These have been a long time coming. I started them two weeks ago when I had some free time after work, by making the dough for the pastry and roasting some chicken. I had plans to finish everything else and freeze them the next day for some ready-made dinners sometime during a busy week, but then Hurricane Irene happened and shut down my stove for 5 days.
Not cool, Mother Nature. Not cool.
This also happened mid dough-making. Don't let that intimidate you, though. The dough is not that tough. I am just that aggressive with my kitchen tools. Whisks beware.
The beauty of making- and eating- these once is all the inspiration you get for future fillings. You could go the vegetarian route and fill them with spinach and feta. You could have a make-your-own party with different pizza fillings. Or how about a beef stew filling? Just sub in cooked pieces of beef instead of the cooked chicken. Dare I say, you could even fill these with... chocolate?
Sorry I didn't get a final picture of my plate. I think I was too excited to sit down and dig in. Because seriously, with the leakage (my fault; don't overfill!) and the lighting, this picture does not do justice to how cute and delicious these looked. I guess you'll just have to make them to see for yourself!
Update: At the request of my sister, I served these alongside steamed Roma beans from our garden. The pies in themselves already encompass pretty much everything you would need in a meal (starch, protein, veggie), but since they're small, I would serve them with some extra veggies like a side salad or some steamed brocolli. And if you're really jonesing for some more carbs, mashed potatoes would make an equally comforting starchy side.
Makes 10-12 pocket pies
1 heaping cup of cooked chicken
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1/3 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup chopped carrot
1 clove finely chopped garlic
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp dried dill
2 T all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, cool but softened
4 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup milk or heavy cream
1 1/2 cups, plus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 large egg, for egg wash
salt & pepper, for sprinkling
1. For the pastry, place butter and cream cheese in bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade (alternatively, you can mix this in an electric stand mixer or by hand). Pulse until butter and cream cheese are incorporated. Some butter pieces are OK. Add flour and salt. Pulse to combine. With food processor running, add milk. Continue to pulse until dough forms a ball. Remove from processor and divide into two discs. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or freeze to use at a later time (if frozen, allow to thaw in refrigerator before rolling).
2. For the filling, add butter to a large saute pan and place over medium heat. When butter has melted add onion, celery, and carrot. Saute 3-4 minutes, until onions are translucent and carrots are starting to get tender.
3. Add garlic, peas, salt, pepper, and dill. Sprinkle in flour and cook, stirring to incorporate flour, about 1 minute more.
4. Add chicken broth and let mixture come to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from the heat and transfer filling to a large bowl. Add cooked chicken and Parmesan cheese and mix to combine. Transfer filling to the fridge to cool completely.
5. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
6. To form the pocket pies, work with 1 disc at a time, rolling it out on a floured surface to about 12'' in diameter. Using an overturned bowl or small plate (something about 5'' across), cut out 3 circles of pastry from the dough. Gather the scraps and form into a disc. Wrap and refrigerate. Repeat with second disc of dough. Re-roll chilled scraps just once, and cut more circles.
7. Place 2 heaping tablespoons of filling on one half of each dough circle. Wet the edges of the dough with water and fold the dough over to form a semi-circle. Pinch the edges of the dough together and crimp with a fork. Cut a slit or prick each pie twice with a fork to allow steam to escape. (The pies can be frozen at this point. Do not thaw before baking.)
8. Place the pocket pies on the prepared baking sheets. Beat the egg with 1 tsp of water. Brush the egg wash over the pocket pies and sprinkle with additional salt and pepper. Bake for 22-27 minutes, or until golden brown. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.
Recipe adapted from Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys via Shutterbean