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Friday, May 7, 2010

Chicken Pot Pies and many memories

May the 7th, snow is still on the ground and Mother’s Day is fast approaching. As I think of this day thoughts of my Mother in law come to mind. I remember with the fondness the dinner party she hosted for her son and roommate in Winnipeg while they were visiting from the Mari times. Bill and Peter his Australian friend were renting a fully furnished apartment from a couple on leave for a year. The apartment was Winnipeg’s newest high rise apartment tower. http://www.55nassau.ca/ . Alice, Peter’s girlfriend and I were their invited guests. Mom K had set the table using the owner’s fine chine, glassware and linens. The Dining Room sparkled in the candle light and crystal.
Lately Kitchen Blogs are revisiting the beauty of a perfectly set table with flowers and bringing out the fine chine, crystal and linens. For example; Setting a Beautiful Mother’s Day Table http://www.pauladeen.com/index.php/tier_2/view/savannah_style_setting_a_beautiful_mothers_day_table/
Mixing and matching vintage chine and glassware adds to the nostalgia, yet brings a newest to the dinner table. The guests truly feel special when the host not only serves delicious tasting food but takes that extra time to set the perfect table
http://willows95988.typepad.com/tongue_cheek/2010/05/sipping-pink-happiness.html
The meal began with freshly scooped red grapefruit that had been replaced into half of the grapefruit shell that had been cut out in a decorative manner. This simple yet elegant dish sparkled in the crystal sherbet glass and was served with a sprinkle of granulated sugar and a maraschino cheery on top
The star of this dinner was Chicken Pot Pie that was proudly served and baked in a clear rectangular shaped Pyrex dish. Pastry cut ornamentally floated on top of the chicken filling. Freshly baked buns accompanied this savoury hot pie. Mom K always took great pride in serving this delicious work of art.
Although I do have her recipe, I have never attempted making this recipe mainly because of all the steps involved in her original recipe. I did see her preparing the dish while visiting in New Brunswick.
Chicken breasts were first steamed in a pressure cooker. A Kitchen pot that has always terrified me as did watching her remove the lid from the hot pot. The chicken was cooled, skinned and cut into small cubes.
Carrots and potatoes were diced into small cubes and also steamed. Later in her life, she added frozen diced carrots and peas to the pies.
A white sauce using a flour and butter as the thickening agent for milk was made. Although I do not remember the seasoning, I would think that a small onion would have finely diced and added to the sauce. Salt and pepper to taste and chopped parsley would have been added. Seasoning in the seventies was added with a light hand.
The Chicken Pie was assembled by mixing up cooked chicken and carrots along with green peas into the white sauce and poured into an oven proof dish. Decorative pieces of pastry were added to finish the pie.
The pie was baked just before serving at 325 degrees until hot and bubbly with the pastry a golden brown color.
The meal ended with another of her specialties, Lemon Chiffon Pie, a shimmering light fluffy lemon dessert!
Although both of these recipes used pastry, the chicken pie only used a small amount of pastry. In making her pastry, Mom K used a pastry cloth on her rolling pin to roll out the pastry dough. Left over pastry was also used up by adding sharp cheddar to the pastry and making bread stick out of this mixture.
To me, Chicken Pot Pie is not just a delicious comfort food with it come all the beautiful memories of meeting this fine lady, being welcomed into her family and feeling oh so special! My only hope is that my two daughter in laws feel the same love!
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