Thursday, June 3, 2010

my, oh my, chicken pot pie

in loving memory of my stepmom georgina who loved chicken pot pie best of all.

One afternoon, as I stood in front of my favorite produce stand, in the Pike Place Market, I awaited my turn while simultaneously awaiting divine inspiration for dinner.  I soon overlooked divinity in favor of eavesdropping as the woman ahead of me shared her dinner plans:  chicken pot pie with bacon, marjoram and crème fraiche.  You had me at bacon.

It was an “I’ll have what she’s having” moment.  Of course, no recipe is complete without a few personal touches. 

As the woman in front of me rattled off her list of ingredients, which included carrots, green beans and onions, I omitted onions in favor of leeks and tacked on fingerling potatoes, which I planned to slice in 1/4 inch rounds and parboiled to insure doneness.  I opted for organic bunch carrots rather than the suggested baby carrots, which was a minor detail.  The original recipe called for an already roasted deli chicken.  I decided to buy free range chicken breasts, rub them with olive oil and sea salt and broil them in the oven.  I increased the amount of crème fraiche, to make a thicker sauce, and I added white wine, a sauvignon blanc.

Puff pastry is to chicken pot pie what icing is to cake and I like to gussy mine up with petite hearts, crimped edges and an egg wash.  The little hearts puff up adorably when they bake.  Puff pastry is something that I have not attempted to make myself but I generally find the grocery store varieties disappoint.  They contain hydrogenated fat among other unpronounceable ingredients.  As luck would have it, there is an outstanding puff pastry called Dufour, available at gourmet grocery stores, nationwide, such as Metropolitan Market, in Seattle.  It is award winning and with good reason.  The ingredient which puts the Dufour dough on its pedestal is high quality European butter, sorely lacking in its hydrogenated counterparts.  The price tag will set you back about triple what you pay for the other brands but it is worth every penny.

I love making this chicken pot pie for new moms and I usually tuck a few extras in our freezer for evenings when inspiration proves elusive.

When I wearily utter the words, “What should I make for dinner?” 

My daughter, Annabelle will often reply, “My, oh my, chicken pot pie!”

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