I’ve been trying to stretch my food budget, and needless to say, it’s a challenge. Have you seen the price of beef lately?!? I think we all agree that, when it comes to groceries, we are paying more but getting less. Historically, I’ve turned to casseroles to stretch my proteins into more portions, but my picky eaters usually eye them with suspicion. They feel casseroles are a conspiracy to get more vegetables into them. They are right. Kind of hard pick your dinner apart when it’s all mixed together, now isn’t it? Mwa-ha-ha-ha!
Though I like chicken pot pie, my husband has been fairly ambivalent; he’ll eat it, but don’t expect him to do cartwheels about it. In an effort to entice him, I found a recipe for a Curry Chicken Pot Pie (which sounded right up his alley), but it didn’t turn out well at all. After experimenting and tinkering, I finally produced a chicken pot pie that my husband actually loved. The curry gives it a wonderful depth of flavor, and just a hint of spice. The Heathens ate it too, and spared me the Oscar-worthy dinner theatrics, so I’ll call that a victory.
Here’s how I did it:
Curry Chicken Pot Pie
- 1 (16-oz) bag frozen vegetable mix (peas and carrots)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 8 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup half-and-half, or milk
- 6 tablespoons flour
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 2 tablespoons dried parsley
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- ¾ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 2 cups cubed cooked chicken
- Enough pie dough to cover a 9x13 casserole dish (I make mine using Julia Child's recipe from Baking with Julia)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the frozen vegetable mix with the vegetable oil, and spread it evenly onto a sheet pan. Bake 15-20 minutes until it looks like the vegetables are just starting to brown. I know what you're thinking. Why do this instead of just tossing the frozen vegetables right into the sauce? Well, this step draws out a lot of the water from the vegetables, so they won't be a mushy mess later, and roasting them improves their flavor. Basically, this step ensures that your inexpensive frozen veggies develop flavor and texture. Just trust me on this one, okay? While the veggies are cooking, heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the celery and onions, and sauté them until tender, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock and half-and-half. To the celery mixture, add 4 more tablespoons of butter and stir it around until it melts. Whisk in the flour and curry powder, and cook 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk the hot stock/milk mixture into the celery mixture, and cook until thickened. Add the parsley, salt, and pepper. Add the browned vegetables and chicken and stir. At this point, taste the sauce and adjust your seasonings if necessary. Pour the chicken mixture into a lightly greased 9x13 casserole. Roll out your pie dough on a floured work surface and top the casserole, pressing the dough into the sides to seal. Make sure you cut a couple of small holes in the top to vent the steam…that is, unless you prefer cleaning exploded pot pie out of your oven. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and brush it over the pie dough. Bake the casserole at 400 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes, or until your crust is cooked and browned to your satisfaction.
Now, if I could just figure out how to get him to eat squash, I may be in line for the Nobel Prize.