I have been a personal chef in River Forest for a lovely woman whom I have been cooking for for many years. She has been bravely battling cancer, and is undergoing chemo treatments. She barely has any appetite, and sometimes can only certain things sound even a little bit appealing to her. Recently, she told me she had a craving for Chicken Pot Pie. I was so happy to hear that she had a taste for something, and I I knew I could happily make her a great chicken pot pie.
My version is one that I adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe, which is a pretty standard version of this classic dish: I roast chicken breasts (with skin and bone; that gives it the best flavor). I like to buy my chicken from a good meat market; the market I shop at gets their chicken from local farms, and is so much better than most grocery stores chicken. If I do buy it from the grocery store, I’ll get a good organic brand. (Have you ever seen those giant boneless skinless chicken breasts that are the size of dinner plates? That’s not what you want! Get some good chicken, it makes a huge difference!) I cut the chicken into 1 inch pieces. I saute some chopped onions in butter, and add some chopped carrots. Sprinkle some flour over that, add some chicken stock (or good-quality boxed chicken broth) Add peas, a little fresh thyme, and put it in a buttered baking dish, topped with pie crust. Make some slits in the crust so that the steam can escape; brush it with an egg wash and bake it an hour or so until the crust is golden. This is real comfort food!
I made an extra pot pie, just in case. That way, she’ll have one for this week, and one for the freezer! I also stocked her refrigerator with some bites of healthy snacks, in case she’s in the mood: fresh fruit with vanilla yogurt dip, crudites with hummus, as well as some nuts and cheese to snack on, for when she’s not in the mood for a full meal. One of the things I am grateful for as a personal chef, is not only to be doing what I love, but to be able to help people with their meals during difficult times.