By Divian Conner
It does not take much for me to throw a “just because” party or dinner. I am one of those people who will see something online, want to try it, and then boom: it’s party time. I have thrown murder mystery parties, gaming parties, Victorian dinners, all on a whim. Sometimes, I make full six to 10-course dinners, and other times, I go to the grocer and pick up anything that looks good and throw it on a platter. Seriously, throwing things on a platter is my favorite. I will put together a charcuterie board in 10.4 seconds flat–a slight exaggeration, but you get my drift.
Lately, I have been on a murder mystery party kick. Everyone is assigned a character to play. You receive some props, a character name tag and a printout of questions to ask or things to say to other players. Costumes are encouraged. I have someone as a banker; who gives everyone their play money and a couple of blank checks. Not only do they have to interact and solve the mystery, but they can also bribe and trick people out of their money. My kids like the money part the most–teens love tricking you out of your cash. At the end of the party, we hand out awards for the best costume, the most money and who solved the crime. Good times are had by all.
When it comes to party planning, platters and charcuteries are so time-saving, leaving you to spend more time on other things. I have done Greek platters, burger platters, even a French fry platter with waffle fries, tater tots, sweet potato fries, regular fries and a multitude of dipping sauces. It is seriously so quick to do–put out a bunch of plates and let your guests have at it.
While platters are my go-to, creating eye-catching charcuterie boards are my jam. Who doesn’t love some great fresh fruit, cheeses they wouldn’t eat regularly and some little surprises here and there? I love the idea of bringing in a savory and hot element to my boards and have been obsessed with Aussie-style meat pies for quite some time. Mini pies make a surprisingly fun element to any board.
I have never been to Australia, but that doesn’t stop me from salivating over their signature meat pies. For spring, I decided to go a bit lighter–using chicken and brie instead of the traditional beef pies. These pies are the perfect complement to any charcuterie board or as a standalone main dish. They can be cut and scooped onto plates just as you would with any baked brie or passed out as a single entrée.
Mini Creamy Chicken and Brie with Lingonberry Pies
Lingonberry* or cranberry sauce
For the shredded chicken:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons salted butter
1 ½ teaspoons Creole seasoning
2 finely chopped cloves of garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook chicken in butter with seasoning until completely done. Once done, allow to cool and shred your chicken.
For the gravy:
¼ cup vegetable oil or shortening
¼ cup flour
1 cup milk
1 cup chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
In a saucepan, heat the oil on medium-high heat.
Slowly add the flour, making sure to whisk it thoroughly while adding to get rid of lumps. Keep whisking until it starts to brown.
Gradually add in your liquids, whisking. When the mixture starts to bubble, reduce the heat. If too thick, add more chicken broth. Turn off the heat once you reach gravy consistency and set aside.
Constructing the pies:
Using a large muffin tin, line with pie crust dough. Mix your shredded chicken with the gravy, and then scoop into each muffin cup, filling halfway. Add slices of brie and 1 to 2 teaspoons of lingonberry jam or cranberry sauce.
Top with pie crust and seal. Complete with egg wash and bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees or until browned.
*Lingonberry jam is a tart jam that is similar to cranberry sauce. It can be purchased online or at a grocery store with international selections. If you are unable to find lingonberry jam, cranberry sauce or even a tart cherry jam would be a nice alternative.