When 4pm rolls around everyday, excitement usually rises from my belly. Dinner preparation has always been a happy time of the day for me. I love the challenge. I would love to come to your house, look in your fridge and just make it all work. The days when you say there is nothing in the fridge to make for dinner, is the day to ask me over.
I am a believer in keeping staples in my fridge and pantry, a list that has evolved over time. Here is my current list:
Canned Fire Roasted Tomatoes
Canned Tomato sauce
Brown Rice Pasta
Frozen Pie crusts
Half and half
That is the bare minimum. I have a lot of extras like an extra pound of coffe and bacon in the freezer too. When I moved here and discovered the hard way that popping over to the store is not an option, I started my list. This past summer we got a freezer to keep in the garage. I spent a week dreaming about all the ways I would fill it. Being a 40 minute drive from town and my own tendencies of hoarding food staples for armageddon made getting a freezer a perfect addition to my kitchen life. My first freezer goodies were berries. My girlfriend and I toured all the local organic berry farms this past june and july, and I think I put 20lbs of berries away. Ollaberries, logan berries, blueberries, rasberries, blackberries; they are all frozen waiting for the perfect mid-january dinner party when everyone is sick of mandarins and chocolate. I went through a canning phase, but the mixture of bacterial contamination fears and somehow convincing myself I would be the person who would blow up their house with a pressure canner was offputing. Yes, a freezer is a much better fit for me.
Anyway, last night I realized I had all the ingredients for chicken pot pie. An official crowd pleaser. Wonderful for leftovers. Want to try it? I promise it will not fail you. After it comes out of the oven let it sit 10 minutes. That will let it set slightly. This is adapted from Cooks Illustrated Best Recipe Pot Pie recipe.
1 med onion chopped
4 med carrots peeled, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 cup frozen peas
2 med ribs celery chopped 1/2 inch thick
8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
salt and pepper
1 pie crust or 1 recipe loaf of cornbread
4 Tbls butter
3 Tbls dry cooking sherry
2 Tbls olive oil
chicken thighs and chicken stock in pot. Bring to boil and cook until done (10min or so).
Remove chicken thighs, put on plate to cool.
Pour chicken stock into a glass measuring cup and set aside.
In same pot, heat olive oil and sautee onions, carrots and celery for 6 minutes.
Put sauteed veggies into a bowl.
Shred chicken and add it to the veggies in the bowl.
Put 4 Tbls of butter in empty pan, melt butter and add flour. Sautee with a whisk until blended. A minute or so. Add chicken stock slowly while whisking. Add fresh herbs, salt and pepper. Bring to simmer and let thicken about 4 or 5 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper. Add sherry.
Add this to the veggie/chicken bowl. Stir together and taste for salt and pepper. Add frozen peas.
Pour into a pie dish. Top with pie crust (so only pie crust on top) or spoon cornbread mixture on top of the pot pie. Baking the pot pie will cook the corn bread if you are choosing this topping. I like the pie crust because it is easy. I also like Pillsbury refrigerated dough. I think it has the best texture. Cook for 30-35 minutes at 400 degrees.
There you have it! Tell me how it turns out if you try it!