Gumbo Weather

In South Louisiana, at least the area in which I was privileged to live for a few years, there’s an actual season called “Gumbo Weather.”

It begins around November when temperatures start to drop and continues well into February, or at least until many Cajuns strut their gumbo prowess on Super Bowl weekend. You won’t find the official dates on most calendars but for people like me it just symbolizes that glorious time during cooler months when you’re yearning for some comfort food and when turning on the stove doesn’t also necessitate turning on the air conditioner.

In the 1901 Picayune Creole Cookbook a reference is made to “the occult science of making a good ‘Gombo a’ la Creole.'” Despite this rather off-putting assumption, no voodoo, sorcery, and certainly no culinary degree is required. A good gumbo though, can feel a lot like magic.

For me, learning to make gumbo involved a lot of trial and error- mostly error, but thankfully my foibles are not our focus here.

Typically a Cajun gumbo starts with a dark roux, carefully tended at very low temps with constant stirring- and that’s constant with a capital D-O N-O-T S-T-O-P. It definitely requires patience if not any particular culinary skill. If you think you might need to answer your phone in the other room or if, heaven forbid, you may need to go to the bathroom, you do not need to be starting on a dark roux.

In contrast, a Creole gumbo might be made with a much lighter, thinner roux requiring just a bit of oil and flour and very little stirring time.

If the thought of making a roux makes you sweat and slightly twitchy, I recommend a great little product called Tony Chachere’s Instant Roux mix. It can become your best friend if making a roux from scratch is not in your wheelhouse. There are actually lots of other sources for ready-made roux , some frozen, some jarred. All easy. All non-anxiety producing.

Just don’t disclose to a real Cajun Mamaw that you had some help from Mr. Chachere or a jar. That way no one gets hurt, and we all eat gumbo anyway.

You’ll find at least a million recipes out there for gumbo-one for every cook who decides to make one. You’ve got your chicken, sausage, shrimp, duck, and all kind of iterations and combinations hereto. The debate rages strong on whether okra is a mandatory ingredient, and some cooks wouldn’t think of serving their gumbo without offering a little potato salad to eat along with it. I prefer mine over rice, am not opposed to throwing in some okra if I have it, and don’t mind a little gumbo file’ (dried sassafras leaves) to sprinkle over the top.

In my opinion a couple of things are non-negotiable: 1. the roux, and 2. the “holy trinity” of chopped onion, bell pepper and celery. These are what make gumbo taste like gumbo and not like soup, and are probably the “occult science” thing alluded to back in 1901.

Whatever your preference, whatever the recipe, there’s a gumbo out there for you- and bonus- it tastes even better the next day!

Here’s my favorite:

Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo

Luann at Hobnob Kitchen

  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper (sometimes I use orange instead), chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped
  • 6-7 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 or 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 (15 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes
  • 3 links andouille sausage, sliced in 1/4-inch thick rounds, browned and drained on paper towels
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp (I always slice mine in half bilaterally)
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped parsley
  • File powder, for serving

Directions

  • Slice the sausage into 1/4 inch thick rounds and brown (in a bit of oil) in a skillet. Drain on paper towels, and set aside.
  • Make a dark roux: Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. When oil begins to smoke, whisk in flour. Continue to whisk constantly until mixture is a rich brown color. Be careful not to produce specks of black. That means the flour is burning. If specks appear you must start over. When roux is dark peanut-butter colored, add onions, celery and bell pepper.
  • Stir mixture until the vegetables are softened. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the stock and the can of tomatoes (juice included) , the Worcestershire, hot sauce, and cayenne. Season lightly with salt and pepper and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the bay leaves and thyme and simmer about 30 minutes. Stir in the sausage and simmer for another 15 minutes. Stir in shrimp. Cook just until shrimp is opaque. Turn off the heat.
  • Serve over rice with a sprinkling of green onions, parsley, and file powder

Mexican Street Corn

Raise your hand if you think Mondays are hard.

Raise your hand if the last thing you can muster up on a Monday is any kind of culinary creativity when dinnertime comes around.

Raise your hand if everyone (most urgently, you) is still gonna need to eat no matter how tired and un-creative you feel.

How about an absolutely delicious side dish that takes 5 minutes to prepare. Really. This Mexican Street Corn is so fast, so easy, and so scrumptious that you, like me, may be tempted to make this for your lunch and then proceed to eat it while standing at your kitchen island.

See. We’re really so much alike!

This is also great as a dip with chips, or you could go really crazy and brown and drain a little chorizo and stir it right in.

You’ll just love it, promise.

Start your week off right and enjoy!

Mexican Street Corn

Luann at Hobnob Kitchen

Ingredients

1 (16 oz.) bag frozen corn (thawed) or 3 ½-4 cups fresh corn off the cob

4 T. butter

½ tsp. Mexican oregano

1 tsp. chili powder (I use New Mexican chili powder)

½ tsp. coarsely ground black pepper

½ tsp. salt

¼ c. coarsely chopped cilantro

(plus a little more for topping)

½ c. crumbled feta cheese (plus a little more for topping)

3 green onions, chopped (both white and green parts)

¼ c. good mayo (I highly recommend using Duke’s)

Directions

Melt the butter in a large, heavy skillet. Pour in the corn and stir over medium heat until the corn starts to get just a little brown. Add the oregano, chili powder, salt and pepper and stir about 3 minutes.

Turn off the heat. Add the feta, the green onions and cilantro. Stir. Add the mayo. Stir.

That’s it. Really! Top with more feta, a little chili powder, and cilantro.

What are you Celebrating?

It’s easy to decide on any given day that there’s truly nothing to celebrate at all.

The weather’s gloomy.

The political climate is gloomy.

Everyone seems unhappy with everyone else.

But when it comes right down to it, we get to choose, every single day, whether we’ll celebrate or give into the gloominess. Whether we’ll allow ourselves to get sucked under by the comments, the pictures, the conflict, and the unhappiness. Or, if we’ll make the effort to look around and see all the things (large or small) that we have to be so very grateful for and plan a celebration (large or small) because of those things!

Yesterday, in this house, we celebrated 2 wonderful things with a Skillet Cookie (I used this recipe https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/skillet-cookie-sundae-2407226)

  1. The oven is fixed! The part came in early and the awesome technician said he knew how distraught I was about having no oven, so he worked me into his already packed schedule yesterday afternoon. I may have hugged him.
  2. My sweet husband came home from a fun ski trip with his HS buddies. They go each year on Super Bowl weekend and have such a good time. This time they were in Vail,
Thanks for sharing the picture Herb!

and after 4 long days, I’m not sure who was happier to have him walk in the door, me or Hootie!

These certainly aren’t earth-shattering things to most of you, but they were BIG things around here- JT’s homecoming outranking the oven repair, of course. I bet, if you try, you’ll find some equally BIG things to celebrate yourself.

I challenge you- and you don’t have to cook anything to do it. Plop a scoop of ice cream on an Oreo, add some sprinkles and get to celebrating.

I’d love to here what you decide to “party” about- drop a comment in FB or Instagram and let’s fight back against the gloominess!

Lu

Beignets

Years ago, as a young wife, I left Texas and most everyone I knew to move to the small Louisiana oil town of Morgan City. To me, Morgan City was absolutely in the middle of nowhere. It was most decidedly not in the middle of everything” as the Chamber of Commerce liked to advertise, touting it’s location” approximately 70 miles west of New Orleans, 60 miles south of Baton Rouge and 60 miles east of Lafayette on scenic Highway 90“. But I fell in love with our adorable little blue Victorian home, the huge live oaks dripping with moss, and the Atchafalaya River in my backyard. Literally. In my backyard. Along with the requisite alligators, which is another story for another time.

Less than two weeks after the big move I discovered I was expecting my first child (surprise!) and just 15 months after welcoming my first son, I was once again racing the “60 miles up scenic Highway 90” to Lafayette to give birth to my second son (Whew!) So, (as new parents everywhere will understand) I was just a bit busy for the first 2 or 3 years after being dropped smack dab in deep, deep Cajun Country.

Childbirth, especially twice in 15 months, and then the subsequent craziness of caring for 2 little boys, quite possibly fried a large majority of my brain cells. Yes, I’m pretty sure I was smarter once upon a time, but I wouldn’t trade that lost gray matter for anything in the world.

Although a lot of my time in Louisiana was lost in a blur of baby love and diapers and cleaning and painful Lego foot injuries, there are two things that are forever stored in my memory about that time and place:

  1. The Cajun dialect. That accent. The pure joy I got from hearing my authentically Cajun neighbors talk. Still, to this day, if I hear a Cajun accent in a store, a mall, a football stadium, a bathroom!, I’ll stop and beg the person to talk to me. It’s probably a bit scary for the other person, but still, it’s absolute heaven for me.
  2. The FOOD. Oh my gosh, the food. Things I had never even heard of, much less tasted before I got there, became the food of my soul. Gumbo, jambalaya, etouffee, the po-boys! I could go on and on.

It was at the famous Cafe du Monde in New Orleans where I first tasted a beignet, and it was, as popularly advertised, insanely good. Practically transcendental. The fact that I came perilously close to death from aspirating powdered sugar, fades in comparison to the delight of the unforgettable first bite of that sugar-coated billowy nugget of fried dough.

While technically not Cajun, “beignet” is a french term for simple fried pastry. The origins of this tasty sweet can be traced back to ancient Rome, and it has evolved into various forms.

I’ve enjoyed a lot of beignets since that first trip to Cafe du Monde, some maybe even tastier than that first one (it’s hard to tell when you’re swooning), and they remain one of my favorite sweet indulgences.

So occasionally, when you’ve been betrayed by your oven, yet you’re craving something sweet and bread-y for breakfast, and a trip to New Orleans seems like a lot of trouble (I mean I’d have to change out of my pj’s and all, maybe brush my teeth…), and the time required to make an authentic yeast-risen beignet seems like an eternity, then you make a faux version of your favorite using puff pastry.

It couldn’t be smpler.

Here’s how you do it.

Puff Pastry Beignets

Ingredients:

One sheet puff pastry

about 3-4 cups vegetable or canola oil

powdered sugar

Directions

Here’s all it takes, really.

1.Heat about 3-4 cups of oil (vegetable or canola) over med-high heat.

2. Remove a puff pastry sheet from the freezer. Let it thaw long enough that you can easily unfold the sheet. Cut it into approximately 12 squares.

3. While the dough is still pretty cold drop a few at a time in the hot oil and fry (turning to make sure it cooks evenly) until golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

**Friendly warning- if you let the dough get too warm before frying, all kinds of weird things will happen- the layers of the pastry literally fall apart and make a mess. Ditto if your oil is not hot enough!

Enjoy!!

Ovens Have Feelings Too

I assume all of you, like me, talk to your appliances.

“Way to go Dishwasher, these glasses look great!”

“Hello Fridge, don’t tell Washer and Dryer, but you’re my favorite. Really you are.”

Even Little Toaster gets a high five and verbal affirmation when he doesn’t burn my bagel.

Sadly, though, my last few conversations with Oven have been less pleasant.

“Are you kidding me Oven? I have people here. People who don’t eat raw fish. People who are not hip. Pull yourself together and focus. Remember last Thursday? You were at 400 degrees for three hours straight and you barely broke a sweat.”

“Is 375 just too much to ask?”

“Oven…You’re embarrassing me in front of my friends.”

I know it sounds harsh, but In my defense I didn’t know that Oven was actually suffering from a physical ailment, not just being obstinate (although I’ve seen this attitude before).

The oven is so sick, in fact, that we must wait 2 weeks for its replacement part.

No baking for two weeks. No heart or lip-shaped Valentine cookies. No cakes. No fun.

No casseroles, cinnamon rolls, or bread puddings.

No broiled veggies.

We shall surely starve.

Oh I suppose we could pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and cook yummy things on the stovetop and in the microwave. People in other cultures have survived for years without ovens. But how? Why?

Anyway, we’ll make it. We will. We’ll be creative, if not just plain desperate.

We’ll boil and fry! Saute and stir!

Just you wait world, we can do this….

Please send help.

Lu

If I Were Italian

Let’s see…Well first, I suppose, I might have long, luxuriously thick dark hair.

And beautiful, glowing olive skin. Maybe I’d be thin. And leggy.

Yes!

I’d be fiery, mysterious, and sultry. I’d have the most glorious accent- I’d sing opera!!

But wait. I’m not Italian. Not even a tiny bit. I haven’t even watched The Godfather in it’s entirety, for Pete’s sake.

My hair’s pretty thick, but all those other things? Nada. Or should I say niente?

My point is, though, If I were Italian I’d want this soup served at my wedding. Or at someone’s wedding. Or maybe at breakfast.

More to the point (Italian or not) you’re just going to want to eat this. At a wedding, or just on a Tuesday.

Whichever comes first. It truly is so, so good.

At first glance it looks like a lot of ingredients, but it’s really not. And wanna know a secret? If you’re a hesitant cook and not particularly confident in your skills? Soup is definitely a forgiving recipe to start (and end!) with. There are seriously all kinds of tweaks you can make. Adjustments and substitution possibilities abound.

Last, let me take an opportunity again to encourage you all to go out and buy these if you haven’t already.

This stuff is the absolute best for adding all day long, slow-cooked flavor and goodness to so many things. I use it all the time. I promise you’ll thank me!

Here’s my recipe- Whether you’re fancy and Italian, or if you’re like me and your people just wandered over from Alabama, I hope you make it soon!

Italian Wedding Soup

Luann at Hobnob Kitchen

Ingredients

For the meatballs:

1 pound bulk Italian sausage (sweet)

1 pound ground chuck

2/3 cup breadcrumbs ( I use Progresso)

2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan

3 tablespoons milk

1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the soup:

2 tablespoons olive oil

3/4c- 1 cup minced onion

1 cup diced carrots (about 3 carrots)

3/4 cup diced celery (2 stalks)

1T. Better than Bouillon Chicken Base flavor (I use the reduced sodium version)

1 t. Better than Bouillon Garlic Base flavor

6-8 cups chicken stock

1 cup white wine

1 cup orzo

1/4 cup minced fresh dill or 1 T. dried dill

8-10 ounces baby spinach, washed and stems removed

Directions

  1. For the meatballs, place the ground chuck, sausage, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley,  Parmesan, milk, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl and combine gently with clean hands. Measuring with a small cookie scoop roll 1 to 1 1/4-inch meatballs and panfry for around 5-6 minutes or until brown on all sides. Drain on paper towels.(You should have about 40 meatballs. (They don’t have to be perfectly round.)

Note: If  you’d prefer, form the meatballs, place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.

  • Meanwhile, for the soup, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock and wine, and both flavors of the Better than Bouillon and bring to a boil. Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs to the soup and simmer for 1 minute. Taste for salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for 1 minute, until the spinach is just wilted.
  • Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan.

Free Style

I’m a cookbook junkie.

It’s probably a little shameful, but I keep acquiring more. I read them like novels, devouring the background stories on the recipes, interesting cuisines, and most importantly the cooks who write them. I have good ones and bad ones. Some are tattered and stained from frequent use, others barely used and relegated to a fairly inaccessible shelf in the bookcase. Many I’ve read through word-by-word more than once. A few I might try to grab in case of a fire. I would probably suggest that JT grab some too, but he’d likely be too busy saving all his Made in the USA vintage tools.

Priorities I guess.

Recently I got a new cookbook written by a TV chef whom I really like. I’ve watched her shows for years and find her personable and unassuming. She’s known for making meals in just 30 minutes! , and I’ve enjoyed the book immensely- she includes lots of personal anecdotes, which I love.

Chances are, though, I won’t try many of the recipes because the ingredient lists go on for days, most including things I wouldn’t normally buy or even be able to find. I can only imagine how intimidating this could be for a newbie just trying to get started cooking. Or anyone who doesn’t have the time or energy (much less the dollars) to come up with all the those ingredients. Have you ever shied away from a recipe because it seemed too complex? Where does one find a sheet of pork belly fat anyway?

This girlfriend would likely give up and make a bologna sandwich instead.

Trust me, though, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to cook. You don’t need to be a TV chef, author (or even be able to decipher) a cookbook.

Coincidentally (and thankfully) you don’t even need to be particularly smart.

Anyone can cook. I mean what’s the worst that could happen? OK, besides the whole fire and burning thing?

Here’s what I did last night: No recipe involved.

I cut a few thin- skinned potatoes into bitesize pieces and put them in a skillet, covering them with water, boiling them until the water was gone (this almost cooks them through and softens them up). Then, I added some olive oil, minced garlic, a few raw asparagus spears (chopped) , some kale, and a few little tomatoes cut in half. That’s it. These were just things hanging in my fridge without a purpose for their lives.

Stir until all the veggies seem cooked then season with salt and pepper to taste. Imagine all the endless variations… I topped mine with some salmon left over from Sunday night’s dinner.

It looked great and tasted even better.

You don’t need one cookbook much less 500 or so.

Just your imagination will do.

Mandarin Orange Cake

Do you ever do things just to spite yourself? I know that sounds awful and very un-self-healthy and all, but really.

Let’s say you’ve been working outside at the farm fixing fence all morning. Well, to be more clear, you have handed things to the main fence-fixer and gotten yourself wrapped up in the darn wire innumerable times. Oh, and you’re having a great time because freezing wind and barbed wire are two of your very favorite things. But you feel like you’re incredibly helpful. Practically professional.

And people are coming to your house later that night for dinner- not the farm house, but your other house, where you’re currently not. You’ll get back there in a few hours and pull together the already planned entree and bread (your awesome friends are bringing all the sides!) and then you’ll make the dessert.

Not a problem.

And further, if you have a lick of sense you won’t make a layer cake. Because 1) time, and 2) you are cursed with an inability to make a layer cake look right. You have suffered from this malady for years, but your catchy mantra is: THE NEXT TIME IT WILL WORK OUT GREAT!

Never mind that you will be crunched for time. No, never you mind. You will make a layer cake. You will.

So you do.

And that NEXT TIME WORKING OUT GREAT thing doesn’t really work out too great after all.

So what do you end up with? A sliding, uneven, gooey Mandarin Orange Cake that tastes remarkably awesome.

It would never be the beauty queen, but it might just be your best friend forever.

And if unlike me, you are blessed with a modicum of spatial awareness, a bit of unclumsiness, and an eye for scale? Yours might look just as good as it tastes.

I salute you.

Mandarin Orange Cake

This is so easy!

Ingredients: (for cake)

One Butter Recipe Yellow cake mix

4 eggs

1/2 c. oil (I used Canola)

1 (15 oz.) can Mandarin Oranges (drained of about 1/2 of the juice)

Ingredients: (for icing)

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

1/2 c. heavy cream

8-10 oz. powdered sugar

the juice of 1/2 lemon

lemon zest (about 2 tsp.)

1/2 of a 3.4 oz pkg. vanilla instant pudding

1 (15 oz.) can crushed pineapple (completely drained)

Directions

Beat the cake mix, eggs and oil together on medium high until well blended. Then using a spatula, gently stir in (by hand) the Mandarin oranges. Divide the batter into 3 greased and floured cake pans.

Bake at 350 for just about 20 minutes- be careful, they bake pretty fast!

Cool the layers, then remove from pans, place on waxed paper on a sheet pan and place in fridge (or freezer) to chill.

To make the icing, mix together all ingredients, beating on high to get the most volume. You may need to add more powdered sugar to get the right consistency.

Assemble the cake. If you’re fancy, you can trim the tops off the layers to make the cake more even, and if you’re not, well, you’re me…

Mom’s Cookie Bars

Chances are you have a favorite treat from your childhood- something that brings to mind fond memories of the person who made it, or simply transports you back to that glorious time when food magically appeared in your kitchen requiring absolutely no planning, shopping, cooking, or spending on your part.

These are that treat for me. My Mom made these every year around Christmas and then only by “Special” request for the rest of the year.

It’s a pun. Just wait.

We called them Cookie Bars, and I thought we were OH SO FANCY because while all my other friends enjoyed the occasional homemade Rice Crispy Treat, these Cookie Bars were made with Special K cereal. (See. The pun.)

In my kid mind, Special K was an adult cereal (not because it required an ID to buy it, but because it lacked all the sugar, colors and other trappings of a kid-friendly cereal).

And honestly, lest you begin to hope that these are a “healthier” Cookie Bar, let me just say this:

  1. They’re not.
  2. and…
  3. They’re delicious.

Really. If you’ve never had these you’re missing out. They’re super easy, and believe me when I say you’ll love them.

I finish mine with just a sprinkle of coarse Sea Salt. After all, we’re all just big kids, and it’s great to feel fancy every once in a while.

Enjoy!

Mom’s Cookie Bars

1 cupgranulated sugar
1 cupkaro syrup
1 (12 ounce) jarcrunchy peanut butter
6 cupsSpecial K cereal
1 (6 ounce) packagesemi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (12 ounce) packagebutterscotch chips

In a large Dutch oven melt together the sugar, karo, and peanut butter. Cook unil the sugar crystals are dissolved and the mixture just almost boils. Pour in the cereal and mix until combined. Press the mixture (careful! it’s really hot!) into a buttered 13×9 pan and press until even.

Melt the chocolate chips and the butterscotch chips in a double boiler or in the microwave. When they are melty and smooth pour over cereal mixture, smooth with a spoon and let cool.

Sprinkle with the coarse sea salt (only if you want to feel sophisticated) and cut into bars.

Chicken Pot Pie with Puff Pastry Crust

I’ll admit.

The crust on this beauty is a little over the top in more ways than one! It’s a bit rustic. A tad dramatic. Let’s just think of it like a Texas gal having big hair and being closer to God.

Amen

But it’s true, isn’t it, that the main attraction of a pot pie is the crust. Sure there are all kinds of good-for-you vegetables under all that big hair, but mostly we’re here for the crunchy, crevice-y crust. And lots of it.

This pot pie is super simple to make and once you have the main formula down, you can throw in lots of changes to the veggie selection (some people NEED little peas in their pot pie), or add bleu (fancier than blue) cheese or even a little cheddar to the vegetable base. You could make this a beef pot pie, or pork, or if you were a rock star, a BACON POT PIE and I would be your best friend.

Just have your way with it.

Chicken Pot Pie with Puff Pastry Crust

Luann at Hobnob Kitchen

Ingredients

7 tablespoons butter

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup diced carrots

½ c. diced celery

Approximately 10-15 petite yellow potatoes (walnut size or smaller) cut up just slightly larger than the other vegetables. Or any potatoes, cut small.

¾ tsp. dried thyme

¾ tsp. kosher salt

¾ tsp. coarse black pepper

½ tsp. celery salt

7 tablespoons flour

2 cups chicken broth

2-3 cups cooked, shredded chicken (I use a deli chicken)

17.3-ounce package puff pastry sheets, thawed

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Heat the butter in a Dutch oven, then add the veggies and saute for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the thyme, salt, pepper, celery salt and flour and cook about 3-4 minutes more, stirring continuously. Slowly add the chicken broth while continuing to stir. The mixture should thicken. Add the milk.
  4. Cook on very low for about 5 minutes, continuing to stir, then add the chicken.
  5. Pour the mixture into ramekins or a pie or tart pan.
  6. Cut the puff pastry to cover the top (or be creative and let it be more rustic!)
  7. With a pastry brush, brush the puff pastry with a mixture of one egg mixed with a little water. (This will make the crust pretty and glossy when cooked).
  8. Bake about 30-40 minutes. If the pastry appears to be getting too dark, reduce the heat to 350 or you can cover the crust loosely with foil.
  9. Enjoy with salad.