Why I Can’t Fit in My Pants Wednesday: Chicken Pot Pie

March 16, 2016

chicken pot pie

Is it possible for a piece of furniture to be haunted?

Wait. Don’t answer that. Really. I want to be able to sleep within the next year.

The reason I ask is because a few weeks ago my mother showed up with a minivan full of furniture. (This is how I shop for housewares. Other people go to Ikea, I call my mom.)

One of the pieces of furniture she brought me was a kitchen island from my great grandmother’s kitchen. I never met her– my mother’s father’s mother — but from all accounts she was a no-nonsense, Midwestern lady. I suspect she was not the type to take kindly to picky eaters, and I can just imagine the reaction she might have to something like a kale quinoa smoothie.

The island has a porcelain top that’s nicked and bruised in a way that makes it clear that this thing is not meant to just sit around and look pretty. It is meant to work. Although it does look pretty — really pretty.

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The bottom has a small cabinet, two utensil drawers and a metal bread drawer. This just tells you how much this thing is from a whole different era — back when carbs had their very own drawer and were not considered the devil.

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Ever since the island has been in my kitchen, I’ve found myself wanting to cook hearty, old-fashioned, stick-to-your-ribs kind of meals — meatloaf covered in ketchup, thick egg noodles with sausage and gravy, and pie. Lots of pie.

Maybe it’s the ghost of my great grandmother inspiring me. Or maybe it’s because I finally have counter space after living in an apartment with a kitchen the size of a postage stamp for over two years. Or maybe it’s just because, well, PIE.

Either way, I found myself whipping up chicken pot pies twice recently. I feel my great grandmother would have approved of the meal although I’m not so sure she would have approved of my method.

For example, I did not go out and kill and pluck the chicken myself like my great grandmother probably did. In fact, I didn’t even cook it. I left that up to the rotisserie geniuses at Meijer.

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And as much as I pride myself on making a pretty mean pie crust, I went with the pre-made crust this time. Because, seriously, who’s got time to mess around with pie crust — besides, maybe, the Pillsbury dough boy who seems to have all the time in the freaking world. I mean, will you look at that carefree look on his face? That’s the look of someone who doesn’t check his work email on his cell phone at 12 o’clock at night.

crust

Oh, and I used a recipe from The Pioneer Woman that only called for one crust — a top crust — instead of both a top and a bottom crust. Usually, I would be opposed to any recipe that skimps on pie crust because there never can be enough crust in my opinion, but if a blog with the word “pioneer” in the title says it’s okay, it’s okay.

And I do have to say there is something deeply satisfying and homey about rolling the top pie crust over a casserole dish full of vegetables, chicken bits and broth. It felt like I was tucking it in to bed for a long night’s sleep. Except it was going to be sleeping in my oven. At 375 degrees. Which is probably not a good temperature for sleeping.

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Despite all my shortcuts, I have to say when I pulled out the pot pie all crackly and golden, I had to think that my great grandmother would have been proud.

Or at least I was proud. Not proud enough to stop myself from shoveling crackly pie crust directly into my face. But still pretty darn proud.

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What go-to meal do you make when you’re in the mood for something hearty and stick-to-the-ribs… or when the ghosts in your furniture is forcing you to do so?

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I've blathered on long enough! Now it's your turn!

  1. On March 16, 2016 at 11:56 am Marion said:

    Turkey stew, which is pretty much a pot pie without crust, right?

    • On March 16, 2016 at 12:00 pm Sally said:

      That sounds delicious! If you have a recipe, feel free to share! 🙂

      • On March 21, 2016 at 7:42 pm Marion said:

        It’s usually an ad-lib thing at our house, using leftover turkey from a roast that has been cut into chunks and frozen. Sometimes if I don’t have frozen meat from a roast I buy turkey legs or breasts at the store and roast them to get the meat for it. If I roast a turkey, I boil the bones to make a delicious stock that I then reduce and freeze. I am a big fan of freezing things for future time-saving.

        So for about 8 oz of pre-cooked, cubed meat, use the following amounts or whatever looks good for you:

        – 1 large onion or two smaller ones, chopped
        – Sautee in the stew pot in some butter or oil until softened and golden, then add:
        – A couple of stalks of celery (the leaves add good flavour) chopped, and:
        – A couple of decent-sized carrots, chopped
        – Once everything is softening and melding a bit, add the turkey meat and then add:
        – Pre-made turkey stock or bouillon cubes – I don’t know how much … until there’s enough liquid
        – Add seasoning: salt, pepper, and whatever else you like such as parsley, sage, oregano, etc. You can add a little now and then more later before thickening if it needs more flavour. If you’ve made your own turkey stock and reduced it before freezing, it won’t need a lot of extra seasoning.
        Optional:
        – mushrooms – add good flavour (sautee with onions, celery, and carrots)
        – potatoes cut into chunks – this makes it a one-pot meal, unless you want to have some bread on the side with a salad. (add with the turkey meat)

        After you’ve added the stock and seasoning, cover and let it all stew (that’s the point after all) on a medium heat for half an hour or more until your house smells pretty good, then thicken. I use some mashed potato flakes, adding until I get the thickness I like, but you could use flour, arrowroot, etc.
        If you put in too much liquid, leave the cover off for a while to reduce it before thickening. Stir throughout the whole process so there’s no sticking on the bottom. This is a recipe for when you’ll be in the house, cleaning, reading, or watching TV. You could probably adapt it to a slow cooker, too.

  2. On March 16, 2016 at 1:13 pm Susie said:

    I make pasties. Except I make mine in a pie plate with lots of gravy. So basically they’re a big beef pot pie. And then there’s my latest love — the cream puff with Boston Cream Pie filling and chocolate icing — for dessert.

    • On March 20, 2016 at 12:50 pm Sally said:

      I’ve put “learn how to make pasties” on my list of things I need to do since moving to Michigan — and I have yet to do it. Must get working on that! And that cream puff sounds AWESOME.

  3. On March 16, 2016 at 4:15 pm kathi g said:

    I just moved to New England, where Chicken Pot Pies, yummy “homemade” ones seem to be in every market. They have become a comfort staple. In fact, on this cold, rainy night, it’s what I’m having for dinner. Again.

  4. On March 16, 2016 at 5:27 pm zoe said:

    My go-to comfort food these days is Naples-style potatoes & pasta – double carbs 4eva! I do something like this http://mariomatassa.blogspot.com/2012/03/pasta-and-potatoes-alla-napoletana.html but I am lazy about washing up so I do it as a one-pot dish: cook the potatoes until they’re just at the point where you can stick a fork through them, then add the pasta and a bit of hot water/stock to the same pot, stir occasionally and/or add more water as needed until the pasta’s cooked. (It will take longer than the cooking time given on the pasta packet.)
    zoe recently posted..Sometimes travel days are their own stories.

  5. On March 16, 2016 at 8:24 pm Leslie in Oregon said:

    Very nice kitchen island! As to whether or not it is haunted by your great-grandmother…that is for you to decide.

    Your chicken pot pie looks so good that I am going to make it for dinner Friday evening. And that is really saying something, because I have not cooked anything (in any sense of that word) for a long time. (I used to cook from scratch for passengers in the galley of a commercial jet, so I usually feel like done my time….Fortunately, my husband has become quite a good cook.)

    • On March 20, 2016 at 12:49 pm Sally said:

      Wait. You cooked from scratch on an airplane??? I didn’t even know that happened. That sounds like a good story — and totally a reason not to cook anymore! 🙂

      • On March 20, 2016 at 7:56 pm Leslie in Oregon said:

        I have many good stories from my years of flying for Pan Am in the 1970s…it was a great experience! One of the most challenging in a galley was when, as part of breakfast to be served about 1.5 hours out of Papeete, Tahiti, I had to cook eggs to order for a first class full of French passengers, each of whom wanted his/her eggs done a very particular way different from all the rest. Because of their chemistry, eggs tend to turn green when cooked at altitude, and my passengers definitely did not like even a tinge of green in their eggs. I was still cooking eggs, trying to get them right for every passenger, when it was time to secure the galley for landing. Or at least that’s how I remember it!

        • On March 23, 2016 at 11:30 am Sally said:

          Oh wow, that’s a great story! And I had no idea about that eggs turned green due to altitude. The things I’ve learned from your comments! 🙂

  6. On March 21, 2016 at 11:38 am Paula said:

    I love Chicken pot pie! This looks so good!

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