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Video: Simple recipes to delight holiday guests

TODAY recipes
updated 11/28/2009 9:49:32 AM ET 2009-11-28T14:49:32

Recipe: Chicken pot pie with mushrooms, tarragon, and a flaky pastry top

Ingredients
  • To cook the chicken and make the broth
  • 1 large roaster chicken, 5 – 6 pounds
  • Bouquet garni seasoning packet: several generous sprigs of fresh or dry rosemary, thyme, oregano, several black peppercorns, 2 bay leaves, 2 or 3 cloves; all enclosed and tied together in culinary grade cheesecloth
  • 1 large onion, peeled, diced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 package frozen puff pastry, thawed, kept cold
  • For the sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 large shallots, finely minced
  • 2 cups assorted mushrooms, shitake, oyster, cremini, sliced and broken up by hand
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups freshly made chicken broth
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 bunch fresh tarragon, leaves chopped
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preparation

Cook the chicken and make the broth: may be prepared 1 day in advance
1. Wash the chicken under cold, running water and pat dry with paper towels. Put the chicken into a large pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, carefully skimming off any impurities that accumulate on the surface.

2. Season with salt and pepper, add the bouquet garni seasoning packet, onion, carrots and celery. When the water returns to the boil, reduce to a persistent simmer and cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes.

3. When the chicken is thoroughly cooked remove from the broth and cool. As the chicken cools, strain the broth from the chicken, and reserving the broth, discard the vegetable solids.  When the chicken is thoroughly cold, strip off and discard the skin. Strip the meat from the bones, and shred using scrupulously clean hands and an immaculate work station. (If you wish you may now refrigerate the chicken and cooled broth for up to 48 hours.)

TO SERVE:
Pre-heat the oven to 375°F. Bake the pastry tops
4. Use a pastry cutter, dividing the cold puff pastry into 3-inch circles. Cover a cookie sheet with baker’s paper, place the rounds on the paper, and bake in the preheated oven for 5 minutes or until they are nicely browned. Remove the pastry and keep warm.

Make the pot pie filling and finish:
5. Heat the olive oil in a large pot or casserole over medium heat, add the shallots and sauté them. After 3 minutes, add the mushrooms, raise the heat, and cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the butter to the mushrooms, allow to heat and bubble before adding the flour to make a quick roux to thicken the sauce. Add warm chicken broth, stirring in with a whisk; add the cream and bring the liquid to a boil, cook for 10 minutes. To the pot with the mushrooms, chicken broth and cream, add the chicken meat. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the tarragon leaves, and transfer to small ovenproof dishes or crocks (soufflé dishes will do), top each with a pastry lid and serve at once.

Serving Size

Serves 6-8

Recipe: Red wine braised short ribs of beef

Ingredients
  • 6-8 pounds beef short ribs, on the bone, cut into 4 portions for a main course, or 6-8 pieces when served as part of a tasting menu
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 3 cups low-sodium, store-bought beef broth
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Bouquet garni seasoning packet: several generous sprigs of fresh or dry rosemary, thyme, oregano, several black peppercorns, 2 -3 bay leaves, 2 or 3 cloves; all enclosed and tied together in culinary grade cheesecloth
Preparation

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Pour the oil into a wide, deep casserole, set on the stove top over medium heat. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper, add them to the pan, and brown evenly, approximately 5 minutes per side. Transfer the short ribs to a large platter to hold.

3. Add the onion, carrot, and celery to the casserole, brown for 5 minutes to lightly caramelize them. Add garlic, tomato paste, wine and broth to the pan. Bring the mixture to a rapid boil, add the seasoning packet of bouquet garni and return the short ribs to the casserole, arranged evenly in one layer. The liquid should not cover the short ribs, but rather should rise 2/3rds up the hunks of meat, partially submerging them. If it seems like you have too much braising liquid or the short ribs are too tightly packed together, try dividing the short ribs and liquid among 2 casseroles for more even cooking.

4. Cover the casserole and place in the pre-heated oven, and braise the ribs approximately 2½ hours. Keep the meat partially submerged throughout the braising process. Should the braising liquid evaporate too quickly additional beef broth may be added.

5. After 2½ hours of cooking pierce the short ribs with a fork; if cooked enough, the fork will meet no resistance. If the meat still feels dense and the fork meets resistance return the casserole to the oven for an additional 30 minutes, checking again for tenderness afterward.

6. Remove the casserole from the oven and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before transferring the ribs to plate or platter. Degrease the braising liquid, strain it, discard the solids and return the short ribs to the liquid. The short ribs and their sauce can be served immediately; or cool thoroughly, cover and refrigerated for up 3 days. Reheat thoroughly before serving.

7. Serve the short ribs family-style, passing the reduced braising liquid alongside in a sauce boat. 

Serving Size

Serves 6 – 8

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