November 2, 2000
Chicken Pot Pie
So the baby seems to have taken the cue to be active whenever I'm inactive. We had meetings today and it was mildly distracting to have the baby kicking away while I was trying to take minutes that meant anything. Pretty amazing.
I had another craving today. Chicken Pot Pie. So I went to epicurious.com and found chicken pot pie with some interesting hints, recipes and the like and, of course, I changed a lot of it in the implementation when I got home. No way I'm making enough pie for 12 by roasting a whole chicken. Instead, I chopped up a potato, two slightly smashed gloves of garlic, celery, half an onion, a bunch of baby carrots, and boneless skinless chicken breast for the roasting pot. I added olive oil, thyme, sage, and some of the rosemary I have growing in my windowsill. Tossed it all and put it in the oven to bake. I then did their rough puff pastry dough, but with half the fat and only one cup of flour and no salt at all and just a rough guess at how much ice water to add. I then did the folding as per the instructions and half expected it to just be pie dough.
Next came the part that usually throws me, in that I normally just make the gravy with flour, oil and chicken broth. This time I was actually able to use the pan that I roasted everything in to scrape up flavor while I cooked the roux. In went the low-sodium non-fat chicken broth and with all the effort I put into the scraping, the gravy came out with flecks of caramelized vegetable, thread of chicken, and all the scent of the roasted herbs and garlic as well. The resulting gravy had a depth to it I had never gotten before. I mixed all the veggies and chicken back into the gravy when it was done and touched it up with just a bit of pepper. I loved that the filling wasn't nearly as terribly salty as all the store-bought pies.
Since the filling was hot and the oven was hot and I just put the cover on the pies in a hotter oven than in the instructions, the pies only baked about 20 minutes, rather than the 50 to 60 required when the filling and pastry was cold. The tops became golden brown and lovely very quickly. The pastry actually turned out layered and flaky. It was tender as well, and tasted really, really good with the roasted filling. Much better than any other pot pie I've ever attempted. So I'll have to remember that trick.
I did a little Final Fantasy while dinner was being put together and while John was biking, after he biked and showered, though, he played a great deal of Ape Escape and I happily read my Lloyd Alexander books and kibitzed only mildly. The baby kicked a lot as I digested. I have a feeling the kid's just happy on blood sugar. I really, really like these quite evenings.