Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bun In The Oven and Tornado Pot Pie

I officially have 10 days until this bun-in-my-oven's timer goes off, at which point I'm going to cross my fingers and hope that this baby didn't inherit her mother's penchant for forgetful lethargy. I want her born asap. If she uses my ribs as a bracing point to push her head against my bladder one more time I might...well, let's be realistic. I'll probably just keep complaining.

In the meantime I'm distracting myself with various domestic challenges. They're proving even more challenging with a belly the size (and weight) of a prize-winning watermelon, especially since a watermelon doesn't kick and prod the poor 4H kid who has to haul it around, whereas my baby seems to have a take-no-prisoners attitude toward expressing her discomfort if I sit up too straight, squat for too long or even think about clipping my toenails.

One of the things I'm doing is cooking (shocker! I know). But actually I have no choice: Several days ago while at Stop and Shop, I was seduced by the "Big Buy!" chicken sale. I mean, who doesn't want save $18 on 10lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breast? Let's be real.

The problem came after I got home, and a freak tornado took out my power for the next two days. Yeah, that's right. A FREAK TORNADO. I moved allll the way from Tornado Alley to the Land of Martha Stewart only to have vicious winds toss around various trees all along our power line.

(Good Question: Why don't we just bury power lines now? It looks better for one thing, and Lord knows this county is all about aesthetics. Seems like it would also solve a lot of maintenance issues.)

Thank goodness no one was hurt, and that includes our house. Watching tree branches the size of my car fly through the air almost gave me second thoughts about living in what is for all practical purposes, a glass house. Don't worry, I throw no stones.

However, this meant that not only could I not cook for several day (electric stove and oven) but I also panicked any time someone would open the refrigerator as I imagined all the valuable cold air molecules tumbling out into my un-air-conditioned kitchen, leaving all the precious food inside to spoil. This did not bode well for my "Big Buy!".

Finally, early yesterday morning, the power was back. The chicken was fine, but it getting awfully close to its expiration date. Today, I took half of the chicken and made a couple of pot pies for eating and freezing. The recipe is really simple, so I thought I'd share:

As usual with my recipes, it's pretty flexible. I'll note various things as I go along.


1-2lbs of chicken breast, cubed (I consistently forget to actually *cube* the chicken meat before I throw it into the pot for cooking. Not a big deal, just let it cook and cool, then cube it.)
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup peas, frozen (really this could be any kind of green vegetable you like. Broccoli? Sure. Green beans? Yep, just make sure they're cut up fairly small. Heck, you could probably throw in some spinach if you were able to get enough moisture out before hand. I think it is important to have a green vegetable in there both for nutritional value and for color, but don't hesitate to throw in random leftover corn, sweet peppers, potatoes or whatever else you have floating around. The only thing to keep in mind is that the more you put in, the more filling you are creating so try to keep the total veggie count below 3 cups. Also, if you're going to freeze it, only use waxy potatoes. The starchy ones get gross.)
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup onion, chopped
1/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
2/3 cup milk
2, 9inch pie crusts (if you're making this to be frozen, I suggest only using one, as a top crust.)

1. Preheat the oven to 425. Throw the chicken, peas, carrots and celery into a pot and boil until cooked. When the carrots are al dente, drain the water but reserve 1 1/4 cup of it for later use. If you forget to reserve this, you can just use chicken broth.
2. Sautee the onion in the butter until it's soft. Add the flour and celery seed, stirring until thick.
3. Add the reserved water (or broth) plus the milk a little bit at a time, so that it ends up looking like cream of onion soup.
4. Mix in the chicken and veggies.
5. Season to taste. I usually use some unmeasured combination of salt, pepper, Lawry's, thyme, sage, parsley, garlic, tarragon etc. I'm not saying I use all of those things every time, I'm just saying those are some ideas to run with. Just add some seasoning, taste it, and add some more if it's still boring.
6. Grease/butter/spray the pie pan you're using so the crust won't stick when you go to cut it. Line the bottom of the pan with one pie crust, and fill it up with the chicken mixture.
7. Before you put the top crust on, now is the time to contemplate any decorations you want to put on the top, both to be fun and to allow for steam to escape while it's cooking. In the past I've don't initials, a turkey (that was for leftover thanksgiving potpie), polka dots, stars...whatever. Today I'm tired so I just took a knife and cut a large X across the middle.
8. Cover the filling with the to crust, pressing it onto the bottom crust to seal it.
9. If you are freezing the pie, wait for it to cool completely, wrap it in foil and saran wrap or freezer paper or whatever, and put it in the freezer.
10. If you are eating this pie for dinner, put it in the oven for 30-35 minutes until it looks really delicious.

No comments:

Post a Comment