It has been a tough couple of weeks in these parts. This blog is housed right smack in the South, in the middle of Alabama and in the path of the tornadoes that destroyed so much around me on Wednesday, April 27. It is really hard to see your community hurting – but Alabama is special. In the middle of all the destruction and pain, lost love ones, lost homes, my community has rallied! We are neighbors helping neighbors, giving time, money, stuff and prayers. At the end of the day, everyone needs a little TLC. We all have those days, don’t we – when we can just muddle through to the end of the day, til it is time to drink a little Chardonnay and listen to some Jack Johnson. For alot of us, comfort comes from Chinese takeout and a clean kitchen. But for this girl, the most comforting day ended with a dirty kitchen and a homemade Chicken Pot Pie. The process is fun. Here is the rule about your kitchen anyway. Cooking is fun, it is therapy of the cheapest kind, relaxing, and even a little hot! Be in your kitchen alone, or with loved ones, but please have fun and enjoy. If you don’t, order the takeout, and drink the wine anyway-
So here is a Chicken Pot Pie!
First, the ingredients – don’t be scared- hopefully you have most of this, and you can leave out the stuff you don’t like:
4 Chicken Breasts, with bone and skin
1 tablespoon each – sea salt, pepper, garlic powder and poultry seasoning
1 cup each, diced carrots and potatoes
1 can quartered artichoke hearts
1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds
1 carton fresh sliced mushrooms
1-2 tablespoons butter (for sauteing)
6 tablespoons butter (for sauce)
3 heaping tablespoons flour
1/2 cup sherry or white wine
3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1/2 – 1 cup cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 pkg (2 rolls) Pillsbury ready pie crust
Rinse off the chicken breasts, put them in a big pot and cover them with water.
Give it a big sprinkle of each of these:
Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Poultry Seasoning
Simmer with a slow boil for about an hour, medium to medium high heat. Do this early in the day, after an hour, turn off the stove and just leave them there. Congratulations, you have beautiful chicken and delicious stock!
Take the Chicken breasts out with tongs, and strain the stock through a strainer in to a pitcher – de-bone the chicken, discard all the skin and bones and gross parts so you have a big bowl of lovely shredded chunks of delicious white meat.
Now lets add some veggies- dice up some carrots and potatoes – I like baby carrots and I just chop them in chunks. I like any potato, I don’t even peel them, and dice the same size as the carrots. Wipe out that stock pot a little – the same one you cooked the chicken in – pour in a little of your stock and boil the carrots and potatoes in it! Boil them until they are fork tender, drain them and pour these veggie in the bowl with the chicken – Drain the can of quartered Artichoke hearts and throw them in too.
In a large non-stick skillet – saute a chopped onion in a tablespoon of butter – add a little salt and saute slowly and it will not burn. When the onion is translucent, add the sliced or slivered almonds. Cook until they are slightly tan, then add the container of fresh sliced mushrooms! Saute, add a little more butter, drink another glass of wine and when it is a sauteed pan of yum, pour it over the chicken.
I didn’t say this was a quick meal, just easy and therapeutic!
Now for the last part, the sauce:
In that same skillet, (we don’t like to wash alot of pots and pans) melt about 6 tablespoons of butter and about 3 heaping tablespoons of flour. Yep, we are making roux. Use a whisk to combine so it will be a smooth paste – Cooking this on medium heat only takes about 5 minutes – it does not need to be brown. Keep that whisk moving and add a half cup of sherry or white wine. Don’t add wine if you are running low. You will need that for drinking. Whisk it smooth then slowly add that yummy broth, about half a cup at a time – whisk it smooth and do this until it is the thickness of , well, sauce. Add the leaves only of the sprigs of fresh thyme, and somewhere between a half and a whole cup or half and half, or cream. This should be a velvety, smooth, not to thick, not to thin sauce. Now send it over the top, and add the grated parmesan. Taste it – it might need a little salt and pepper. Mix this with all the chicken and veggies.
At this point, you could let this cool, put half in a container and freeze it – this will make 2 pot pies. The one you want for dinner tonight, pour in a casserole dish and put a ready made pie crust on top (Pillsbury, in the box – there are two of them in there rolled up) Just arrange it to cover your filling – this is home cooking, doesn’t have to be perfect – but it is not hard to make a round crust cover a square dish!
Brush top with a little olive oil and sprinkle with a little sea salt – bake at 350 for about 30 minutes til golden.
So enjoy this comfort meal, and share the second one with someone else who needs some loving. Check back soon because my next recipe will be much easier. It will be a piece of cake. It might even be cake. And I will share stories of my beach trip with my two best friends of 30 years, Susie and Lisa. From now on, they will be referred to as Sus and Lize. Tomorrow I might need to turn on the AC and close the windows. Did I mention I am in the deep south and it gets hot in this kitchen!
Until next time~ Chow!