Tag Archives: Comfort Food

Jean Albert’s

Do you like your ribs tender and flavourful?  Do you like your fried chicken juicy with a crispy coating? Your candied yams spiced and sweetened?  Your coleslaw homemade and creamy?  Then you MUST get yourself to Jean Albert’s; an A+ soul food restaurant in Centretown.    I can’t say enough good things about this place – every bite had me mmhmmm-ing.  You can tell everything is home-made,  and they definitely know what they’re doing in this particular home.

These ribs fall off the bone, the sauce is homemade and perfect, and the corn bread, candied yams and mac and cheese side dishes could all stand on their own. But they are also an outstanding complement to the rest of the meal.

BBQ Honey Ribs with Candied Yams and Mac and Cheese

I’d never really had southern fried chicken before eating here, so I didn’t really get what the fuss about.  Now I get it.

Fried Chicken

As a rule, I generally like it when things are smothered on fries.  But I LOVE it when melt in your mouth pork and delicious cheese are smothered on top.   Have a look, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Pork Smothered French Fries

The coleslaw provides a nice veggie balance to the meal, and is creamy and crunchy.  I love that even their coleslaw is amazing.

Creamy Coleslaw

Why are you still sitting at the computer?  Go to Jean Albert’s RIGHT NOW!!!

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Chicken Pot Pies

I decided to make these on a humid and clammy summer night.  I knew it would mean sweating uncomfortably (and a little un-hygienically) in my non-air conditioned kitchen, but nothing could contain my craving for flakey, creamy and comforting Chicken Pot Pie.  So, I went for it.  And it was well worth it.

Crust Ingredients

I started with the crust.  Apparently you are supposed to use a pastry cutter, but generally I don’t think you always need all the strange/specific kitchen gadgets to make a really great dish.  To make this pie crust I used a fork to mix everything up, and then a sharp knife to make sure there weren’t any big clumps left.  Worked out just fine.

Crust - Flour and a gross amount of shortening. But oh so tasty.

The Pioneer Woman gave me the great idea to divide the dough into freezer bags (as well as the inspiration for this whole recipe) and roll it out right in there, so the extras can go in the freezer for another day.  Assuming of course that you don’t want to inhale all these delicious pies in one sitting. Your choice.

Extra Dough - Ready for the freezer

Next step is to roll out the dough you do want to use, in roughly the shape of the dish you will be baking the pies in. It’s pretty easy to work with, so it doesn’t have to be perfect, you can make any last minute repairs once the crust is in the dish.

Baking dish lined with crust

As for the filling…..saute some onion, garlic, celery and carrot in some butter for a few minutes, or until they soften a little.  But really, at this point add whatever ingredients you’d like to eat in about 45 minutes.

Early stages of the filling...

Throw in some (already cooked) cut up chicken, and flour.  Or leave the chicken out for a hearty vegetarian meal.

Flour, for thickness

And Broth

Stir in some broth...

Add some milk (or cream, depending on how rich you want it to be) and bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 20 – 30 minutes until it’s your desired consistency.

Add Cream to make it nice and rich

Towards the end of the cooking time, add whatever spices you’d like.  I had fresh chives and tarragon on hand, which were perfect.  And then of course salt and pepper.

Season to your liking...

Add the filling to the baking dish.  I used Brie Bakers! But French Onion Soup bowls – (which you can buy at the dollar store!), would work great too.

Load it up!

Add another layer of crust over top, and make sure you cut some slits in the dough so the whole thing doesn’t explode in the oven.  Important step!

Even more crust...... 🙂

Bake it at 400 for about 30 – 40 minutes, or until the crust is adequately golden and flaky.  Maybe even longer if your stove is a dinosaur, like mine is.

MMMMMMMMMM!

Action Shot!

Halfway there. It was a delicious journey.

Oh, and I had leftovers two days later and they were just as enchanting.

Pie Crust Recipe

1 1/2  cups Crisco (vegetable Shortening)
3 cups All-purpose Flour
1 Egg
5 Tablespoons Cold Water
1 Tablespoon White Vinegar
1 teaspoon Salt

1.  In a large bowl, slowly mix the Crisco and flour together, until it resembles a coarse meal.  This should take a few minutes.
2.  In a small bowl, beat the egg with a fork and then add it to the flour mixture.
3.  Add 5 tablespoons cold water, 1 tablespoon white vinegar and 1 teaspoon salt.  Stir everything together (gently) until mixed.
4.  This amount of dough will make roughly 6 pies, so depending on how many pies you’d like to make at this point, divide the dough up.  If there is extra dough, divide it into big freezer bags and roll it flat with a rolling pin (to about 1/2 inch thickness).  Store extras in the freezer for another day.  It’s a good idea to put the dough you will be using in the freezer for a few minutes to firm it up.  Otherwise it’s pretty melty and could be tougher to work with.
5.  When you are ready to use the dough to make a crust, remove from the freezer and allow to thaw for 15 minutes. On a floured surface roll the dough, starting at the center and working your way out. (Sprinkle some flour over top of the dough if it’s a bit too moist.) If the dough is sticking to the countertop use a metal spatula and carefully scrape it up and flip it over and continue rolling until it’s about ½ inch larger in diameter than your pie pan.
6.  Place the crust on top of the pot pie mixture, and press crust into the sides of the dish to seal.   Slice some air vents in the top of the crust.  Maybe even in the shape of someone’s initial…who doesn’t like their initials in their food?
7. Bake for 30 minutes or until very golden and bubbly.  Allow to cool for a few minutes before

Filling Recipe

Amounts for the filling don’t have to be perfect.  If you adjust the ingredients to suit your tastes, and just follow the directions for preparation, everything will work out just fine.

1/4 cup butter
4 Cloves of Garlic, minced
1/2 cup  diced onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
1/4 cup flour
2 cups broth  (Chicken would work best, but the kind of broth you use won’t make or break the dish)
Few splashes of white wine (optional)
1 cup milk or heavy cream (I used skim milk and still felt like it was plenty rich)
Whatever spices you like/have on hand.  Season to taste.
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1.  Start by melting the butter in a skillet or big saucepan. At a medium heat, add onion, carrots, and celery, and cook for a couple of minutes, or until they start to get a bit see through.
2.  Add the chicken to the mix and stir.
3.  Sprinkle flour over mixture and stir. Cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly.
4.  Add broth, stirring constantly.
5.  Add some white wine if you’re feeling dangerous.
6.  Pour in milk or cream.
7.  Allow mixture to boil slowly and let it cook for a few minutes to get nice and thick.  Reduce heat to medium-low and keep it simmering if you want the consistency to get a bit thicker.
8.  Add seasonings to taste.
9.  Pour mixture into crust lined dish.
10. Place the crust on top of the pot pie mixture, and press crust into the sides of the dish to seal.   Slice some air vents in the top of the crust.  Maybe even in the shape of someone’s initial…who doesn’t like their initials in their food?
11. Bake for 30 minutes or until very golden and bubbly.  Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

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Filed under Comfort Food, Main Courses