I have been making the same chicken pot pies from The New Basics for years. I’m talking forever. Since I graduated from college and started cooking for myself forever. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried a few other recipes, but I’ve never had the success with other recipes that I have with The New Basics recipe. The only downside to that recipe is all the steps. Lots of steps. Boil the chicken stock with rosemary. Cook each ingredient separately. Find pearl onions (which I never use, by the way).
It’s a new day, people. I cannot believe how simple the recipe from last summer’s Sweet Paul Kids Special Issue was. I thought for sure it was going to taste bland and horrible since it was so easy. Not so. The pot pies were just as flavorful as those I’ve made all these years with half the steps. I am a convert. Get yourself over here to check out this magazine. I mean, look how fantastic the photography is:
Can I make totally off topic (but not in my mind) shameless plug here? I am dying to go to the Sweet Paul Makerie next (!!) weekend. Food styling and photography class with Paul himself. Printmaking class with Lotta Jansdotter. Textiles class with Tamar Mogendorff (I LOVE her bird house sculptures). I keep hoping that if I put it out in the universe enough, it will happen. Like maybe my Fairy Godmother will bibbity-bobbity-boo me right on over to Brooklyn. Maybe next year?
Back to the amazing pot pies. I simplified my evening process by baking my chicken in the morning while my kids were eating breakfast. Two chicken breast halves, olive oil, salt, and pepper at 375° for 20-25 minutes. Why I don’t do this more often is beyond me. Another habit to work on for sure. In the afternoon, all we had to do was cut everything up. I did add broccoli to the mix because pot pie is a great way to get kids to eat veggies they didn’t know they liked.
This recipe is so easy that you can make it even if you don’t cook. You literally throw your chicken and all your veggies (including the onion and potatoes) in a pan to sauté at the same time. Repeat with me: at the same time.
None of this timing things so that they cook the right amount business. I couldn’t imagine how the potatoes were going to be cooked and the carrots not mushy but it totally worked. After you’ve cooked everything for a few minutes, you make a little roux of sorts with flour and chicken broth. Oh, and you add some thyme. I used fresh because I had it leftover from the other night. Add a little salt and pepper. Throw the whole shebang into your pie plates. Seriously, it is that easy.
I skipped the puff pastry and used basic grocery store pie dough. Every time I do this, I think about the horrible ingredients that I am feeding my kids. Then I think about making real Martha-style pie crust and after a few minutes, I get over my feelings of inadequacy as a parent on the pre-made pie dough. You will too.
This time around, I let the kids put the pie crusts onto the mini-pot pies. They love this part. And you know what? Their pies look just as good as mine. Simply cut the big round into four parts and let your kids go wild. You don’t even need to re-roll to a perfect circle. Your kids won’t care. They will be so excited thinking that they made dinner and you will have a perfect excuse for why your pie doesn’t look like it came out of Better Homes and Gardens. Now bake those pies for 30 or so minutes and serve. Protein and vegetables all in one darling little container.
While we are on the topic of kids helping out in the kitchen, last week, three great bloggers started a six-week series on cooking with kids. Have you seen this yet? The first installment discusses some great basic pointers on how to share your kitchen with your kids. If you have followed along with my blog, you’ll know that this is one of my favorite topics. It’s kind of a soapbox thing for me. More kids in the kitchen! The teaching opportunities are amazing (P.S. check this pancake science bit out – thanks to Sheri Silver for turning me on to this). Even better than the teaching opportunities is what it will do for what your kids’ palates. Have a picky eater? Kids tend to eat what they make, so get them in there prepping the vegetables or even making zucchini bread. Or in this case, adding dough to your pot pies.
What is so wonderful about this series is that each of these ladies - MJ, Joy, and Sheri - have a different perspective to bring to the discussion. Give it a look. Every Wednesday for the next month, they will be posting something new. This week, Joy shared her experience with cooking as a kid and instructions for how to make a great little breakfast. Her photos alone should inspire you to get your kids into the kitchen. We’ll be there too.
(And P.S. to my Fairy Godmother? I was only kidding about waiting until next year for the Makerie. I could make it happen next weekend, honest.)