops

Cranberry and Ginger Sauced Pork Chops
Cranberry and Ginger Sauced Pork Chops

Today, I am sharing a new recipe for pork chops.  In addition to PEI pork, I am also featuring two other PEI products, both from J.J. Stewart Foods and Soda Company, in Stratford.  The first is a new preserve flavor — Cranberry Champagne with Crystallized Ginger — and the second is from their maple mustard line.

This is a very easy recipe to make and does not take a lot of time to prepare. It is essentially pan-fried pork chops with a pan reduction sauce made with chicken stock, orange juice, mustard, and the preserves.  This recipe is easily doubled.

Cranberry and Ginger Sauced Pork Chops

Ingredients:
2 pork chops, fat removed
2 tsp olive oil

½ cup chicken broth
2 tbsp orange juice
1½ tsp balsamic vinegar (I used Liquid Gold’s Grapefruit Balsamic Vinegar)
3 tbsp J. J. Stewart’s Cranberry Champagne with Crystallized Ginger Preserve
1 tbsp J.J.  Stewart’s Dill and Chardonnay Maple Mustard
¼ tsp onion
⅛ tsp garlic powder

Method:

Assemble ingredients.

Over medium heat, add 2 tsp olive oil to small frypan. Add pork chops and cook, turning once until cooked to desired doneness. Remove chops from pan and transfer to oven-proof covered dish. Place pork chops in oven set at very low temperature, just enough to keep them warm while preparing sauce.

Add the chicken broth, orange juice, and balsamic vinegar to frypan. Over medium heat, cook liquid (uncovered) until it reduces to about half.

Whisk in the mustard along with the garlic and onion powders until mixture is smooth.

Whisk in the preserves. Cook until mixture becomes the consistency of syrup.

Return the pork chops to the frypan and heat for about 1 minute, turning the chops at half-time to glaze both sides.

Serve hot with the cranberry-ginger sauce mixture drizzled over top of each pork chop. Serve with potato or rice and your favorite vegetable(s).

Serves: 2

Note:  Other brands of preserves, mustard, and balsamic vinegar may be used in this recipe; however, flavor will differ.

You may also like this pork chop recipe from My Island Bistro Kitchen:

Pork Chops with Bread Stuffing and Creamy Mushroom Sauce

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Pork Chops
Cranberry and Ginger-Sauced Pork Chops

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