All-From-Scratch Chicken Pot Pie

A “He Cooks” post from my friend Mike, who goes a little more traditional after sharing his Fried Beer-Battered Pickles and Five Spice Squash Soup recipes.

This is one of my absolute favorite winter meals. The hot chicken and root-vegetable filling is hearty and warming on a snowy day. There are two ways to make this pot pie:  from scratch, or with store bought stock, pie crust, and a rotisserie chicken. The latter is certainly faster and easier, but the former tastes better, and leaves you with a few quarts of homemade chicken stock for the freezer.

I made this one from scratch, and it has been a hit every time I’ve served it.  Everyone is always amazed that there aren’t any herbs or spices besides the salt and pepper. I think that’s the homemade stock, chicken fat, and rich root vegetables coming through.

If you want to make this from scratch I would recommend either starting early in the day or preparing the filling a day or two ahead and keeping it in the fridge until ready to bake.
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Moroccan Bread

Have you ever had something disappear into the abyss of the internet? That's what happened to this Moroccan bread recipe.

You'd think I'd be less likely to find a recipe on paper…especially since I'm known to scrawl information on magazine inserts or any scrap I can find…but there it was: the bare bones directions for Moroccan bread, unlabeled and in between notes from an interview I conducted and a page of rhymes (knead, read, seed, feed, proceed, decreed, agreed, ID'd, IV'd…vibe, bribe, subscribe, diatribe…).

So that's a little insight into who I am.

This bread, to get back to the point, is meant to be served with tagines or other saucy dishes so you can use it for mopping up all that flavor. I wish I had some tonight. My mom has some Moroccan chicken simmering away right now.

Alas, bread takes a little more forethought. You can think about making it with Saffron Chicken Tagine with Prunes, Tunisian Lamb Stew or Spice-Rubbed Roast Chicken.

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Five Spice Squash Soup

A “He Cooks” post from my friend Mike, who introduced himself last week with Fried Beer-Battered Pickles.

After seeing Brittany’s squash soup post, I decided to make one myself. I thought the distinctive flavor of five spice would go great with the sweetness of the squash. (Five spice is a Chinese blend of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Szechwan pepper and ground fennel seeds.) The five spice was wonderful with the squash, but the soup was a little sweet. I’ll definitely skip the roasting to cut down on the sweetness next time I make it. (The recipe below takes that into account.)

Unfortunately, I’m not much of a photographer, and was in a bit of a hurry to get this one on the table, so the picture doesn’t really do it justice. I also made some spicy shrimp to go on top, but the spoonful of crème fraiche, fresh chives, and pickled ginger I had on the leftovers complemented the flavors of the soup much better.
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Cranberry, Pecan and Dulce de Leche Tart


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People always seem to come up with a reason why they think they wouldn't like this tart. I don't like pecans. Dulce de leche is too sweet. Cranberries aren't my thing. But somehow, everything comes together in a way that just works. The cranberries and dulce de leche balance each other out, and the whole thing is so delicious the pecans probably won't even bother you…unless you're prone to anaphylactic shock upon contact with them.

Anyway, this is a dessert I've made several times since I saw cranberry caramel almond tartelettes on Smitten Kitchen years ago. I go to Argentina often so I always think of dulce de leche instead of caramel. And since my sister is allergic to almonds, I've started to use pecans instead. I also make one big tart instead of several smaller ones like Deb did.

What is amazing about this recipe besides the trifecta of nuts, cranberries and dulce de leche is the rich crust that tastes like a shortbread cookie. The dough comes from chef/owner of City Bakery, Mary Rubin, and it's…divine is the word that comes to mind, even though I'm not the type of person who normally says divine.

But this tart is, whether you follow the original City Bakery recipe or try my version. I'd say Valentine's Day would be a prime time to get one in the oven. It makes a nice holiday tart — I made it for Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve — but, hey, any day ending in Y is occasion enough.

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Fried Beer-Battered Pickles

(This is my friend Mike’s first post on He Cooks, She Cooks. Let him know how much you enjoyed it.)


Fried pickles are one of my favorite deep fried foods. They’re kind of a mess, but pretty easy to make. They’re crispy on the outside, a little soft on the inside, and have a nice, mild pickle flavor. And they go great with a good pale ale or bitter brew. They are great plain, or with a spicy dipping sauce.

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Future Masterchef?

If my earlier post about Mexican Chocolate Cookies with Dulce de Leche didn't convince you to make a batch of your own, then I'll give you another reason. Today they helped propel me to the second round of auditions for the cooking competition/reality show, Masterchef. Well, these cookies and my winning personality. I can only offer the recipe for the cookies, though.
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I have an on-camera interview on Tuesday, so we'll see how it goes. Anyway, make these cookies so you can say you did before I

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went on TV and got big. Also because they're rich and delicious and melt in your mouth.

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