The last potpie
As daughter heads off to college, a mother makes a favorite recipe, imbued with memories, love
Off to school: I had been feeding these girls for years, and I would badly miss them. It saddened me to see this way of eating, and being, disappearing. (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune)
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 leek, chopped
½ cup sliced celery
½ cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning, or 1 tablespoon mixed chopped fresh herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme) with a few gratings nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/3 cup canned cannellini beans, rinsed
1 beaten egg
1. For the broth and chicken, place chicken in a large stockpot with 5 cups water and remaining ingredients. Heat to a boil; skim foam off surface. Reduce heat to a simmer; simmer, uncovered, 2-3 hours, skimming every half hour.
2. Remove chicken from the stockpot; remove and discard the skin. Pull the meat from the bones, reserving the meat and discarding the bones. Chop meat into 1-inch pieces. Strain stock through a sieve; discard vegetables. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the broth; freeze any leftover broth for another use.
3. For the potpie, roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface; cut out a circle 2 inches larger than width of a 1 1/2-quart round casserole. Place the pastry round on a parchment-lined baking sheet; cover with plastic wrap. Freeze. Cook the potatoes in lightly salted water until just done; steam the carrots until tender.
4. Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add mushrooms, leek, celery and red pepper; season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in flour, poultry seasoning (or fresh herbs with nutmeg) and pepper to taste. Add the reserved broth and the cream all at once; cook and stir until thick and bubbly. Stir in reserved chicken, peas, beans, carrots and potatoes. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt if needed. Pour into a 1 1/2-quart round casserole; cool.
5. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Remove pastry from freezer; lay pastry round on top of baking dish so that it doesn't touch the filling. Brush pastry with egg. Bake, 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees; bake until crust is browned and puffed, 20 minutes. Serve immediately.
Per serving: 473 calories, 34 g fat, 17 g saturated fat, 106 mg cholesterol, 35 g carbohydrates, 8 g protein, 664 mg sodium, 4 g fiber.