Thursday, September 11, 2008

Fall flavors to celebrate Summer in SF

A few weeks ago I had dinner plans with my mom. Not in the mood to go out, and having withdrawals from a lack of kitchen time lately, I invited her up for dinner. I may have had to bribe her with one of her favorite dishes since I know she gets nervous driving through city streets and hunting for parking. My bait? "Impossible Chicken n Broccoli Pie" from an old Bisquick recipe book I was given when I first started cooking.
The impossible stands for impossibly easy in this case. Fantastic in the fall (or brisk SF summers) because it's warm and comforting, and the veggies you use are frozen. I highly recommend it.

1 10 oz package frozen chopped broccoli - you can just toss it into a colander in the sink and let it thaw as you cook the chicken and get everything ready. If it's not thawing fast enough, or I waited too long to pull it out, I just run some water over it and break it up with my hands. Caution - if you choose to do this you should know that your hands will turn bright red and lose all feeling.
2 c shredded cheddar cheese - jack would be good too, but I like the tang from the cheddar
1 c cooked chicken, cut into bite sized pieces - if I'm lucky, I'll pick up a roaster chicken and it's done for me; if I'm not, I just boil some skinless boneless breasts (or better yet the little tenders since they cook faster and I'm impatient). I know, what am I, Irish?! Boiling chicken. Honestly. But don't worry, you still get plenty of flavor.
1/2 cup of chopped onion (I hate recipes that say "medium" or "small" onions - what size is that any more?!), but I think I typically just use the entire onion if it's close, so I may end up with 3/4 cup
1/2 cup Bisquick
1 cup of milk (yes, I use nonfat)
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper - I use more s&p than this. I find it just a bit bland with this ratio, and depending on your onion, maybe a touch too sweet. And really, anyone who still thinks I'm actually measuring these things out at this point is delusional.

Preheat your oven to 400 F and grease a glass pie plate - I use olive oil spray, the Pam kind, but it really tends to stick, especially if you stir later, so be generous or use butter or Crisco or something awful like that.
To avoid the stirring quandary, you can toss the chicken, broccoli, onion and 1 1/2 cups of cheese in advance, and then add them to the plate. It's much easier to do it this way anyhow.
Whisk the eggs, milk, Bisquick, s&p to get most of the big lumps out - some lumps are okay. Pour over the top of everything in the pie plate and shake gently to distribute.
Bake for 30-45 minutes, until a knife comes out clean from the center. Now sprinkle it with the rest of the cheese and pop it back in until the cheese melts (and gets a bit brown if you're like me).
Now the hard part. Letting it cool. See, at this point your entire house smells delicious and if it's one of those dreary days you are really looking forward to eating the hell out of this (and please, don't be alarmed if you can eat half of the entire pie dish yourself - this appears to be completely normal; in fact, you may want to make two at the same time just so you can have some leftovers), but you MUST LET IT COOL. Cutting into it too soon does nothing but make you regret it. If you just can't wait, forget all about cutting nice slices or wedges out, and just get a big old spoon and glop it onto the plate. Don't burn the roof of your mouth.

If this has you in the mood for more yummy fall flavors, check out this awesome dinner over at Mock Eel!

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