Category Archives: Pies

Easy and (Mostly) Healthy Chicken Pot Pie

I have been feeling slightly sick lately which, for me, sends off signals in my brain to eat comfort food. My list of preferred comfort food is mercifully short: Kraft Dinner, Butter Chicken, Chicken Noodle Soup and Chicken Pot Pie. This recipe for Chicken Pot Pie is incredibly fast and yields delicious results. Hope you enjoy!

What You Need

  • 1 cup cut-up cooked chicken
  • 1 bag frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
  • 1 can low- fat low-sodium cream of chicken soup
  • Tenderflake (or other brand) version of pie crust in a pan from the freezer section
  • 1/2 cup of skim milk
  • 1 egg for recipe, 1 egg for brushing top of pie

What you need to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix the cut-up chicken, vegetables and chicken soup together in a bowl.
  3. Stir remaining ingredients in with fork until well blended. Pour mixture into one pie crust.
  4. Take the second pre-made pie crust and place overtop of the first. Use your fork to press down along the rim to hold the two dough pieces together. Cut air-vents on the top (I chose to indulge myself and made a heart-shaped hole).
  5. Whisk an egg in a little bowl, and use a brush to lightly cover the top of your pie with it.
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown on top! (I put my pie onto a baking sheet, just incase there was any leaking).
That’s it! Super easy and fast ( and tasty).

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

With the hot spell these last few days, lingering on from the sunny weekend, I’ve been staring longingly from my office window with wistful thoughts of approaching summer: a beach towel spread on a grassy field with a Nabokov novel, wine tasting on a wisteria-scented verandah, or evening bonfires with buttery corn on the cob and cold beer.  I’m sure the productivity graph for most of my colleagues has shown a similar plunge. The weather in Victoria doesn’t stay agreeable for long this time of year, reassuringly for those with deadlines to meet, so undoubtedly this splendid sun-euphoria will be short-lived.

In the meantime, I’m going to induce an early summer any way that I can. I will play Beach Boys music and hop around the kitchen as I dry the dishes. I will wear my sandals, even when I can’t feel my toes in the cold of early morning. I’ve cleared out the wasp’s nest from inside my barbecue, unused through the wet winter, and have baptized it anew with a salmon fillet and sumptuous steak with melted blue cheese. I’ve knotted up my gums with my first corn on the cob of the season (imported from California, but corn nonetheless). I also picked up a basketful of inexpensive berries at the grocery store on the weekend. My reserves of jam are pretty well stocked, so when I saw pints of strawberries on sale, I knew that strawberry rhubarb pie beckoned instead, the quintessential summer treat. My unruly rhubarb plant has been giving me grief each time that I pass nearby with the mower, jabbing me irritatingly, so making this recipe was a good excuse to trim it a little.

Follow this simple Pie crust recipe for a no-fail two crust pie, or pick up one that is store bought if you want to save 10 minutes. But for the difference in taste and added crumbliness of homemade crust, I make my own from scratch every single time. Tonight, after the grilled steak and corn on the cob, why not turn on some Beach Boys and make room for dessert. Wouldn’t it be nice…

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Rascally Rabbit Pie

Or Wascally Wabbit Pie, if you can say it in an Elmer Fudd accent.

For over a week my friend Daniel and I had been putting our minds to a unique dish that we could cook up on our Sunday Night Test Kitchen and we both independently arrived at “rabbit”, which was an odd coincidence. Or maybe not. Last week was the start of Chinese New Year and also the Year of the Rabbit, which means that if you were born now you’d be moody, detached, self-assured and stubborn, or so I read. A Chinese-Canadian colleague assured me that eating a zodiac animal wouldn’t actually be offensive or sacrilegious, so we were safe to proceed with the meal without risking death threats from moody and detached newborns. Rabbit also seems a fitting choice for those of us who live in Victoria, where hospital grounds and university campuses are littered with so many Bambis and Thumpers that they resemble a Disney cartoon.  This has been of particular concern to the University of Victoria (a.k.a. Watership Down), afraid that the many rabbit warrens chiselled like refugee tunnels under the soccer field would give way during a game. The rabbits are also a huge distraction to students during exam time, with their cute antics and tennis-ball shaped babies. Instead of using the rabbits in the cafeteria as the mystery meat of the week, the University tackled this pest problem by shipping scores of bunnies to other locations, including a rabbit sanctuary in Texas.

In preparation for this meal, I didn’t sneak onto university grounds at night with carrots and a gym bag; instead I ordered two vaccuum-sealed, frozen rabbits from a farm in Quebec, which shipped to my local grocer here in British Columbia. They’re a little pricey (about $22 each), which is probably more than one might pay at the pet store for an actual living one.

The experience of eating rabbit was a little anticlimactic, although it tasted superb. I was expecting a taste that was gamey and new – a throwback to the meals our ancestors hunted and ate just a few generations ago. Instead, all I could think about was Hannibal Lector, comparing the taste to chicken. At dinner, Daniel recounted an anecdote about his grandmother growing up on a farm in rural Quebec. Her parents kept rabbits caged in the yard in order to feed the many hungry mouths when times were lean, although the children were lied to and told it was chicken. Apparently, even before Disney cartoons inculcated young minds into believing furry animals could sing showtunes and be our best friends, children still had an aversion to eating rabbit.

This recipe looks and tastes similar to chicken pot pie, although it’s made in a very traditional French Canadian way by baking the entire pot in the oven with a single pastry layer on top, instead of in double-crust pie form. Many pies, including my favourite Tourtiere or meat pie, were made this way in the 1800’s in Quebec. This meal is time intensive, but if you have 3 hours free with friends and have plenty of appetizers and wine handy, this will be enjoyable and unique to your guests. Bon Appetit! Continue reading


Aunt Diane’s Tourtiere

Tourtiere, or meat pie in English, like its other Quebec counterpart Poutine, has been known to have be made in hundreds of ways, ranging from chicken tourtiere (which confounds me), to the traditional pork and veal that I am familiar with, to the countless other regional variations. Many French Canadian homes that I’ve been in have a tourtiere recipe, hand written on a yellow, stained index card that has been handed down for generations like a family heirloom. I can’t say for sure if it’s a French Canadian tradition, but like many other Quebeckers I was raised to eat every dinner that’s served in a pastry shell with large dollops of ketchup. Don’t knock it till you try it. This particular recipe was given to me by my mom from my Aunt Diane.

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Simple Pie Crust Recipe

Two-crust pie

2/3 cup plus 2 tbsp shortening

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

4-5 tbsp cold water

 

Directions:

1. Cut shortening into flour and salt by crisscrossing 2 knives, until the pieces are pea-sized. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Use your fingers to combine until all flour is moistened.

2. Gather the pastry into a ball. Divide pastry in half and shape into 2 rounds.

3. Roll pastry into circle roughly 2 inches larger than an upside down pie plate, using a rolling pin. Place into pie plate and firmly press against bottom and sides.

4. Fill with your favourite fruit or filling and bake as directed.