Comfort Food redefined for 2012! Torte with Garam Masala Scented Chicken, Pear, Bacon, Chestnuts & Pama

So much to do today and no time to stop and grocery shop. Lots of meats in the freezer- it’s Colorado and you never know when you may get snowed in for a few days.  This even happened to me once!

I have to make something interesting and delectable. Not only am I trying to stockpile posts so I can enjoy my holiday without dumping this whole blog on Margo, but I am getting a new stove!

Sure a sane person might wonder, why wouldn’t she wait to cook on her fabulous new gas range? Having longed for a gas cook top for so long and being nudged onward not only by the lopsided old burners, but the fact that now only 3 burners are functioning, the Brit and I have decided to bestow new kitchen appliances on each other for our anniversary in January.

But, as decrepit as my old stove top may be, it has served me well and been there through thickening sauces and thin pancakes. So it seems only fitting that it kind of go out with a bang.

What to make I pondered, as I stared at the boneless breast of chicken I had removed this morning from the freezer. I wanted to use one of my new spices I bought from Penzey’s yesterday.  I always love to play with new things. I noticed the bottle of Pama, from last week’s Butternut Squash, Pear & Pama Soup…hmmm…I also have Bosc Pears to kill. And if there is anyone actually following this blog, by now they have figured out that in my world, very few recipes are complete without Garlic, Baby Bella Mushrooms and Chicken Broth!

I am calling this a Chicken Torte instead of a Chicken Pie because I believe it to be deserving of a classier sounding name, but if you disagree, just let me know!


3 cloves Garlic, sliced thin

1 small Yellow Onion, large chop

2 slices Applewood Smoked Bacon, large dice

1 Bosc Pear, peeled and cut in large dice

1 Free Range, Organic Boneless Breast Chicken, cut into large dice

1 Celery Stalk, small dice

3-4 Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced

½ tsp Garam Masala

½ cup Low Sodium, No MSG Chicken Broth

½ cup Organic, Non Fat Milk

3 Tbsp Pama

4 Roasted Chestnuts, crumbled

2 Tbsp Flour


Cook bacon in heavy saucepan until crisp, but not burned. To do this you must stir often.

Pour out about half of the fat, then add onion and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, until soft.

Quickly stir in Garam Masala, stirring constantly for about 1-2 minutes, until the most amazing fragrance you can imagine begins to spill into your home.

Add celery, mushrooms and pear and the chicken. Stir until chicken turns white; about 3-4 minutes. Crumble the chestnuts over the top and stir to combine.

Now add the Pama and cook to dissipate the alcohol for another 3-5 minutes over low heat. Stir in chicken broth and milk and cook over low heat for ½ hour.  To finish, mix 2 Tbsp Flour with cooking liquid to make a thickening agent and then stir it back into the pot. Cook for another minute or two to thicken.

Next up, was my quest for a Pie crust w Coconut Oil & Spelt Flour. Why?  Because I have some Spelt Flour and it is healthier than white flour and I think the coconut oil will blend well with the Garam Massala. I found this recipe in my cyber travels:

Then I found this one with Vodka….really? But it’s Smitten Kitchen and Deb is a rock staress, demi-God, so I just had to take a peak….and I love what she says about pie crust recipes:

So my pie crust came about like so:


1 cup Spelt Flour

1 cup King Arthur’s Flour

1/2 tsp Kosher Salt

1Tbsp Sugar

1 stick Butter, cut into small pieces

2 Tbsp Coconut Oil

3 Tbsp Ice Water


Put Flour, salt, sugar, butter and coconut oil in bowl of Food Processor with Knife Blade. Pulse to combine into a grainy substance, not yet sticking together, yet more dense than flour alone.

With machine running, slowly pour ice water through the Feed Tube to combine. Dough will form a ball or pretty close.

Dump dough onto a sheet of Plastic Wrap, roll into a ball, pat down and refrigerate for at least a few hours.

Now here’s where my apology comes in: I forgot to take pictures until my dough was a ball.

There really wasn’t that much to see, other than the sandy dough before I gathered it together into this ball in my Susan B Komen Pink Saran Wrap.

I then rolled it out flat into a circle, as best I could.  I am not a great baker.  My baking always tastes good, but it is not always pastry chef pretty. Actually, I call it rustic.  I then pressed my circle into a spring form pan like so.

To be completely honest, I had thought I would have had enough dough to make a top for my torte. At a minimum, a lattice like one. Truth be told, I barely had enough dough left to make these:

I then placed my empty shell in the oven at 350 for 15 minutes. Once it came out of the oven, looking much the same as when it went in, I might add, I then filled it with the chicken mixture and placed the hearts on the top.

Bake at 350 for about 1/2 hour more, with a sheet of parchment fitted on top of the torte. Remove parchment after about 25 minutes to allow hearts to brown.

Thank you for dutifully cooking many families meals since the 1970’s, Old Stove.  Your simplicity and functionality has served me well for the past seven years we have spent together.

Oh, and just so you know, the Brit thought tonight’s dinner was “Good Comfort Food”, which I think is the best send off an old stove could have.


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