Tag Archives: thyme

A Lighter Chicken Pot Pie

Welcome back to foodstalkers! It’s been a while since  I showed my face here. For shame. But at the start of this new year, it’s one of my goals to get back in the kitchen. And if I’m in the kitchen, I want to post about it! Yesterday I got Everyday Food‘s e-mail newsletter. Timing was perfect because the featured recipes covered just what I was craving: warm, cozy comfort food, like Chicken Pie! But on the lighter side—for both budget and waste-line.

chicken pie

lighter chicken pot pie. mouth watering goodness.

A few small changes in this chicken pie recipe transform a heavier dish into something on the lighter side: white meat instead of dark, olive oil instead of butter, skim milk instead of heavy cream, and fluffy puff pastry instead of a thick crust. And the result is something equally as tasty, and easy to prepare. Plus, this dish makes 4-6 servings. Not all leftovers are created equally or edible. But these leftovers were just as good as the first time around. Could this savory chicken pie keep getting yummier?

Here’s what you’ll need to make it.

2 chicken breasts
Coarse salt and ground peppes
4 tablespoons olive oil
Handful baby carrots, sliced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups skim milk
1 package (10 ounces) frozen peas, thawed
Fresh juice of one lemon
Phyllo sheet (12 by 17 inches), thawed
9-inch pie plate

And here’s what you’ll do.

1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Season chicken liberally with salt and pepper, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves. Roast in a aluminum foil pack about 30 minutes, or until instand-read thermometer reads 165° and juice is clear. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then chop it up into bite-size pieces.

2. While chicken roasts, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add carrots, onion, 1/4 teaspoon thyme, salt and pepper. Cook for 8-10 minutes, until the veggies are tender. Then add flour and cook, while stirring for 1 minute. Then gradually add the milk while stirring. Allow the mixture to combine and thicken over a simmer.

veggies w/ thyme

after adding the flour and milk

3. Remove veggie mixture from head. Stir in peas, chicken and lemon juice. Season with S&P. Pour filling into a 9-inch pie plate. (I recommend a deep dish, and I regret I did not have that)

olive oil brushed phyllo dough

4. Drape strips of phyllo dough to cover the filling and seal around the edges. Use a paring knife to cut off the excess. Brush top with 1 tablespoon olive oil to get a pretty, golden brown topping. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.


**If you do not have a deep-dish pie plate, I recommend placing your pie plate on a baking sheet while it’s in the oven. My house currently smells of burnt chicken pie drippings that bubbled over and onto the bottom of my oven. Not appetizing.**

Next up in the kitchen…something with ground turkey. I was thinking enchiladas, but I have a LOT of meat—about 1.25 lbs. Who has an idea? Meatloaf? Meatballs? Chili? Something new I hope. Somebody help!


Sweet Potato Sweetheart Tart with Goat Cheese

North Carolina ranks number one (#1!) in sweet potato production in our country. When served in a pie (mmm), casserole (Thanksgiving!), as french fries or baked, the sweet potato proves its versatility, adapting to sweet and savory foods alike. And while the sweet potato scores high on taste, it’s definitely not shabby in nutritional value. The intense orange color is the first indicator of superfood status. The sweet potato is low in sodium, saturated fat and cholesterol, while being a good source of fiber, vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C and manganese.

barrels and barrels or sweet potatoes at n.c. farmer's market

barrels and barrels of sweet potatoes at n.c. farmer's market

I developed this simple Sweet Potato Sweetheart Tart recipe to highlight the goodness of our local agriculture and to show a new, savory spin on an old time favorite. Using top quality, local ingredients means doing less to them to bring out their natural qualities. You can look forward to these flavors:

The sweet potato is infused with herbal and citrus aromatics while simmering in a rich vegetable stock. Granny Smith apples brighten in tartness when cooked with lemon juice. The lemon flavor of the thyme mirrors the acidity of apple, while the tartness of the apple contrasts the now-savory sweet potato. A touch of smooth, creamy goat cheese, and this tart transforms into a complex, dynamic experience for the tastebuds.

the sweet potato sweetheart tart

the sweet potato sweetheart tart

I purchased sweet potatoes, apples and goat cheese at the N.C. Farmer’s Market in Raleigh. The quality is superb and prices cannot be beat.

vendors fill these halls year round

vendors fill these halls year round

just about everything you'll need

just about everything you'll need

What you’ll need:
1 large sweet potato
3 small Granny Smith apples
3 lemons
1 handful of thyme branches
2 T. chopped thyme leaves
1 oz. goat cheese
2 T. olive oil
4 c. vegetable stock
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed but kept cool
1/8 t. ground nutmeg
salt & pepper
6 heart-shaped pastry tins (not required, free-form tart variation at end)

This recipe is mostly an assembly line. I recommend preparing it mise en place, that is having all preparation and measuring complete before cooking anything.

What you do…

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Position oven rack in the middle of the oven.
2. Wash, peel and cut potato into thick stalks.

sweet potato slices

they should look about like this

3. Wash, peel and cut apples into about 1/2-inch cubes. Toss with the zest and juice of one lemon. Season with a sprinkle of salt and a few grinds of fresh-ground pepper. Save the lemon rind.

prepping the apples

prepping the apples

4. Prepare puff pastry. This works best if the dough is still very cold, but pliable. Place tart tin bottom-side-down on top of the dough. Using a paring knife, cut out the shape of the base, then insert it into a non-greased tart tin. Repeat for remaining tins.

cut out the tart bases

arts and crafts time

getting crafty

pretty hearts

5. Cut a piece of the puff pastry sheet into six 1/4-inch strips. Use the strips to form the outer rim of the heart. Press gently into the mold. Form a smooth seam where rim and base meet. Perforate the dough with a fork to prevent air bubbles while cooking. Place in the preheated oven. Bake 12 minutes.

step 1

1/4-inch strip around the edge of the tin


press gently into the mold


perforate the hearts

6. Meanwhile in a saucepan, cover sweet potato slices with 4 cups vegetable stock. Add 2 lemons (halved), reserved lemon rind, handful of thyme branches, salt and pepper. Add an extra cup of stock or water to cover if necessary. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for about 8 minutes or until potatoes are tender to a knife point. Drain and cut into 1/8-inch slices.

the sweet potatoes are ready

sweet potatoes should cut easily, but not flake, when ready

7. While potatoes are cooking, cook the apple mixture in a separate pan over low-medium heat for about 7 min. Mash the apples into a thick, chunky applesauce. Stir in ground nutmeg

cook the apples

homemade, granny smith applesauce

season with nutmeg

seasoned with nutmeg

8. Build the tart. Smooth 1 tablespoon of apple mixture on the bottom of each tart. Layer sweet potato slices on top. Sprinkle with thyme leaves, goat cheese crumbles. Spoon a drizzle of olive oil over top.

1 layer of applesauce

1 layer of applesauce

the tart assembly line

the tart assembly line

sweet baby goat from 'in the red farm and dairy'

sweet baby goat from 'in the red farm and dairy'

9. Return tarts to oven for a final 12 minutes.

10. Remove and allow to cool for a few minutes. Use a paring knife to edge between the rim of the pastry and the tart tin. Gently remove from the tart tin, season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!


sweet potato sweetheart tarts



This tart could stand up alongside a light spring greens salad with citrus vinaigrette (and a scoop of homemade chicken salad), or alongside a chicken roasted with classic rosemary, lemon and garlic.

[Variation: if you don’t have tart tins, not to worry. Use the puff pastry to make a rustic, free-form tart. Simply form the dough into a rectangle and fold over a portion of the edge to create a crust or a rim to hold the tart contents. Perforate and bake 12 minutes. Layer with prepared toppings, then return to oven about 12 more minutes or until golden brown.]