There are numerous things that make me think of home and of my youth when I think of food and recall all the great smells coming from the kitchen. I remember playing outdoors all year long as a youngster. When the sun was out we’d be at the side of a pool, when it was raining we’d trek through the forest, when winter came and we were off to Jamaica to visit with my British grandparents on my mother’s side, they wouldn’t see hide nor hair of us until it was time to come in and eat. It was the same back at home when we visited with my dad’s side, the Italian side.
My fondest memories aren’t necessarily those of the time spent outdoors building forts and such but rather the memory of being called back in to the house to eat. I was very fortunate growing up, I have to say, as both sides of my family can cook and though the cuisines are completely different, I was spoiled by taste and smell!
There is truly nothing better than walking into a home and being hit with a delicious mouth watering smell. That smell may be from the subtle baking of bread to the raging aromas of a delicious curry. I eat with my nose first and that’s followed by my eyes. My taste buds play the largest role of course, but if it doesn’t smell or look great I can assure you that my mouth becomes wary! Being half British and half Italian I was really lucky to have been brought up in a household with many different taste sensations, and the topper was the fact that my British grandparents lived in Jamaica which introduced us to a wealth of amazing flavours as well. All that being said though, I’m concentrating on a favourite my grandmother used to make and seeing that Jamaica isn’t exactly cold at any time of the year, chicken pot pie for me isn’t a cold weather food, but rather a dish best served whenever you long for hearty food and that homey feeling!
The recipe is easy and seeing as that we have already been over my standard béchamel recipe (click on it if you haven’t seen it!), all we need to do is refer back to that recipe, fry up some chicken, sauté some onions, chop up some vegetables and we’re on our way to a great chicken pot pie baked in the Fornetto.
I get lots of questions about making different kinds of pastry and to be honest with you, even if I can do it and understand the virtue behind making everything yourself, pastry is a time-consuming challenge. I’m not a pastry chef yet the pastry I make with the knowledge I have compares to any good quality store-bought puff-pastry, so I skip that task. Pastry making has a lot to do with being exact, like chemistry. In my experience, puff-pastry is virtually the same everywhere whereas bread is completely different from baker to baker. Dough is a very different thing and I never compromise on dough when it comes to homemade versus store-bought. There are no bargaining chips on the table when it comes to dough. Puff-pastry on the other hand, is something that many brands succeed at making very well. Dough however, be it for bread, pizza or the like leaves lots of possibility and I make my dough to my own taste. To be a little contradictory, there is one type of pastry that I do make and that’s my mother’s. We will see that soon when we look at pies made using a cold-water pastry!
A really important aspect to baking a pie is the dish. Too shallow and you’ll end up with a tart, too deep and you’ll end up with your filling being undercooked and the pastry being overdone! The Fornetto pie dish is an ideal depth for a pie of any sort and I say this as a chef. The lip of the dish is also great because of it’s width and the small bumps of the design aren’t only an attractive design feature but based on my experience using the dish, they actually stop your pastry from shrinking back in on itself while it’s cooking. Click here for more info about the pie dish and to check out those bumps I just mentioned!
This chicken pot pie is really simple to prepare and yet so amazingly tasty. All you need are peas, broccoli, carrots, onions, béchamel sauce and the chicken, of course! Side it with a great lager and you’re good to go! Click here for the recipe!
What’s great about a chicken pot pie is that it’s a feel-good homey meal that satisfies even the hungriest of appetites. By all means, if you have chicken or turkey left over from the night before, don’t waste them on sandwiches. They work just as well in a pot pie!