Thursday, December 6, 2007

a cozy mystery and a cookbook

I just finished a delightful book that Nan at "Letters from a Hill Farm" ( ) recommended awhile ago. "Still Life" by Louise Penny is a cozy mystery. describes cozy mysteries as:

"Traditionally, the cozy was a British novel featuring sweet elderly women and other harmless protagonists. Now, however, cozies take place in every place and time. The genre is gradually broadening as popularity increases. Most cozies are written for women and are a series, probably appealing to women who once thrived on Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden. "

There's more if you want to read it. But this could be an apt description for why I like them. This book is set in a small town outside Montreal, Quebec. It's picturesque, the characters are wonderfully quirky and likeable, and the book has just enough French interspersed to make me feel like my French lessons are paying off. (Don't worry, if you read the book, you'll understand the French whether you have studied it or not!) This is book one of a trilogy - I just requested book two at the library - can't wait to see what happens next!

Trailhead at "Mountain Time" ( ) requested the recipe for the pot pie I had in my last post. It's from "The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook." I bought this cookbook about 3 years ago, and I love it! It has homey, everyday recipes - that always seem to turn out perfect. Everything I've made from it so far has turned into one of our favorites.
Serves 6 to 8
Total time 1 hour 10 minutes
4 tbsp unsalted butter
3 carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 ribs celery, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp minced fresh thyme
or 1/2 tsp dried
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c dry sherry
3 c low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 c heavy cream
2 bay leaves
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts,
trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (uncooked)
1 c frozen peas
2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
Pie dough or Cream Biscuit dough

Heat the oven to 425 degrees.

Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion, and 1/4 tsp salt and cook until softened, about 7 minutes.
Stir in garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds.
Stir in flour. Slowly whisk in the sherry. Stir in the broth, cream and bay leaves.
Simmer until the mixture is thickened, about 10 minutes.
Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
Stir the chicken into the sauce and continue to simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
Discard bay leaves and stir in the peas and parsley.
Pour the mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish.
If using pie dough, roll it out into a 15x13 inch rectangle and drape over the dish and trim.
If using biscuit dough, cut the dough into eight 3-inch biscuits and lay over the filling.
(Note: the filling must be hot when you put the pastry or biscuits on top or the topping will be gummy.)
Bake until the topping is a golden brown and the filling is bubbly, about 20 minutes.
Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 8
2 c all-purpose flour, plus extra for the counter
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c heavy cream
Heat oven to 450 degrees (if just making biscuits).
Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl.
Stir in the cream with a wooden spoon until the dough forms, about 30 seconds. (Do not overmix)
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and gather into a ball. Knead the dough briefly until smooth, about 30 seconds.
Pat dough into a 3/4-inch-thick circle. Cut the biscuits into rounds or wedges.
If making biscuits (not pot pie), bake until golden brown - about 15 minutes.


Trailhead said...

Yay, this looks just wonderful! Thanks for posting it.

Tara said...

I was wondering where the recipe came from! And I have this book, too and I love it. We especially like the easy marinara sauce, lasagna, stuffed shells, the yellow cake, chocolate pudding cake....And you're right, the recipes always turn out well.

Gina said...

The chicken pie sounds divine! Thanks for sharing :O) Gx

violetlady said...

Kris, you know the trilogy will be on my list. Taking place in Montreal - mais oui.