I have been cooking, baking, creating, and serving food for as long as I can remember. I love it. Food is a universal language. No matter where you go, it is one of the things that binds us all together. Like many of you, I have ‘foodie friends’, ‘music friends’, and
definitely maybe even ‘wine friends’.
One of my ‘foodie friends’ came up to me a few months ago with her big brown eyes and a serious request. Her and her husband were looking to change employment, and, because they both worked at hotels, that meant they couldn’t eat their main meal of the day for free anymore. Nor would they have the same income to eat out whenever they pleased. She looked at me and asked if there was any way I could help her learn to up her cooking skills so her and her husband could enjoy good food at home and save some money at the same time. Along with that, I would like to thank one of the local bottled spaghetti sauce companies for bringing her to me with this request (which shall remain nameless) as she said “my sweet husband made me pasta with (nameless) sauce and I said honey, I love you, but I can’t eat this”.
I just couldn’t say no. I’m always up for people trying to up their cooking game and sending me pictures of their food with the little hearts-in-the-eyes emoticon.
So I said sure and we set to a loose schedule that worked for both of us. We started off with chicken schnitzel, the classic Balsamic Penne Pasta, Tikka Masala, to name a few. She was not as incompetent as she had led me to believe, and so before you know it, when I asked what she wanted to try next, she said Chicken Pot Pie.
I was impressed. I warned her, pastry is a whole beast on it’s own. “I’m ready”, she replied. I admired her guts.
Her and her husband arrived a little earlier that day. First we made the filling and let it cool. Then we did the pastry. I had been frightened of pastry for YEARS so wasn’t sure how this was going to go. But she is a very diligent student and did better than just fine. I made the first one and she did the second and let me tell you, you couldn’t tell the difference. Dang, the girl has natural talent.
We pieced our pies together and enjoyed wine while they baked in the oven. Then I actually made everyone wait while they rested a bit. They were a bit gooey inside but man, the seasoning was perfect and that crust! Better than any crust I’ve used before. The six of us inhaled almost two entire pies that night. It was comfort food at it’s best.
I had to make them again and share the recipe with you. If I can say anything, use a LOT of seasoning. I don’t mean salt, I mean sage and thyme. The second time I made it the seasoning wasn’t as strong and I preferred the first attempt. You can taste test the mixture before you throw it into the pie crust and adjust it as necessary. Season season season!
And avoid all people with big brown eyes. Don’t do what I did, I married one.
- 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut in half if too thick
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons sage
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1/2 cup diced carrots
- 1/2 cup diced potatoes
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 1/2 cup flour
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
Make pastry as indicated.
Season chicken breasts. In a medium saucepan, fry in a little oil until cooked through, a few minutes per side (or roast in an oven for 30 minutes). Let cool and then dice or shred chicken.
In sauce-pan, melt butter and add vegetables. Cook for about 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and stir for another minute. Add flour and stir about 2 minutes until flour is dissolved. Add chicken broth and stir until thick. If mixture has too much liquid, add more flour in. Add whipping cream and chicken. Check seasoning and let cool.
Remove pastry from refrigerator and divide in half. Roll out on well floured surface and turn into a pie pan. Spoon filling into crust. Roll out second dough and lay on top. If you have too much excess dough, cut around the edges. Bring the two crusts together and pinch together. Alternatively, if you have small baking vessels, do not put a crust on the bottom, just spoon in filling and top with
Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven. Cook for about 30 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Cool ten minutes before serving.
Makes one pie or four small pies.