What didn’t we make?
Suzy arrived for her regularly-scheduled Tuesday cooking slot bearing ground turkey to make meatballs and ripened bananas for banana bread. She was eager to be making homemade bread (a luxury for her while her kitchen is being renovated) and made herself at home with my mixer. I was also quite relaxed, pointing out the messier-than-usual kitchen that I just didn’t have time to clean before my cooking guest arrived. We’re getting quite used to one another and it seems the “your kitchen is mine” approach has come to fruition.
I was less prepared than Suzy, a bit scattered in fact, with my cooking agenda. I had made some vegetable samosa filling to experiment with in spring roll wrappers and also had some cookie dough to deal with. Defrosted chicken breasts and pie dough triggered the idea to make individual pot pies, so I threw that in too since it’s a great one pot dinner to keep in the freezer for quick meals.
We weren’t synchronized in our cooking agendas but we cooked side by side with our separate missions in mind. She finished hers first and then helped me fill my samosas, which I baked to accompany our beet soup and flatbread pizza lunch. We were a frenzied two-some for an hour or so until we finally took a break on the porch to eat while Suzy’s meatballs and banana bread baked away. We laughed as we enjoyed a mug of beet soup, which she was surprised she liked, and joked that it would never be made in her new kitchen with its marble backsplash. We decided to keep the messy foods like beets, tomato sauce and curry for my kitchen and leave the mess-free foods for her ever sparkly house.
When we got back to the kitchen after our brief respite, I started peeling and dicing apples for apple pie filling. Suzy and I started cracking up since we both knew I was taking this cooking date a bit too far. I was pushing the limits for my friend who likes to keep things simple in the kitchen. She had no choice but to tolerate me since my kitchen is her best option for now.
Chicken Pot Pie
Makes 1 large pie or 6 mini pies
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 ½ pounds boneless chicken breasts, diced
1 large onion, diced
2 celery sticks, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled, diced and pre-cooked (1 ¼ cups)
3 sprigs fresh thyme (or ½ teaspoon dried)
½ teaspoon salt
1 potato, peeled, diced and pre-cooked (3/4 cup)
½ cup frozen petit peas
1 ¾ cups chicken broth (if not using wine or cream, use a bit more)
1/8 cup white wine (optional)
1/8 cup half and half or heavy cream (optional)
3 tablespoons flour (or corn starch)
2 sheets of pie dough
In a large skillet, heat two tablespoons of the olive oil. Sauté the chicken, seasoning with some salt and pepper for about 7 minutes until fully cooked. Remove the chicken from pan and set aside. Add a touch more oil and begin cooking the onions, garlic and celery. Add the cooked carrots and fresh thyme. Combine the chicken with the vegetables and create a roux by adding the flour. Just as it becomes pasty, gradually add the chicken broth and other desired liquid ingredients until you reach your desired consistency. At the very end, stir in the peas and potatoes. You can always add a bit more stock to thin your gravy or add a tad bit more flour to thicken it.
Lay a bottom crust in a pie dish. Fill the prepared pie pan with filling, top with crust and make it look attractive by crimping the edges. Pierce the top of the crust in several places to allow air in during cooking. Bake or freeze.
If cooking, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees and bake for approximately 30 minutes until golden. You may have to place the pie under the broiler to achieve a crispy top.
* If using leftover chicken, omit the first step. This hearty and flavorful pie is a perfect one dish meal to keep in the freezer for a quick and satisfying dinner. Make several small pies instead of a big one and serve them as individual meals instead.