Nothing evokes a sense of home more than the scent of onions and celery simmering in a sea of butter on the stove. (Nice alliteration, eh?) We all smell the warmth at Thanksgiving when preparations for the stuffing are underway, but during the year it’s also nice to stir up some of those fragrant memories.
Tonight I’m making my favorite – chicken pot pies. I’ve already outlined the recipe on this site, but I just couldn’t resist mentioning these little golden nuggets again. Talk about comfort food!
The pastry’s already chilling in the refrig. The potatoes and carrots have been par-boiled (not necessary, but I’m using waxy potatoes and they take longer to soften.) And the chicken is diced and ready to be added. A quick stir, throw in some frozen peas, dust it all with flour and add water for a gravy, throw in a chicken bouillon and the inside is ready to go.
Sounds easy? Hah!
The pie-making process is laborious, I kid you not. While the crust is undergoing its first refrigeration, you make the filling. That needs to cool, so you have time to pull the dough from the refrigerator and make the pie bottoms. They go back into the refrigerator while you finesse the good stuff, the comfort part of comfort-food. (My grandson, Jacob, once complained to my daughter that, “Grandma made me eat comfort food!” as his tears spilled onto his plate of Cottage Pie.)
Take one dough-disk from the refrigerator, cut it into four pieces and let it warm up for a minute or so before rolling it out. Roll a perfect circle, plop it into the pie mold, fit it securely, trim the edges and put it back into the refrigerator while you do the rest.
The pie-bottoms having chilled, the chicken mixture now cool, it’s ready to assemble.
Pull one mold at a time out of the refrigerator. Fill it, roll the top crust, fit it and zoom it back to the refrigerator. This is when you preheat the oven.
Get creative and cut a decoration from the left-over dough, decorate the top of each pie, and swath it in an egg wash.
Be sure the molds are on a bakery tin before you put them in the oven. And then – bake!
Then, and only then, will your memories of Roy Rogers, Mr. GreenJeans, I Love Lucy and Sky King swirl in your head, as your chicken pot pie turns a golden hue and the juices ooze out of the sides.
It doesn’t get any better than that!