Sunday, March 20, 2016
"Wrap me close, sheets of lavender. Pour your blue and purple dreams into my ears. The breeze whispers at the shutters and mutters queer tales of old days, and cobbled streets, and youths leaping their horses down marble stairways. Pale blue lavender, you are the colour of the sky when it is fresh-washed and fair ... I smell the stars ... they are like tulips and narcissus ... I smell them in the air."
- from "Spring Day" by Amy Lowell
Today's recipe is an all-season one that I've probably never made the same way twice. Below is one simple variation, but it's easily changed to accommodate the time of year and what you have on hand. In honour of the first day of spring, you might add a little sautéed leek in with the onions. If you make it in the summer, use fresh vegetables rather than frozen. If you want a vegetarian version, use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, and forgo the chicken for broccoli and cauliflower pieces. Slice up a few mushrooms and sauté them along with the onions for extra flavour. You can replace the chicken with lamb, and you could top the pot pie with mashed potatoes, biscuits, or puff pastry. (If using puff pastry, cut a sheet of pastry in narrow slices and make a cross-hatch pattern.
Sometimes I cook it all up in one casserole, and sometimes I put it in mini loaf pans or ramekins. The latter are perfect to freeze for another meal, or to deliver to a university student in need of home-cooked food!
Chicken pot pie
(assembled from my imagination, and whatever I have in the fridge)
2 medium potatoes
4 Tbsp butter
1 onion, diced
4 Tbsp flour
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup frozen edamame or peas
1 Tbsp fresh chopped thyme or rosemary
2 cooked chicken breasts (preferably roasted), cut into bite-sized pieces
Boil potatoes until just tender. Let drain and mash with a bit of milk. Set aside.
Melt butter in a medium pot, and add diced onions. Sauté until golden-brown. Add flour, and stir until it forms a smooth paste. Add chicken broth and stir until it thickens. Add kosher salt to taste.
Remove from the heat and add vegetables and herbs. Stir in chicken pieces and combine to mix. Cover with mashed potatoes.
Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes (when cooking in ramekins or loaf pans) or 30-40 minutes (when cooking in a single casserole).