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Quarantine Cooking: Chicken pot pie provides family comfort

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Have you suddenly become super efficient at meal planning? Are you, now, suddenly, planning meals so far in advance that you're thinking about how many meals you can make from a single whole chicken?

As I start my fourth week of working from home, I've realized we've become thoughtful meal planners. And, because of this, I think my family is "living their best life," Michael Sorrentino-style, when it comes to dinner and dessert, and breakfast on the weekends.

Last week, I found myself contemplating the whole chicken question posed above. We've been thawing out chickens we purchased from our CSA chicken share last summer and fall. (We buy enough to store in our chest freezer and get us through the winter months.) Wanting to switch up our meals a little bit, I began to consider: how many meals I could get from this 5-pound chicken? Turns out, it was two meals — enough for a chicken and dumpling soup and two chicken pot pies, as well as a few lunchtime leftovers.

The first thing I did was put the chicken, along with two cups of chicken stock, into my multicooker and set it to "pressure cook/manual" setting for 30 minutes. The result was a moist and tender chicken that I could now carve and set aside for my main dishes. The bones, along with an extra cup of water, went back in the pot still filled with broth, lid on, for another 30 minutes on the "soup/broth" setting. (I used the resulting broth in my soup.)

That night, I made chicken and dumpling stew. Two nights later, I had two 9-inch round chicken pot pies in the oven,

Making chicken pot pie was a new endeavor for me. In the past, if a pot pie graced our dining room table it had not been made in our house. But, I must have been looking for a challenge, as I had purchased some ready-made puff pastry on our last trip to the store and always have regular pre-made pie crust in my fridge and . (I can make both, but choose not to. I feel my time is better spent on other things.) So, I set off, scouring cookbooks and online recipes, eventually deciding to pick a roux from one and bits and pieces for the chicken pot pie recipe I pieced together. I experimented, using both the puff pastry and pie crusts for top and bottom crusts. The result? A delicious comfort food that didn't last longer than lunch the next day.

CHICKEN POT PIE

(Inspired by the Berkshires Farm Table Cookbook, TasteofHome.com, MarthaStewart.com)

Makes 2 chicken pot pies

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Servings: 16 slices

INGREDIENTS

4 pre-made pie crusts or puff pastry crusts (or 2 of each)

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6 tablespoons of butter

1/4 cup of all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon of ground sage

3 cups chicken stock

salt and black pepper

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1 bag of frozen peas and carrots

1 cup small-diced onion

2 small potatoes, diced

2 to 3 cups of cooked chicken, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 F. Place two of the pre-made pie shells into two 9-inch round pie pans.

Make the roux. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in the saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and sage. Cook, whisking frequently, until slightly golden brown in color and the consistency of a very fine and wet sand. This should take 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Using a wire whisk to keep the roux moving constantly, slowly add 3 cups of chicken stock. Continue to whisk until sauce is smooth. Return pan to medium heat, simmer until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Whisk frequently so sauce does not stick to bottom of pan; add salt and pepper as needed. Add in potatoes, carrots, peas and onions. Saute gently until vegetables are tender and onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add in chicken and mix gently. Add mix to pie pans. Unroll the puff pastry or pie crust on the top of the pie. Use kitchen shears to trim dough to a 1-inch overhang; fold under, and seal to form a rim. Crimp rim. With a sharp knife, cut slits on the top of the crust.

Place the baking dishes of a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Place in center of oven. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the pie crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Remove from oven, let sit for 10 minutes before serving.


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