Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Fix Me A Chicken* Pot Pie!

One of the very best things I did for myself before Mia made her entrance into the world was to fill our freezer with food. There were many, many items on my "Things To Do Before Baby Arrives" list that I did not get around to, like finish the baby blanket I started knitting six months ago or get Anna out of diapers. But with about two weeks until her due date, I began stockpiling freezer containers and doubling our favorite recipes. Chili, spaghetti sauce, beef and barley soup - it was such a huge relief those first few weeks to know that my family was going to be eating a healthy meal that didn't require much more than heating up.

The night before my water broke, I tried out a new recipe for chicken pot pie - mostly because it made two and I was excited to hoard even more food for my freezer. I also really, really love all things pie. Chicken pot pie was always on my list of favorites growing up, but for some reason the idea of baking one just seemed like it would be way too difficult. Even after mastering Beef & Cheddar Pie, I assumed chicken pot pie would just be more hassle than it was worth.

I was wrong. It's actually not that hard. And it's so, so good.

I should first admit, though, that this recipe calls for store-bought pie crust. Maybe someday I'll tackle my fear of pie crust, but for now I'm happy to buy it. You can definitely use homemade if you're super talented like that...just stop showing off, would ya?

This is comfort food at its finest, and will always remind me of the last meal I prepared before we became a family of four.

Chicken Pot Pie

What you need:

I apologize in advance for these pictures. They're terrible.

2 cups diced, peeled potatoes
1 3/4 cups sliced carrots
2/3 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup butter, cubed (the original recipe calls for a full cup, but it's still plenty rich!)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried thyme
3/4 tsp. pepper
3 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups milk
4 cups cubed cooked chicken (from 3-4 chicken breasts)
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn
pastry for two double-crust pies

What you do:

1. Place potatoes and carrots in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and set aside.

2. In a large skillet, saute' onion in butter until tender. Stir in the flour, salt, thyme, and pepper until blended. Gradually stir in the broth and milk. Bring to a boil, then cook and stir for two minutes, or until thickened. It might start out kind of lumpy, but keep stirring! Add chicken, peas, corn, potatoes, and carrots. Remove from heat.

I know. Doesn't look that appealing. I promise, it gets better.

See? Told ya!

3. Line two pie plates with pastry. Fill with mixture. Top with remaining pastry and seal edges.

4. Bake one potpie at 425 for 35-40 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving. Cover and freeze remaining pot pie.

Ummmm. Mine got a little overcooked. But still delicious!

To use frozen pie: shield edges with foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 425 for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake for 75-80 more minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Mike and I have been known to fight over the leftovers.

What's your favorite comfort food?
Are you as obsessed with freezing meals ahead of time as I am?

Will I ever finish that baby blanket?

Happy Wednesday!

*I realize that the original quote from "The Breakfast Club" is actually turkey pot pie, but it just didn't work. But on that thought, this would be a great recipe to use leftover Thanksgiving turkey!


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