I just couldn’t face the office. This has been a trying week, to say the least, and more of the same just wasn’t going to cut it today. My brain needed a break and my soul needed some comfort. And my house needed some cleaning. So I decided I would do my best and try to channel Donna Reed. Do you remember The Donna Reed Show? I am not old enough to have seen it on prime time, but it was a Nick at Nite favorite for me when I was in my late teens for some reason. Goth Girl loves Donna Reed. That’s priceless. Here’s a nice shot of Donna in her kitchen, you’ll have to wait for the Goth picture of me.
We’re going for the ultimate in comfort here. Chicken Pot Pie. One of the kiddie’s favorites. Here’s the stuff you need–it’s not much, see? And yes, Slow Food people, I am using a prepared pie crust. If you want to make one from scratch, be my guest. I sometimes use those Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry Sheets, too. I took this after I had started the chicken, so there’s a little ceramic chicken to signify the chicken thighs.
You can use a rotisserie chicken, or any cooked chicken. I used a package of 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, and just did a quick braise on them to get them cooked and also to flavor the broth to make the gravy for the pot pie.
Heat some oil in a saucepan. Lay the chicken thighs in the pan, skin side down and season with salt and pepper.
Flip it over when it’s lightly browned. Pour in 3 cups chicken broth (1 carton) and 1/2 cup of dry white wine. I put in a couple of crushed garlic cloves too–no need to peel them, you’ll strain them out later.
Let it come to a boil, then turn down the heat so that it barely bubbles. Let continue to cook for about 15 minutes.
Remove the chicken breasts to a plate. You can take their temperature if you like to make sure they’re cooked through. They should be about 160. If they’re a little underdone it’s ok, because they’ll cook more in the oven.
Strain the cooking liquid and set aside.
Return the same pan to the stovetop and heat a couple Tbsp oil and a couple Tbsp of butter. Add in 2 chopped shallots and a big clove of chopped garlic.
Don’t cook them long, only enough to really smell the garlic. Burned garlic is no good.
Add the diced carrot and diced celery. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook for a couple of minutes, then sprinkle in 1/4 cup of flour.
Stir it about and let the flour cook on the vegetables. It looks weird, but that’s how it’s supposed to look.
Add the strained stock back to the pan.
Bring to a boil. If you want to add diced potatoes, now’s the time to do it. This time I didn’t. Let cook down and reduce for about 10 minutes, until thickened and reduced by about a third.
Add whatever other vegetables you want–I added some mushrooms and half a bag of frozen peas. I also added some chopped sage and thyme.
This crappy, blurry picture shows the adding in of the chicken that was removed from the bones. Fold through and let cook 5 minutes.
Pour into individual ramekins or one big pie dish or other ovenproof bakeware.
Next, lay on the pastry and crimp the sides. Snip some air vents on the top. Put it on a sheet pan in case of bubbling over. Brush the top with some milk or beaten egg.
Piping hot chicken pot pie! Let it cool.
On to our side dish…..Roasted Acorn Squash and Sweet Potatoes with Brown Sugar. I’ve adapted a recipe from the final issue of Gourmet here. By the way, can you believe Gourmet magazine is going out of business after nearly 70 years? Conde Nast is lame. I will miss it terribly. I have subscribed to it since the late 80’s and have every issue. It is so far superior to Bon Appetit–I can’t figure out their thinking.
Back to the veg….
Get your very sharpest giant knife and slice the squash lengthwise and then crosswise about 1/2″ thick. Cut the sweet potato into 1/2″ thick rounds too. Don’t peel either of them.
Spread them onto a sheet pan.
Drizzle with a Tbsp melted unsalted butter and 2 Tbsp olive oil.
Toss and season with salt and pepper. Into the oven they go, for about 15 minutes.
Pull out the rack and flip them over with tongs. Then back in the oven for 10 minutes.
Now the good part. Mix 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp nutmeg and a big pinch of cayenne pepper in a bowl.
Pat the sugar onto the vegetables. Kind of like the candied bacon. Look, my vegetables are smiling.
Back into the oven they go for another half hour.
I feel better. Now, where’s my Snuggie? Project Runway is about to come on.