A Broad Not Abroad

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January 14, 2013 by caitlinvaclark

I’m BAAAAACK!! It’s good to be on American soil, but yesterday was certainly a long day. I had to wake up at 5am, London time, to head to the airport. Classic travel luck, our upstairs neighbors, who are usually very tame, came home with houseguests at 4am, drunkenly clomping around and making a racket pulling out a sleeper sofa in the room right above us. Paranoid as always about sleeping through my flight, I did not go back to sleep.

This could have worked out to my benefit if I could sleep on the plane. But as my luck would have it, the man sitting behind me had a very overactive bladder and was a seat grabber. You know the kind, the ones who hoist themselves out of the seat by grabbing yours and jerking you about as they shimmy to the isle. It was like he knew just when I was going to doze off and bam, bathroom time.

But I’m here now. Surprisingly, I’m not too jetlagged. It probably helped that I had a wonderful afternoon, watching the Atlanta Falcons’ big win, and eating a very American themed spread. My dear friend, Danielle (new-mom extraordinaire), made an awesome Wisconsin Beer Cheese Dip, her husband grilled up some sliders, and they had a bold, delicious, California Cabernet ready for me!

While I’m here in Atlanta, I will actually be trying to cook some healthy and make-ahead meals this week. Since Danielle is adjusting to chaotic life with a new baby, I thought I’d try to stock her freezer a bit so that she and her family can be well fed and well energized during this very busy time.

I figured I would start with an adaptation from my favorite UK magazine, delicious. This Chicken, Feta, and White Bean “Pie” is a fun and very healthy Mediterranean nod to the classic British pie. Plus it’s a great make-ahead dish that will also freeze well for a new mom, or anyone who doesn’t have time to make dinner during the week. All you need to do is take it out and heat up. A mindless task on a hectic day.

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Start by sauté diced red onion and leeks in a skillet large enough to create the entire base mixture

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Next, remove the onions and add chicken to the pan. You are going to par-poach the meat in a hearty dose of white wine.

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Add back the onions.

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Make a creamy yummy flavorful sauce and simmer.

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Stir in the spinach, a little at a time if necessary until it has all wilted.

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Mash together white beans, roasted garlic, feta, and seasoning to use as a topping for the pie. Then bake and enjoy!

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Chicken, Feta and White Bean Pie

*adapted from delicious. Magazine

Serves 6

2 Tbs Olive Oil, divided

1 full head of garlic

2 small leeks

1 red onion, diced

1 1/3 lb chicken, cut into bite size pieces

1 tsp garlic powder

½ cup Italian white wine

1 Tbs Dijon mustard

Juice of one lemon

½ cup chicken broth

½ cup half and half

1 bay leaf

8 oz spinach

2 14 oz cans white beans

6 oz feta cheese

2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves removed and minced

½ Tbs Greek seasoning

Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 400˚F.

Slice the entire head of garlic in half, drizzle the exposed cloves with 1 tsp olive oil, and wrap in aluminum foil. Place directly on to the oven rack and bake for 45 minutes, until the garlic is very soft.

Reduce oven temperature to 350˚F.

Meanwhile, half the leeks lengthwise and rinse away any grit. Thinly slice the leeks, using the whites and about two inches of the green, stopping before it gets tough.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat with 1 Tbs. olive oil. Add the leeks and red onions and sauté for 5 minutes, until soft.  Remove and reserve.

Add the chicken and season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Cook for 3 minutes.

Pour the white wine into the skillet to deglaze. Cook 4 minutes, until reduced by about half.  Return the leeks and onions to the pan. Whisk in the mustard, lemon juice, half and half, bay leaf, and chicken broth.  Simmer for another 10 minutes.

Add the spinach to the chicken mixture, in batches if necessary until it has all wilted slightly. Pour the mixture into a 2-3 quart baking dish.

Make the pie topping by mashing together the drained white beans, roasted garlic cloves (squeeze out of the peel), feta, rosemary, and Greek seasoning.

Spread the bean topping over the chicken and drizzle with the remaining 2 tsp. olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes.

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