Pot Pies

Our columnist shares family favorites that her sister prepares for family gatherings.

by Lisa Ann Panzino DiNunzio

This month’s column is dedicated to my sister, Laura Ann. Laura is an amazing home cook, and baker in her own right. She always brings something delicious to special family dinners, holidays, and events, and I for one—and many others—look forward to every dish she makes, sweet and savory alike. Laura often whips up healthy goodies for her granddaughter, Naminé Noel too, such as nutrient-packed fruit bars, and muffins. Naminé shows her appreciation in the same manner that our whole family does—by saying Mm, mm, good! I’m sharing two of the recipes my sis makes, that my family and I enjoy—and hope you do as well!

Laura Ann’s Favorite Chicken Pot Pie
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
3 – 4 carrots, sliced
3 – 4 celery stalks, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon ground thyme
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, unthawed
3 cups cooked chicken, cubed or shredded
4 (9-inch) pie crust shells

Preheat oven to 400˚ F. In pot over medium heat add oil, butter, carrots, celery, onion, thyme, salt, and pepper, cook until vegetables are fork tender.

Sprinkle flour over vegetable mixture while stirring, cook for one minute. Increase heat to medium-high, add chicken stock and cook until mixture thickens. Add heavy cream, peas, and chicken. Reduce heat and simmer mixture for 3-4 minutes. Pour filling equally into two of the pie crust shells. Top each pie with the additional crust. Using a fork, crimp the pie crust edges together. Make a few slits with a knife on the top crust to allow steam to escape.

Place pot pies onto a baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until pot pies are bubbly and crust is golden brown. Allow pies to cool slightly before serving.

*Note: Remove two pie crust shells from their tins and turn them upside down on parchment paper to thaw for 10 to 15 minutes, then flatten out slightly before using for the top of the pot pies; piece crust together as needed. These pot pies will be very rustic in appearance.

*Recipe makes two chicken pot pies.

Laura Ann’s Spanish Style Chicken Stew
1 cup water
6 -7 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 (24 oz.) jar of favorite tomato-based pasta sauce
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/4 -1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon Bragg Liquid Aminos
1 teaspoon Spike all-purpose seasoning
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
Himalayan pink salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
5 chicken legs and thighs, bone-in or boneless
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
4 carrots, sliced
4 celery stalks, sliced
5 potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
1 lb. fresh or frozen (unthawed) string beans
10-15 large green olives, including a tablespoon of brine liquid
1/4 cup capers, including a tablespoon of brine liquid

In large pot add water, chicken stock, pasta sauce, tomato paste, cilantro, Braggs, Spike, thyme, salt, pepper, and chicken, bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes. Then add onion, carrots, celery, and potatoes, cook on low until vegetables are fork tender, and chicken is cooked through. Add olives, capers and brine liquid during the last 20 minutes of cooking. Serve over cooked rice if desired.

Note: If using bone-in chicken, once cooked through, remove chicken from pot and remove from bones, add chicken back into pot, and discard bones.

Ingredient Note: You can purchase Bragg Liquid Aminos and Spike All-Purpose Seasoning at most grocery and health stores, or online.

Slow Cooker Method:

Add water, chicken stock, pasta sauce, tomato paste, and seasonings to slow cooker, stir all ingredients until mixed well. Add chicken, onion, carrots, celery, potatoes, and string beans. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or until chicken is cooked through, and vegetables are fork tender. Add olives, capers, and brine liquid during the last 30 minutes of cooking. Serve over cooked rice if desired.

As always, Bon Appetit!

Lisa Ann Panzino DiNunzio is author of Seasoned With Love, Treasured Recipes, Lisa Ann’s Seasoned With Love II, and children’s books Snicker Learns An Important Lesson and Readers’ Favorite 5-Star rated Little Twinkle Learns Her Purpose.

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