My darling husband is a pretty adventurous eater. He’ll try anything once, and fortunately he enjoys most things he eats. He doesn’t blink twice when I make something odd or new to him. And he’s such a great restaurant companion, especially in a foreign country, because often he’ll purposely order the most daring thing on the menu. I love it, he’s so great to cook for – such a good sport!
So you know where this is going, right? You’ve probably guessed by now that I’m about to launch into the one ingredient that he hates, with a passion, I might add: ENGLISH PEAS. He’s always hated them, and probably always will.
I used to fight this, partly because I do like peas, partly on sheer principles, and partly because it was a fun challenge I gave myself. I usually would make pea pesto. I put it on bruschetta once and he immediately noticed it. Another time I put the pea pesto on pasta, and he said he liked it, until I informed him of the secret ingredient, then he claimed he could taste the peas. Hmm… I also made a pea puree once, which was eaten with salmon, and he left most of the puree on his plate.
But my crowning glory has to be the time I put peas on a pepperoni pizza. Yep, I went there. It was a Ted Allen recipe, so simple to prepare. You simply drizzle olive oil and minced garlic on pizza dough, sprinkle the peas around, then top with cheese, then top the cheese with pepperoni, and bake off. You couldn’t even see the peas! He did eat a slice without complaining, but I noticed he left me all the leftovers, something he never does with pizza. He does enjoy telling people that story though, even if he didn’t enjoy the pizza.
So this is why my chicken pot pie, while pretty traditional in every other way, has asparagus and not peas in it. I chopped the asparagus to sort of resemble the size of peas, and so it would cook quickly. I wanted to make it the pie in the usual way with peas, but I didn’t think I could eat all the leftovers myself; so to avoid that, I knew I couldn’t put peas in there. It was still quite delicious, especially for Matt. The things we do for love, huh? Please enjoy this one, with or without the peas.
Source: adapted from A Year of Pies by Ashley English
1 stick unsalted butter
1 medium onion, diced
3 small to medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 ½ cups sliced Cremini mushrooms
1 stalk celery, trimmed and diced
1 bundle of asparagus, tough ends snapped off, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup half-and-half
1 tsp dried thyme
1 lb. meat from a rotisserie chicken, shredded into bite-size pieces
1 9-inch unbaked pie crust, homemade (I used a half recipe of this pie dough) or the rolled-up store-bought kind
1 large egg yolk
1 tbs cold water
Grease a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Set aside.
Melt 2 tbs butter in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, mushrooms, and celery; sauté until softened and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook another 5 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute. Remove from the heat and transfer to a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Melt the remaining 6 tbs butter in the same skillet, then add the flour. Whisk constantly for 2 minutes, until the mixture turns a sort of blond color. Gradually stir in the chicken stock, whisking constantly to create a creamy sauce. Now whisk in the wine, half-and-half, and thyme, then cook, stirring frequently, 10 minutes longer until thickened. Return the vegetable mixture to the skillet, along with the shredded chicken. Stir until everything is coated with the sauce.
Assemble the pie: pour the chicken and vegetable mixture into the greased pie plate. Cover evenly with the chilled crust. Fold the dough overhang over on the edges of the dish and crimp decoratively if desired. Work quickly though.
Whisk the egg yolk and water in a small bowl, then use a pastry brush to brush the egg wash over the crust. With a sharp paring knife, cut 4 to 6 2-inch slits in the center of the crust, to create steam vents. Again, work quickly – the heat from the chicken can melt the fat in the crust, which you don’t want.
Set the pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 30 to 35 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.
Cool for 20 minutes before serving. (Sorry.)