AUTHOR: Julia TITLE: Comfort (and Joy) DATE: 2/12/2010 03:43:00 PM ----- BODY:
Cultures around the world have tricks for re-purposing leftovers into something delicious… The British recycle Sunday dinner into Bubble and Squeak – potato and cabbage patties with leftover mashers and braised cabbage. The Chinese fry day-old rice to refresh it with scraps of meats and vegetables. And Americans mix together all the Thanksgiving leftovers to come up with pot pie.

Is it coincidence that these dishes represent comfort food?

Of course, I didn’t make pot pie at Thanksgiving – though it would have been perfect with leftover pie dough scraps, creamed mushrooms, turkey, green beans and gravy all mixed together. Instead, I waited until a weekend when I hunkered down to cook.

I was cooking for a friend who recently lost her husband after a long battle of with MS.

I sensed she hadn’t been eating well, so I devised a strategy to provide both nourishment and a restorative. A nice meal always lifts my spirits, so I opted for my new favorite lobster dish that she could enjoy on the evening I stopped by. I made a quart of chicken soup to feed the soul,  and a few pot pies to offer a little comfort.

Pot pie is the perfect freezer food as it can be made in individual ramekins and baked without defrosting. I was able to use up broccoli stems, some carrots and a few random mushrooms. You can use whatever vegetables you like. Once assembled, I put them in the freezer so they can be baked whenever you’re in need of a little comfort.
Chicken Pot Pie
This isn’t so much a recipe as it is a suggestion.
1 – 2 potatoes
3 tbs. butter
3 tbs. flour
¼ cup white wine
3 cups liquid – a combination of chicken broth, cream and/or milk.
Cooked chicken, cut into ½ bite size pieces
Diced carrots
Broccoli or peas
Mushrooms
Pie dough – frozen or use your favorite recipe
Salt and pepper
Fresh herbs like parsley, thyme or basil

1. Cut potatoes into ½ inch dice. Put in a pot of cold water. Add salt. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Drain.
2. In a medium pot over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour and cook for two minutes or until butter bubbles up again. Add wine first then the liquid slowly, whisking constantly.
3. When liquid is incorporated, bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to simmer.
4. Add vegetables and chicken. Check the seasoning for salt and pepper. Add fresh herbs.
5. Put filing in ramekins.
6. Cut pie dough to match the ramekins in size. Top each ramekin with dough.
7. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until tops are golden brown and the filling is bubbling.
8. Serve with a salad.


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----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous noble pig DATE:2/12/2010 05:13:00 PM I love your suggestions, I would hunker down with this anytime! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) DATE:2/12/2010 11:50:00 PM I love pot pies! My favorite thing is plunging the crust into the filling and letting it get a bit gooey. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types DATE:2/14/2010 08:18:00 PM I hadn't really thought of pot pies for winter leftovers, but what a great idea. We used to have them (from the freezer) when I was a kid, but wouldn't it be fun to make one from "scratch?" ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger ~~louise~~ DATE:2/17/2010 08:36:00 AM I absolutely agree. Why is it I never thought to keep a fresh stash in the freezer. I will change that immediately! Thanks for sharing, Julia. I do hope your friend is feeling better each day... ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger grace DATE:2/28/2010 07:39:00 AM of all the things considered comfort foods by americans, chicken pot pie ranks right up there with buttery mashed potatoes and saucy lasagna for me. i like your suggestions--i've never considered freezing individual portions, but it's a great idea! ----- --------