ohmygod … what a week …

As I mentioned on Sunday, this week was going to be one of feasting and celebrating the season before work broke up for the holidays.  And, boy-howdy, have we been feasting.  Monday afternoon, my colleagues and I went to Le Cigalon and had a gorgeous, relaxing lunch featuring pheasant, risotto, fois gras (I know, I know … but it’s once a year) and a stunning selection of cheese to finish.  Tuesday night, my colleagues and I were taken out to Galvin La Chapelle where we ate and drank until nearly midnight.  While all our starters varied, all 6 of us went for the saddle of venison for our main course.  To that, all I can do is quote Cole Porter — How long has this been going on???  My god, I don’t think I’ve ever had a more tender or succulent cut of meat. 

Both meals were stunning, as were the wines that flowed with them.  However, by the time I got home last night, I was ready for something … a little more basic, a little more homey.  If the weather was warm, I would have made a great big salad and wallowed in my virtuous meal.  But as the temperature is hovering near freezing these days, I went for the next best thing:  pot pie loaded with vegetables and flavored with ginger and Chinese 5 spice to get rid of that stodgy feeling you get from too much rich food.  If you have the time, you can make the same pastry topping that I used in my pasty recipe.  However, it’s always a good idea to keep ready-to-roll pie crust or puff pastry in the freezer for those occasions when you’re just too tired to fuss with it all.

Chinese Chicken Pot Pie

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 chilli, seeded and minced
  • 8-12 mushrooms, diced (go for a meaty mushroom)
  • 2 tsp grated ginger (a piece about as long as your thumb, peeled)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup green beans or snow peas
  • about half of a leftover roasted chicken, white and dark meat, chopped (roughly 2 cups)*
  • 2 slices ham, cubed
  • heaped 1/2 tsp Chinese 5 Spice powder
  • 1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
  • salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

In a wide pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat and saute the onions and chilli.  When they start to soften, add the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the ginger and cook until fragrant.  Add the flour and stir well, cooking for 3 or 4 minutes.  Add the stock, bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low.  Add the peas, beans, chicken, ham and 5-Spice and stir well to heat thoroughly.  Turn off the heat and stir in the Greek yogurt (if you keep it on the heat, the yogurt will curdle), then taste and adjust for seasoning.

Pour the chicken mixture into a casserole dish and top with either a pie crust or the puff pastry.  Brush with an egg wash (1 egg mixed with a teaspoon of milk) and bake 30 minutes until golden and bubbly.

Maybe not as virtuous as a salad, but a lot more warming and satisfying on a cold winter's night.

*This would also be a fantastic way to use up that leftover Christmas turkey!!