Leek Rings & Pot Pie

What tastes really good after a cold rainy day outside? Or rather, what tastes really good on any kind of day?  Chicken Pot Pie. and Leek Rings.  You're probably thinking..."Leek rings...what in the world are leek rings?"  If you are not thinking that, then you must have heard.  I salute you fellow leek ring lover. (yes I'm assuming you are a leek ring lover if you have had them.  They are that good.)  For those of you who do not know of leek rings, let me explain...
These, are leeks.  They're like little jungle trees.  Kinda cute.  They smell earthy and onion-like.

These are leeks sliced up with some centers popped out.  Like cute little tree stumps.  With lots of layers.
So what did we do with these cute little things?  we fried them up!  we dipped them in a batter that included cayenne pepper, then put them in hot oil.  Like onion rings...except leek rings!  
Oh man.  Deliciousness everywhere.  These little guys look like a Barbie Doll's onion ring.  They're teeny.  and so tasty.  I was trying to think of a clever name to call these little fried bits.

me: "how about we call them "leekies"?

hubby:  "no dear, that sounds too much like a brand of adult diapers."

bahaha, haha, haha!  Ok I'm done now.  It probably was not quite that funny.  

So the other part of this meal...the pot pie.  I usually make a potpie that consist of chicken, veggies, and seasoning, topped with biscuits for the crust.  One night while eating with some friends at an irish pub, I saw a pot pie with a phyllo dough crust/topping.  Now I know phyllo dough is greek, but I'm not going for authenticity of irish food here.  I decided to try this.  Phyllo dough is very tricky.  I cannot count how many pieces of it I cracked/ripped/tore/demolished.  But it finally worked...
Isn't it precious?  I even put a little star in the middle.  I made individual pot pies in ramekins.  
mmm...it was gone very quickly.

Leek rings
from Alton Brown

3 quarts oil (peanut, veggie or canola) 
12 oz leeks, cleaned and trimmed of dark green parts
1 1/2 cups milk
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp cayenne pepper

Preheat oil to 375 degrees over medium high heat.  Slice leeks into 1/2 inch rings and separate into layers.  Whisk together the milk and egg.  In another bowl, mix together the flour, salt and cayenne.  Divide the flour mixture into 2 bowls.  Dip the leek rings first in a bowl of flour, then the egg/milk mixture, then the other bowl of flour.  Fry the rings 1-1 1/2 mins, until golden brown.  Put fried rings on a cooling rack and season with salt.

Chicken Pot Pie
Adapted from Ina Garten

3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded or diced. 
3 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
5 cups chicken stock
2 chicken bullion cubes
12 Tbsp butter
2 cups yellow onion, chopped
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 cups carrots, medium-diced
2 cups frozen peas
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
1/2 pkg phyllo dough, thawed

preheat oven to 350.  In a saucepan, heat the chicken stock, and add the bullion cubes.  heat until the cubes are dissolved.  In a separate pot, melt the butter, and saute the onions over medium-low heat, 10-15 mins.  Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 mins.  Add the stock/bullion mixture.  Simmer over low heat a minute or 2 more, stirring until thick.  Add 2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and cream.  Add chicken, peas, carrots, and parsley.  Mix it all up good. 

Roll the phyllo dough out.  Brush a few layers of the phyllo with melted butter.  Cut a square that will fit atop the ramekin (or large dish if you so wish to use that instead).  Make the square have at least4-5 layers of phyllo.  You can cut a shape in the middle if desired, if not, cut a few slits.  Lay the sheets on top of the dish with the filling.  Brush the dough with an egg wash (beat one egg with a few tsp of water).  Bake for about an hour.    

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