Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dinner for Four (or Five)

While I'm working on new recipes of my own, I always love to try other pie recipes.  One of my favorite cooking blogs, 101 Cookbooks by Heidi Swanson has so many amazing recipes and I recently stumbled across her Sweet Potato Pot Pie recipe and had to try it.  I decided to make it the other night for my sister, who was in the middle of Law School midterms and had not had a home cooked meal in quite some time.  I pared it with my favorite green bean recipe which I acquired from my best friend's mom, Michele Craig, who made these beans for us for Thanksgiving dinner a couple years ago.  The meal ended up being super delicious so I would like to share both recipes with you.

Sweet Potato Pot Pie Recipe

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 1/2 to 3 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
1 tablespoon adobo sauce from a can of chipotle chilies (or more to taste)
1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
2 cups cold whole or low-fat milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 box puff pastry dough (allow 20 to 30 minutes to thaw)
1 egg white
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large pot over medium-high heat, add the oil, onion, garlic, sweet potato and salt. Saute, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Stir in the adobo sauce and corn.
In a small bowl, combine the milk and cornstarch, then pour the mixture into the sweet potato pot. Leave the heat at medium-high for a few minutes to bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and cook until the filling starts to thicken, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and season with more salt to taste. Pour the filling into small ovenproof bowls, each three quarters full.
Cut a piece of puff pastry dough to fit over each bowl, with some overlap. Place the dough on the bowls and fold over the edge of the dish. Brush the dough lightly with egg white (this creates a golden crust).
Using a fork, poke a few holes in the top of each pie to allow steam to escape, and bake until the crusts are tall and deeply golden, about 15 minutes. Tip: Bake the potpies on a baking sheet lined with foil in case some of the filling bubbles over.

Serves 4 as a main course.

* Because my boyfriend, my sister and I are all meat lovers, we added shredded chicken into the recipe but thinking back on it now, roasted chicken would have added so much more flavor.  Also take note that if you can not handle spicy foods, I would half the adobo sauce additon as it really heats up the dish.  I would not leave it out though, as it adds so much flavor to the recipe.  Because of the addition of the chicken and because I used small ramekins, we were able to get five individual servings out of this recipe.

Green Beans with Garlic Vinaigrette
Toast the almonds in a pie pan at 350° for 5 to 10 minutes. 
     1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind 
     1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 
     2 teaspoons extravirgin olive oil 
     1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 
     1/2 teaspoon salt 
     1/4 teas poon freshly ground black pepper 
     2 garlic cloves, minced 
     2 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed 
     1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted 
     1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves 
To prepare vinaigrette, combine first 7 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.
To prepare beans, cook beans in a large pot of boiling water 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain well. Place beans in a large bowl. Add lemon mixture; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with almonds and thyme.
Serving 12 

**This is my favorite green bean recipe because its super tasty but also because its is quick and simple to make.  You can start this recipe after the pies go in and have in done before they come back out.  This recipe only gets better as its rests though, so feel free to make it a day or two in advance as well.