I wasn't feeling like myself. In fact, I hadn't cooked since late-January. When work and life get in the way, our hobbies are the first thing to go. For me, that meant no time in the kitchen for the past few weeks. But just like riding a bike, you get back to feeling like "you" in no time when it's your favorite thing to do.
Yesterday I was looking for comfort and a dish that would give me something to "do" in the kitchen. For the first time in weeks, quick and easy wasn't the goal. So, I luxuriated in chopping and relaxed into dough rolling. With some good tunes, there's nothing better.
It's days like this that I'm reminded that I truly LOVE this. The goal for the day was just to enjoy myself. At the end, we were had a warm and cuddly bowl of Chicken Pot Pie.
The basis for this pie are tasty root vegetables, including potatoes, pearl onion, sweet potatoes and flavor-packed parsnip. Above ground peas, mushrooms and thyme complete the pie.
The majority of prep time is spent chopping up all of the veggies. Do your best to get things about the same size. This will ensure things will cook at the same rate.
Mid-way through the cooking you'll add chicken and continue to simmer until cooked through. Then using a slotted spoon, you'll remove the vegetable mixture to a bowl. The cooking liquid will be the basis of a creamy sauce.
To avoid clumping, whisk together the milk and flour before adding to the hot stock and wine mixture. Ahh...doesn't it feel so good to be back in a cute apron? So much more like you than a business suit.
Cook the cream sauce until thickened. A good indicator of thickness is when it is viscous enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Vegetables and cream sauce united!
Roll out thawed puff pastry. Feel the grit of flour in your fingers and feel like you're finally home. With any luck, you'll have some on your face.
4 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
2 cups white wine
2 cups frozen green peas, thawed
1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
4-5 parsnips, peeled and diced
1 (10oz) package frozen pearl onions
1lb cremini mushrooms, quartered
1lb skinless, boneless chicken breast, cubed
2/3 cup flour
1 1/2 cups fat free milk
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bring chicken stock and white wine to a boil in a large dutch oven. Add peas, potatoes, parsnips, onions and mushrooms. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add chicken and simmer for another 10-15 minutes; cook until potatoes have softened and chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken and vegetables to a bowl, using a slotted spoon.
In a bowl whisk together flour and milk, taking care to avoid lumps. Increase heat to medium and whisk in the milk/flour mixture. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened. Add chicken and vegetable mixture to cream sauce and stir in thyme, salt and pepper. Spoon into greased individual oven-proof bowls or a 9x13 baking dish.
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon flour over a clean surface. Roll out dough to and cut in individual squares to cover bowls or an 11x15 rectangle. Brush beaten egg around edges of baking dish (or dishes). Place dough on top of dish and press into egg-washed edges. Brush top of dough with egg wash. Cut slit into the top of dough to allow steam to escape. Place on a foil-lined baking dish and bake for 30 minutes; or until filling is bubbling and dough is golden brown.