The Ultimate Freeze Dried Recipes: Chicken Pot Pie
Ever wondered if chicken pot pie could boldly go where no pie has gone before – into the realm of freeze-drying? Spoiler alert: it can, and it's out-of-this-world delicious! This article is your culinary spaceship, guiding you through the galaxy of freeze-dried chicken pot pie recipes. We're not just talking about preserving your favorite comfort food for the apocalypse; we're exploring a new frontier of convenience and taste. Whether you're a busy astronaut or just someone who forgets to shop for groceries, these recipes are your ticket to a meal that's lightyears ahead of your average dinner. Keep reading to discover how to transform this classic dish into a space-age marvel!
Freezing vs. Freeze-Drying: Pros and Cons
Frozen Chicken Pot Pie
Let's begin by considering the benefits and drawbacks of freezing chicken pot pie. One significant advantage is that most households already have a freezer, eliminating the need for an additional investment. However, freezing does come with some downsides. Planning ahead is essential, as you'll need to remember to defrost the pie before cooking it. Additionally, freezing and reheating food can result in some loss of nutritional value, and it consumes valuable freezer space that you might prefer to allocate to other items like meat and dairy.
Freeze-Dried Chicken Pot Pie
Now, let's delve into the world of freeze-drying. It's important to note that freeze-drying and dehydrating are distinct processes. We'll explore these differences and also compare how various foods fare when subjected to each method. The standout advantage of freeze-drying is its exceptional shelf life—up to 20 years—while preserving nearly all the nutritional value. Moreover, preparing freeze-dried meals is a breeze; you only need boiling water, making them ideal for grab-and-go lunches, quick weeknight dinners, or camping adventures.
Ingredients for a Delicious Chicken Pot Pie
Before we jump into the preparation methods, let's take a closer look at the ingredients you'll need to craft a mouthwatering chicken pot pie.
For the Filling
- Chicken: Use cubed chicken of uniform size for even cooking.
- Celery: Dice it finely, keeping the pieces similar in size to carrots and onions.
- Carrots: Again, finely dice these to match the celery and onions.
- Onion: Finely dice it to maintain consistency with other veggies.
- Peas: Fresh or frozen peas can be used.
- Evaporated milk: Half & half, heavy cream, or regular milk are all suitable options.
- Bone broth: Homemade bone broth adds a wonderful depth of flavor.
- Flour: Necessary for thickening the sauce.
- Butter: Homemade butter is a delightful choice.
- Salt and pepper: Add these to taste at the end for a personal touch.
For the Pie Crust
- Flour: You can use all-purpose, whole-wheat, or your preferred flour.
- Cold butter: Ensure it's well-chilled and cubed.
- Sugar: Optional, but it enhances the crust's flavor.
- Salt: Use high-quality salt, such as Redmond Real Salt.
Now that we have the ingredients ready, let's walk through the steps to create your chicken pot pie.
Preparing the Pie Crust
- Combine flour, cold butter, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Pulse until it resembles pea-sized crumbles.
- Gradually add ice-cold water until the dough starts coming together.
- Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead it into a solid ball.
- Divide the dough into four portions and chill for 20 minutes.
- Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness and cut it into small circles using a mason jar ring or biscuit cutter.
- Place the circles on a baking sheet and bake at 375°F until lightly golden brown.
Preparing the Filling
- Melt two tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the chicken, and once nearly cooked, introduce the diced veggies and continue cooking.
- As the vegetables soften, add the remaining butter and stir until melted.
- Sprinkle flour evenly over the mixture and stir until the raw flour taste dissipates.
- Once the flour turns golden brown, add broth and cream, continuing to stir.
- Add frozen peas, salt, and pepper to taste, stirring until the liquid thickens.
- Remove from heat and let it cool slightly.
- To bake regular chicken pot pies, divide the filling between pie pans, cover with the crust, and bake at 375°F until the crust is golden brown (approximately 25 minutes).
- To freeze individual servings, fill pint-sized mason jars with filling, add pie crust, and freeze. Defrost overnight, then bake at 350°F until heated through and golden brown.
Freeze-Drying Chicken Pot Pie
To freeze-dry individual servings, load the dehydrator trays with filling and pie crusts. Freeze-dry them completely, then crumble the filling into pint-sized mason jars. Add an oxygen absorber to each jar and seal with a two-part canning lid. To enjoy, boil approximately one cup of water, add it to the jar, and let it absorb the water for a few minutes before indulging.
In this guide, we've explored two fantastic methods to enjoy chicken pot pie—freezing and freeze-drying. Both approaches offer unique advantages, allowing you to savor this comforting meal at your convenience. Whether you prefer the practicality of freezing or the longevity of freeze-drying, the choice is yours. Whichever path you choose, you're in for a delightful culinary experience that's always within reach.
So, why wait? Dive into the world of chicken pot pie versatility and savor this beloved comfort food whenever the craving strikes. Bon appétit!
*Note: Nutritional values mentioned are approximate and may vary based on ingredients used.*
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the main advantage of freeze-drying over freezing?
The primary advantage of freeze-drying is its remarkable shelf life of up to 20 years while preserving nutritional value.
Can I freeze-dry a wide variety of foods?
Yes, freeze-drying is versatile and suitable for preserving a wide range of foods.
Are there any downsides to freeze-drying?
The initial investment in a freeze-dryer can be significant, but it pays off in terms of convenience, flavor, and ease of use over time.
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