Living near the sea is a dream come true of mine. But we do lack snow topped mountains and sometimes you need a good dose of snow. Fortunately we are able to drive up North a few hours and enter a winter wonderland. Our friend’s family member has a cabin up at Canazei, Italy and we were lucky enough to be invited to join him and his girlfriend in a wintery weekend up in the Italian Alps. We had a late start driving so when we arrived I wasn’t able to see anything except black shadows caused by the moon’s brightness. I didn’t know what to except but I never doubt Italy’s ability to constantly surprise me with it’s beauty.
I woke the next morning, quickly opened the drapes and my jaw dropped…
I still pinch myself when I think of how fortunate I am to live in such a beautiful country and experience all these places. Canazei is located in the upper part of the Val Di Fassa in Trentino region of Italy. The houses resembled those European christmas cottages inside a snow globe. It was incredible! I could just imagine all the plaid dressed people inside sitting near a fire eating pretzels and drinking hot cider. Because that is obviously what people in the mountains do all day, right?
The thing I was probably most anticipating was to go skiing. I, unlike the others, have never skied before. They all had lessons before and started when they were young. (Yet again, the American is the inexpert) After an hour lesson with my Italian maestro though and I felt confident to go down twice with everyone else. I’m ready to go again!
All four of us went out to dinner Saturday night to a quaint little spot. Typical cuisine for the mountains, which is what E and I both wanted. I had zuppa di gulasch (goulash) which is basically the same exact thing my mom made me growing up. (Though she called it beef stew) And for my second course I had tagliatelle with deer meat. E had spinach spatzle with a cream sauce and speck. Spatzle is a type of thin potato dumpling. Speck is a smoked prosciutto. (mouth watering) It was served in a cast iron skillet and I just gushed, I mean how cute is that? Not to mention all the waitresses were dressed to the part resembling a Swiss maiden.
We parted ways on Monday, E and I went back home while the other two stayed for another week. Spiraling down the mountain on the drive back and I kept spotting little apple stands selling fresh local apples. I pleaded that we make a stop and came back with a bag full of five different types of apples, fresh apple juice and a smile on my face. The following day I was starting to feel the after affects of some one’s first time skiing. Yeah, sore muscles. I was craving some comfort food, and surprisingly I was craving American comfort food. Chicken pot pie! What a perfect dish to warm the soul and fill the stomach.
Here is my recipe for four of the cutest mini chicken pot pies you have ever seen.
Serving size; 2
(This has been my favorite recipe for pie crust)
Two chicken breasts
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped champignon mushrooms
quarter of chopped white onion
1 whisked egg for glaze
For the Béchamel sauce;
40 grams of butter (5 tablespoons)
40 grams flour (3 cups flour)
460 grams (1 1/2 cup milk)
I used four small ramekins. Butter all of your ramekins to prevent sticking. Lay one of your ramekins face down on the dough and cut a circle around it, slightly larger than the size of it. Cover the whole inside of each ramekin with pie dough. With the dough leftover cut out circle the same size of the top of the ramekin. This will be the “lid” of your pot pie. Set aside and preheat your oven to 375° F (190°C)
In a medium size saute pan drizzle a little olive oil and add the chopped chicken pieces and saute until they are no longer pink inside. Set aside. Add a bit more olive oil back into the pan and saute the vegetables on medium low heat for about 8 minutes and add salt and pepper. For the Béchamel sauce add the butter in another medium saucepan on medium/low heat until melted and add the flour and mix well. The mixture will look like a clumpy mess but trust me, this is necessary for the creamy texture and i’m here to reassure you that you are doing it right. After a few minutes start drizzling your milk in and with your whisk vigorously mix until it becomes a creamy texture. I add a pinch of salt, pepper and nutmeg. (it just doesn’t feel right without a little sprinkle of nutmeg)
Add the vegetables, mushrooms and chopped chicken to the sauce and mix until combined evenly. Take your ramekins with the pie crust inside and add a nice scoop of the mixture to each until they are bulging. Add the other pieces of dough to the top of each ramekin and press until both doughs are touching. Make two small slits on top of the dough to let the steam out when cooking.
Brush the whisked egg on each top and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden.
Once done let rest for 10 minutes, my poor guy burned his mouth with my mistake of not letting them rest. (I guess I got a little excited to start eating)