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Classic Chicken Pot Pie

On Friday morning, I woke up early to have some quiet time before work. I wandered into the living room, only to find that big, fat snowflakes had fallen all night. Of course, I wasted no time in getting out and playing in the foot of snow that had suddenly appeared. At work, I took the children that I watch sledding for hours until we all agreed that we had to eat eventually.

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Even Moosie got to get in on the fun.

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The first snow, like an addict’s first high, can never be beaten by any other snow of the season. Now matter how perfectly crystalline and fluffy another snow is, that first one is the only one that carries the promise of a new season, of hot chocolate and ice skating and nostalgia. It’s a lot like that first bite of a brownie after deciding to quit a restrictive diet.

Of course, with snow comes the cold. And with the cold comes the need for some good, old-fashioned comfort food. It has to be warm, it has to be gooey, and it has to sit in your stomach and sing you into a food coma. I am of the opinion that there are few foods in this world that have more power to do that than a warm, crusty chicken pot pie.

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I remember a few winters back when I was dogsitting for a friend at his cabin in the woods. I had some time off of work, and I was isolated, just the way I like it. Every morning I woke up to French-press coffee, breathing in that earthy scent of the roasted grounds mixed with the woodsy log walls. Then, every night (and I do mean every night) I’d pop a frozen chicken pot pie into the microwave, settle down with a Sherlock Holmes book, and dig in.

It was, without a doubt, one of the best times of my life.

Now, knowing all that I know about the dangers of the sodium in frozen dinners, I have to forego the Marie Calendars. But that doesn’t mean I’m up shit creek, here. When I began my cooking journey, one of the first things I learned how to make was chicken pot pie.

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For the recipe that I use now, I’ve ditched the top crust to cut back on some carbs and calories (neither of which are evil, but I do feel that moderation is important). I have also ditched the rotisserie chicken, because buying a whole chicken when I have perfectly good chicken breasts in the freezer is not my idea of thrifty. Plus, rotisserie chickens tend to come loaded with sodium, and I’m looking to reduce that a bit here. (I totally don’t judge you if you buy the rotisserie, though. You do you, boo).

As a final note, I’ve replaced the carrots with celery. This is not necessary for you if you enjoy carrots, I just happen to hate cooked or steamed carrots. They’re gross to me, and I found that celery had a good texture to take their place.

So, now that that’s all out in the open, let’s get started.

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Ingredients

1 Pie Crust (Store bought or homemade is fine)

2 Large Chicken Breasts

2 Tbsp Butter, Unsalted

4 Celery Stalks, Chopped

15 Oz. Canned Peas, Drained

2 Teaspoons Minced Garlic

Salt and Pepper, To Taste

1/2 Cup Chicken Stock, Unsalted (1 Cup If You Like It Soupier)

Dash of Flour

Directions

Preheat oven to 425.

First, roll out your pie crust into the pie tin (you can find disposable aluminum ones at most stores) and set aside. Boil chicken breasts over medium heat, then remove breasts from water. Using two forks, pull chicken apart until it is completely shredded (if I’m feeling lazy, I just cut the chicken up real small with a knife, but I think shredding has a better texture).

In a large pan, melt butter over medium heat and add diced celery. Cook for five minutes. Add drained peas and garlic, mix well with celery. Add salt and pepper to taste, then add chicken stock, cooking for about five to eight minutes. Add the chicken and flour, mixing until all ingredients are combined.

Use a fork to poke holes around the pie crust, along the bottom and sides. Add the mixture to the pie crust, bake for fifteen to eighteen minutes, or until crust is golden brown at the edges.

Let cool for fifteen minutes, then serve.

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I’ll be honest, I was so ready to dig into this pie that I wound up eating a third of it before I realized that I was turning into a ravenous monster bent on destroying my hard-earned dinner. I covered the pie pan and set the rest in the fridge for lunch tomorrow.

What’s your go-to winter dinner? If you have a recipe for cold-weather food, leave the link to it in the comments below. I’d love to see what you make to stay warm during this time of the year.

Until next time, enjoy your pie.

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