Chicken Pot Pie

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Source: adapted from A Year of Pies by Ashley English

Ingredients:
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

Directions:
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.)

7 responses to “Chicken Pot Pie

  1. Julie,

    Has Matt ever told you what it is about English peas that he doesn’t like? I’m just wondering because I don’t care for the taste of fresh English peas either. Frozen green peas are fine, but it’s the flavor of the fresh ones I don’t much care for. I’ve bought the fresh ones, shelled them myself, cooked them gently, and still don’t care for the taste. Fortunately, when I was trying to find a way to cook the things and make them taste better, I had a Pekingese that loved them raw or cooked. That dog wound up getting a lot of peas. Why do you suppose frozen green peas taste different? Are they really a younger version of the same vegetable? I guess Matt and I are 2 peas in a different pod. Sorry, but I just had to say it.

    • Texan New Yorker

      Patricia – actually he either can’t or won’t articulate why he hates them. But he’s the opposite of you in that he is okay with fresh shelled peas, but only if they are raw – cooked is no bueno. And he really hates frozen and canned peas. And it doesn’t matter to him if they’re regular or baby peas – both don’t pass muster for him. I’ve actually never had a fresh pea (that I remember anyway). I’d definitely be curious to try them though!

  2. I think I’m the only one who enjoys peas in my family, though the rest will not deliberately pick them out of a dish. Mainly the peas in our house are frozen ones used to soothe boo boos. Or sugar snaps from the garden that rarely make it in the house before getting gobbled. By me.

    What you cook for love reminds me of my turkey divan. My spouse loves that casserole, and I love him, so I’m fixing it every week until he leaves. Please note I didn’t mention that I love it (in fact, I’ve been sick of it for years) and by the time he leaves I think the kids will be sick of it, too!

    Thanks for this clever idea–I’m looking forward to our CSA farm share to see if we get asparagus this year!

    • Texan New Yorker

      Oh, I hope you get asparagus in your CSA, they are so yummy! And they make terrific pizzas! 🙂

      That is very sweet of you to make his favorite turkey divan dish every week. When does he leave again?

      Matt will actually eat and enjoy any other kind of pea other than the English peas. He likes sugar snaps, snow peas, and edamame, which I realize isn’t a pea at all, but they taste so similar to peas to me that I don’t understand how he can make such a significant differentiation, but alas, he can.

  3. Fresh english peas have a starchy taste somewhat similar to butterbeans. At least that’s how they taste to me. Frozen green peas have a sweet bright taste that’s completely different to the fresh peas.

    I too hope Kirsten is blessed with some asparagus in her CSA basket. That’s a wonderfuly versatile vegetable.

    • Texan New Yorker

      Starchy?? I never would have guessed that based on the taste of frozen peas! Maybe I’ll taste some someday… 🙂

  4. Pingback: Chicken and Waffles For Two | The Texan New Yorker

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