June 27, 2008

Po’ Man’s Pot Pie

Yesterday, my baby sister was coming over for a girl’s night: movies, pajamas, girly-swooning and, of course, foodage (cooked by me, so obvious limits and caveats apply). What does she want? Chicken Pot Pie.

“With the pie shell? Or biscuits?”
“I like it better with the biscuits.”
“Good, ‘cause that’s easier.”
“Well there you go.”
“I don’t have chicken.”
“I’ll bring some.”
“Um… it’ll take longer if we--”
“I’ll cook it first. It’ll take five minutes”
"Solid. See you at six.”

1 can low-sodium broth (chicken or veg)
1 large-ish chunk frozen peas
1 handful chopped carrots
1 bag of frozen corn (we like corn. what?)
1-1 ½ chopped cooked chicken breast
salt & pepper

Bring broth to a low boil. Stir in 3 tsp of corn starch to thicken. Get grossed out by weird floaty effect happening with the corn starch. Whisk floaties mercilessly. Add pepper to taste. Reduce heat and add peas to pot.

Wisely decide to nuke corn in microwave before adding to pot. Realize carrots are only vegetable in completely raw form. Shrug and roll the dice. Add. Whisk and hope added gluten binds, or at least hides, corn starch floaties. Add more pepper.

Somewhere in a haze of Johnny Depp’s
badly-accented gypsiness, your sister reveals she has forgotten the chicken. If you have used veggie stock, the UnChicken Pot Pie is now totally vegetarian. If desired, add frozen edamame for protein. (Little sister does not desire. Little sister will not be very tall.)

When mix looks promisingly thickened, pour over two chopped baked potatoes you really can’t remember eating on their first go-round, but they look ok, except for the brown bits (but you tossed those) in the bottom of a 9x9 baking dish. Tap dish on counter to even out mixture. Top with more pepper.

Poke around for box of Jiffy Mix. Discover total lack of biscuit recipe on said box. Wonder if it could really differ all that much from dumplings. Well, probably less milk than dumplings. Probably. Maybe an egg. Decide you know what biscuit dough looks like and that you can totally eyeball it.

Call grandmother. She nixes egg: milk only, less than dumplings. Feel vindicated until you realize nobody would believe that you knew that in the first place. Return to kitchen.

Discover you have no cow milk in the house, as cow milk-drinkers are out of town. Get laughed at by younger sibling you cannot even feed a peanut butter sandwich to, as your poor ass is out of peanut butter.

Although it will tempt you, DO NOT SUBSTITUTE SOY MILK. You do not want a repeat of The Great Crepe Fiasco (aka “What the Hell is That Smell—Oh” Debacle) of aught-seven. Substitute water and one whole egg for wet ingredients, hoping the two together will be approximately milk-like. Eyeball the consistency. Hope you do not cock up the measuring as this, aside from the bit in your hair, is the last of the Jiffy Mix.

Spoon lumps of dough on top of almost-cooled casserole. Have perhaps too much fun smearing evenly.

Save large portion of dough for a lone biscuit, which you will eat with a sickening amount of honey, maybe even before you eat the pie, because you’re an adult now and you can do that. Smack it on a sprayed pie plate and revel in the doughy, white-flour goodness.

You already preheated the oven to 350, you just forgot to say so. Stick ‘em in. Set timer for twenty minutes.

Take out lone biscuit when it looks biscuit-y; i.e. the bottom is as browned as you like it. This will happen somewhere between seventeen and seventeen and a half minutes, so this is an inconvenient time for a wee. Or a phone call. Basically stand there and watch a motionless biscuit not turn color, because you’re out of mix and there are no do-overs. Let cool.

Set timer for five more minutes. When it goes off, check. Poke pot pie and wonder how you’re supposed to know when the underside isn’t gooey if you can’t see it. Set timer for five more minutes.

Pull out rack and rub stick of margarine over top of biscuits for Martha Stewart-esque browning. Burn yourself on the hot rim of the glass baking dish. (This is crucial. So crucial, in fact, that you’ll do it again in five minutes.) Stick them back in the oven and reset timer.

Remove pie, which looks delicious. ALLOW TO COOL. It’ll probably taste better than burn ointment, but you don’t want to have to find that out.

Spoon into two bowls and eat on sofa. Be amazed that there is absolutely no difference between normal biscuits and your last-minute ghetto variety. Feel domestically awesome. Enjoy with
trilingual indie film and large glass of soy milk.

Burn tongue.

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