Originally posted February 2013.
Dear chicken pot pie,
Hi, I’m Lauren. How are you? I’m OK. I’d be better if I hadn’t poked a hole in my own eardrum the other day, but hey, what can you do, other than pop some ibuprofen and fervently pray to all the powers that may or may not be that it doesn’t turn into a horrifying, excruciating infection like the one that rendered me a weeping, painkiller-addled mess in 2006. But this isn’t about me, and my unfortunate eardrum problems. This is about you.
First off, I am a huge fan. Always been. Growing up, my mom made some pretty delicious dishes, and her version of you was no exception. I usually got so excited about the prospect of putting a spoonful of you in my mouth that I accidentally seared my taste buds and dealt with that weird, stripped-tongue feeling for a few days. It was OK, though. It was a reminder of your utter deliciousness.
I really like you, chicken pot pie. You’re one of my favorites; one of the reasons vegetarianism just isn’t in the cards for me. I like everything about you – your flaky crust, the medley of vegetables packed under that crust, and the holy grail of it all – that creamy roux that all of your components are swimming in. I even like the prepackaged, frozen variety of you, which is saying a lot, given the quality of most frozen equivalents of homemade dishes.
Look, I know we don’t really hang that much. I’m sorry about that. You’re a little time-consuming, when we do get together. And I’m not complaining about that, honest. You’re totally worth it. On top of that, there are so many ways to make you less time-consuming, and you never suffer as a result of that. Whether it involves using pre-cooked rotisserie chicken, or canned cream of chicken soup, or pre-made pie crust, or even just dumping a big honkin’ bowl of Bisquick batter on top of you, you just go with the flow. So, thanks for always being so great, chicken pot pie. You’re like the culinary equivalent of The Beatles – and I’m not just saying that because I’ve been listening to Abbey Road and Help! all night.
Keep on rockin’, chicken pot pie. Until we meet again.
Chicken pot pie (adapted/dumbed down from Ina Garten)
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup pearl onions
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt, pepper & garlic powder (to season the chicken: season generously with salt, a little less generously with pepper, and just a shake or two of garlic powder)
5 cups chicken broth
2 chicken boullion cubes
1 1/2 sticks butter
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
pastry topping (I use Pillsbury pie crusts. You can get all fancypants and make your own…overachievers.)
Preheat your oven to 375F.
Cut your chicken breasts into small, 1 inch-ish cubes. Season them with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Heat a little bit of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat and cook for about 10 minutes, until cooked through. Set aside, preferably on a paper towel, and pat off any excess oil/fat.
In another, smaller saucepan, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the bouillon cubes in the stock. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt your butter over medium-low heat until melted and a little bit bubbly. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for two minutes. Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce. Simmer over low heat for one more minute, stirring, until thick. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and your heavy cream. Add the chicken, carrots, peas and onions, and mix well.
Pour your filling into a large, oven-proof dish, then roll out your pastry and place it over the top. Seriously, I won’t judge you if it’s all ramshackle-looking. My pastry crust ain’t pretty. That’s why I didn’t take pictures of it. Bake for about one hour, until the pastry is flaky and golden.
Eat. It. All. Like so.