…from the Perspectives’ Kitchen
How you doin’? Van de Kamp’s was a commercial bakery and retail outlet in Southern California from the 1920s to the 1970s. The brand is still around in the baking space today. The company was ahead of its time selling meals-ready-to-heat, when most families were still cooking from scratch. They offered cheese and beef enchiladas, fried halibut fillets and chicken pot pies. The latter is the subject for today’s blog.
The pinnacle of comfort foods must surely be the Chicken Pot Pie. It’s one of those foods that not only makes you smile when you eat it but is also powerfully soothing. It is a deeply satisfying one-bowl meal made with cooked chicken and vegetables smothered in a savory creamy sauce and tucked into a crust—who could want anything else?
The funny thing about pot pies is that they’re country humble and intimidating at the same time. Making them from scratch seems like a heavy lift for a weeknight, but not with this recipe. I’ve eliminated a lot of the prep work by making it with leftover rotisserie chicken (or any cooked chicken) and a frozen puff pastry, pie dough or corm muffin mix.
After baking, the chicken is tender and the veggies are perfectly cooked. It has the classic sauce with touches of garlic, wine and plenty of thyme to give it chef-touched depth. After a long day away from home (or just the next room if you’re working from home) it is like a warm motherly hug in a bowl.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 22 minutes
Bake time: 20 to 25 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup yellow onion, diced
1 cup Yukon Gold potato, peeled and diced (or other waxy potato)
1/2 cup celery, medium diced
1/2 cup carrots, medium diced
2 teaspoons kosher salt or to taste
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen corn
3 cups bite-sized skinless rotisserie chicken pieces
2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon black or white pepper or to taste
1 sheet thawed puff pastry (or 1 sheet of thawed pie dough or one box of corn muffin mix)
1 large egg yolk, beaten with one tablespoon water, for egg wash top
ChefSecret: When serving, divide the rich, buttery crust evenly. Otherwise, people will be tempted to steal chunks of it to scoop up their filling and the last serving will sadly be a crustless affair. If you don’t have rotisserie chicken, you can substitute three skinless boneless roasted chicken breasts or 6 roasted thighs.
Quip of the Day: Did you know if it weren’t for plumbers you wouldn’t have any place to go.
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To you and everyone dear to you, be strong, be positive, stay well, stay safe and be kind. Take a breath and count your blessings, and if you have a little extra to share with others, please consider donating to Feeding America and/or American Red Cross.
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