Brushing Sheila Right Back with Chicken Pot Pie!
This past Saturday, we moved into our new home. No matter how organized you are, moving day is always a stressful day. Packing up everything from one house, transporting it to another, and then trying to unpack and place things in the most appropriate place in your new home, all the while directing movers and helpers on where to put things...it's no easy feat. I'm a bit of a control freak and definitely have some Type A personality things going on. Not only did I want the move to be as efficient as possible, but I wanted our new home to be settled as quickly as possible. I can't tell you the number of times I wished I was Samantha from Bewitched and that I could just tweak my nose and SHAZAM! All would be as it should. As if trying to move from one house into another AND have everything settled in it's rightful place wasn't hard enough, on Monday, Sheila's Brush blew through.
Sheila's Brush is that storm around St. Patrick's Day that is pretty much the Mother of all Storms, clobbering Newfoundland with terrific amounts of snow. Who is Sheila you might ask? Well, depending on who you ask, she could be St. Patrick's wife, mistress, sister, mother or housekeeper, but legend has it that 'Sheila' brushes off the last bit of snow before Spring can come. Some fishermen in Newfoundland actually chose not to venture out to sea until Sheila's Brush has come and gone.
This year, Sheila's Brush came on March 16th and she dumped a whopping 50 plus centimetres (that's about 20 inches for my US friends), of snow. The City of St. John's pretty much came to a standstill. All that being said, between the move and being clobbered by Sheila, when it came to making dinner Tuesday evening, all that I saw staring back at me from my freezer was a couple of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, a bag of frozen carrot, cauliflower and broccoli and one square of frozen puff pastry. Sure...the grocery store was open. But, being convinced that I'm living in the wrong climate, venturing out into all that snow and cold did NOT appeal to me at all! Looking at the three ingredients I decided to make a chicken pie of some sort.
I could have just browned the chicken, added in the veggies, made a roux of flour and butter and added some stock and topped it with the puff pastry for a more traditional pot pie, but I wanted to make my Chicken Pot Pie a little more 'Kim-ish' so out came the thyme and a little white wine.
I diced the chicken breasts up into 1 inch pieces, diced up a medium white onion, about a cup of mini portabello mushrooms, minced a clove of garlic, and diced up about 2 cups of thawed carrot, cauliflower and broccoli mixture. I seasoned the chicken with a little dry thyme, freshly ground sea salt and black pepper and gave it a quick saute over medium high heat with a little olive oil in a dutch oven. I then added in the diced onion, mushrooms and minced garlic. When the onions were translucent and the garlic fragrant, I added in the thawed frozen vegetables. When the veggies were cooked but still had a little crunch, I added in about 1/2 cup white wine and let that simmer and reduce. I then stirred in a couple of tablespoons of cornstarch and added about 2 cups of chicken stock. I brought the mixture to a low boil, and let the sauce simmer and reduce. I then poured it into a shallow casserole dish.
It was around this point that I glimpsed at the wall calendar sticking out of one of the boxes that I was in the process of unpacking. I opened it up and, much to my chagrine, realized that Mackenzie had a dentist appointment for 6:30 pm. What can I say? Sometimes my cup runneth over! I quickly pressed the puff pastry into what looked like a sufficient size to cover my casserole dish, placed it on top and popped the Chicken Pot Pie into the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 35 minutes. I dashed upstairs, hauled a brush through my hair, dusted on some bronzer and smeared on a little lipstick, all the while hollering at Mackenzie to brush her teeth particularly well and get ready to go.
Once back downstairs, Stephen asked where I was dashing off to? (Seems I forgot to let him know about the dentist appointment too!). 'Kenz has a dentist appointment, Chicken Pot Pie is in the oven, when the timer goes off in about 23 minutes, can you take it out and take a few pictures? If you decide you can't wait until we're back to eat, perhaps you could also take up a pretty plate for yourself and take a few pictures of that too?'. Stephen stood there looking at me like he was in a bit of a daze. I reassured him that he had nothing to worry about - piece of cake, or chicken pot pie as the case may be.
Mackenzie's dentist appointment was uneventful and we were home by 7:00. When we walked in through the front door, the aroma from the Chicken Pot Pie filled the foyer and it felt like a big ole 'Welcome Home' hug! Walking into the kitchen, there it sat on top of the stove, all golden and yummy looking, fully intact. I asked Stephen if he took some pictures and he said, 'Yes, lots'. (He wasn't kidding there....when reviewing the pictures for this blog he had taken about 20 pictures from every conceivable angle....he's such a sweetheart.). The Chicken Pot Pie was still warm so I served us each up a plateful.
Thyme has got to be one of my favorite herbs. A delicate looking herb with a penetrating fragrance, thyme is one of the many herbs commonly found in Mediterranean kitchens. It is an essential component of any bouquet garni and herbs de Provence, both of which are largely used in Mediterranean cooking. Thyme is a wonderful addition to bean, egg and vegetable dishes and I find it fabulous with chicken. Thyme has been used since Ancient Egyptian times for it's culinary, aromatic and medicinal properties. Fresh thyme has one of the highest antioxidant levels among herbs. It's leaves are one of the richest sources of potassium, iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium and selenium and it's aso a rich source of vitamins such as B complex, beta cartonene, A, K, E, C and folic acid. Thyme is a symbol of bravery and admiration with the phrase 'the smell of thyme' being a saying that reflected praise unto it's subject. For me thyme brings a sense of warmth to food but not in a spicy way...in a 'love kinda way. Between the love and the bravery, thyme was the perfect herb to add to this Chicken Pot Pie to sweep Sheila's Brush right back at her!
Here's a closer look....doesn't that just look like the epitome of comfort food? This recipe made enough Chicken Pot Pie for each of us to have a piece last night for dinner, with both Stephen and I having seconds, and three pieces leftover for each of us for liunch today. That's a total of 8 portions! Totalling approximately less than $11 to make, that brings the cost per portion of this meal to $1.48! Not only is it cheap, uh, I mean 'inexpensive', but it's healthy, so easy to throw together you can walk out the door and leave it in the oven for someone else to take out, and really, really delicious!
Chicken Pot Pie.....easy, healthied-up, inexpensive AND delicious!