Cultures around the world have tricks for re-purposing leftovers into something delicious… The British recycle Sunday dinner into Bubble and Squeak – potato and cabbage patties with leftover mashers and braised cabbage. The Chinese fry day-old rice to refresh it with scraps of meats and vegetables. And Americans mix together all the Thanksgiving leftovers to come up with pot pie.
Is it coincidence that these dishes represent comfort food?
Of course, I didn’t make pot pie at Thanksgiving – though it would have been perfect with leftover pie dough scraps, creamed mushrooms, turkey, green beans and gravy all mixed together. Instead, I waited until a weekend when I hunkered down to cook.
I was cooking for a friend who recently lost her husband after a long battle of with MS.
I sensed she hadn’t been eating well, so I devised a strategy to provide both nourishment and a restorative. A nice meal always lifts my spirits, so I opted for my new favorite lobster dish that she could enjoy on the evening I stopped by. I made a quart of chicken soup to feed the soul, and a few pot pies to offer a little comfort.
Pot pie is the perfect freezer food as it can be made in individual ramekins and baked without defrosting. I was able to use up broccoli stems, some carrots and a few random mushrooms. You can use whatever vegetables you like. Once assembled, I put them in the freezer so they can be baked whenever you’re in need of a little comfort.
This isn’t so much a recipe as it is a suggestion.
1 – 2 potatoes
3 tbs. butter
3 tbs. flour
¼ cup white wine
3 cups liquid – a combination of chicken broth, cream and/or milk.
Cooked chicken, cut into ½ bite size pieces
Broccoli or peas
Pie dough – frozen or use your favorite recipe
Salt and pepper
Fresh herbs like parsley, thyme or basil
1. Cut potatoes into ½ inch dice. Put in a pot of cold water. Add salt. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Drain.
2. In a medium pot over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour and cook for two minutes or until butter bubbles up again. Add wine first then the liquid slowly, whisking constantly.
3. When liquid is incorporated, bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to simmer.
4. Add vegetables and chicken. Check the seasoning for salt and pepper. Add fresh herbs.
5. Put filing in ramekins.
6. Cut pie dough to match the ramekins in size. Top each ramekin with dough.
7. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until tops are golden brown and the filling is bubbling.
8. Serve with a salad.