A Very Yosemite Christmas: Part II

And …. we’re back.

Christmas morning arrived and Aiman opened his presents.  Ooooh … paper products!  Thanks mommy … my favorite!

Actually he got a little drum, which he seems to like because he can stand on it and reach things he usually can’t, and a little green sweater from his babysitter.  He’s so cute.

He also got presents from Grandma & Grandpa Scates and Aunt Melissa, but those did not come until after we left for Yosemite.  (Aunt Melissa – he loves his little octopus and thanks for the gift certificate Grandma & Grandpa!)

I made Loved-Up Buttermilk Pancakes for breakfast and some really yummy hot pastrami sandwiches with carmelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, cheddar cheese with a horseradish cream sauce.  YUM! FATTENING!

Then Riaz decided to take a mid-afternoon hot tub.  We turned the heat of the tub down and Aiman got his first “big” water experience.  He was totally fascinated.

I, being the wonderfully coordinated person I am, fell down the stairs on the way to the hot tub and twisted my ankle.  Woooo … I twisted it good.  I iced.  And iced.  And iced some more.

But I still woke up the next morning with this.

(not sure if you can tell from this photo, but it is SWOLLEN)

I’m awesome.

Anyway, our hot pastrami sandwiches were huge and we ate them late so we just did not feel hungry enough for the enormous Christmas dinner I had planned.  Instead I made an easy chicken pot pie with the leftover roasted chicken from Wednesday night’s dinner.  Oh God.  How I love chicken pot pie.  LOVE.  I have made this Barefoot Contessa recipe (did I mention I love Barefoot Contessa) a few times, but I switched a few things up this time and I got to say, my way is better!  I am better than the Contessa!  What does that make me?  A Duchess maybe?  Anyway,  I am going to do the recipe here in full. Why?  Because its my blog and I’ll do what I want.  And because it is so ridiculously delicious that everyone should eat it.

Barefoot Contessa wants you to separately roast a couple of chicken breasts for the pot pie.  Instead I roasted a whole chicken, Riaz and I ate about half of it for dinner on Wednesday and saved the rest for the pot pie.  I don’t usually like dark meat, but I think the addition of the leg and thigh meat to the pie really made a difference.  I usually roast a bunch of vegetables when I do a roasted chicken, so on Wednesday I made some extra veggies when I did the roast chicken and saved them for the pie.  You can do whatever you want for the veggies, but I did butternut squash, carrots, parsnips, onions (cut in large chunks) and whole garlic cloves sprinkled with olive oil, salt, pepper and freshly chopped rosemary and thyme on a baking sheet.  I cooked the veggies in the same oven as the roasted chicken for about an hour – then when the chicken was done and resting I cranked up the heat to about 400 and let them cook for a few minutes, this gives them a little crispiness, plus Riaz likes his veggies well done so I like to cook them to death. If you are a small family that can’t eat a whole roast chicken in one sitting, this is a great way to use the leftovers.  Or if you are a big family, just roast two chickens at once and use the second whole roasted chicken for a really big pot pie (just double or triple this recipe.)  I usually do a really simple roast chicken.  Just wash and pat your chicken dry.  Stuff with half a lemon (quartered), a few garlic cloves and some rosemary and thyme sprigs, then rub the chicken with some olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.  Cook at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 to 2 hours depending on the size of your bird.  I sometimes use a meat thermometer to make sure it is done, but you can also just jiggle the leg of the bird, if it feels loose, it is done.

I think that it was the addition of the roasted veggies that made this pot pie so freakin good – so make it the way I tell you people!

Here is the recipe – borrowed heavily from Barefoot Contessa – but tweaked a bit by me (The Alaska To Australia Duchess … Princess … Queen Bee!).   This makes enough for 2 or 3 people:


2-3 cups cubed chicken from your roasted chicken

Leftover roasted vegetables diced (about a cup or two worth)

2 1/2 cups chicken stock

1 chicken bouillon cube

6 tablespoons butter (OK this is a ton of butter.  This recipe is NOT healthy.  I may try this again at a later date with less butter or maybe subbed out with some kind of butter substitute to make it better to eat on a regular basis, but for now, I’m leaving in the fat, because it is so SO good).

1 small onion chopped (about 1 cup)

1/4 cup flour

4 tablespoons heavy cream (see not healthy comment above – maybe use whole milk?  I don’t know, I really think this recipe needs the heavy creaminess – I say splurge then run twenty miles the next day)

1 cup medium diced carrots (The Contessa wants you to blanche these – I can’t be bothered with that step and they are just fine without the blanching – actually I think they are better without the blanching because they stay slightly crunchy which gives a little texture to the pie).

1/2 cup frozen peas

1/2 cup frozen corn (I usually just make this with the peas, and it is yummy, but the corn adds a little crunch that I like)

1/2 cup (basically a handful) frozen pearl onions (you MUST have these.  I guess some people don’t like onions, but I think it really adds something wonderful.)

1/4 – 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley (I like a lot of parsley, but this should really just been done to taste)

Puff pastry (from the frozen food aisle next to the pre-made pie crusts).  Take the pastry out of the freezer and put it in the refrigerator in the morning so that it dethaws some and is malleable.


Preheat your oven to 375 degrees

In a saucepan, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the bouillon cube in the stock.

In a large pot melt the butter and saute the diced onions over medium low heat for 10-15 minutes, until translucent.  Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes.  You’ll smell the flour cooking off – that is what you are looking for.

Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce and simmer until thick (this only takes about a minute).  Add a teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, heavy cream, cubed chicken, diced roasted vegetables, carrots, peas, corn, onions and parsley and mix well.   Taste the sauce to see if it needs anymore salt or pepper, add as necessary.  It should be like a really thick stew, but if it is too thick just add a little more chicken stock.

Place the filling in an oven safe dish(es).  There are a few ways to do this.   Sometimes I divide the sauce evenly between two oven proof bowls and Riaz and I get our own individual pot pies.  That is fine, but more work, so I don’t love to do it that way.  While up here I put the sauce in an 8 x 5 glass pyrex baking dish because that is what was here.  It actually worked great, though I had a little sauce left over that would not fit (which was fine because I just ate it the next day by itself!)  Really just use the dish that fits everything and that you have on hand.  Probably an 8×8 dish would be best.

After you fill the dish, unfold your puff pastry and place it over the top of the filling.  It does not need to be perfect.  I just make sure the pastry covers the sauce entirely and cut the pastry so none is hanging over the edge.  Brush the top with an egg wash (the egg wash is not necessary, but it makes it look prettier.)  Sprinkle the top with salt and pepper, place the whole she-bang on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.

Let the pie cool for 10 minutes or so after you take it out.  The filling gets really hot and it is not really manageable until it has cooled some.

So there you have it.  Pot pie!  Yum!!

Ed. Note:  This pie was made with a mish-mash of frozen prepared pie crust, the little town near our vacation rental did not have puff pastry (the horror!) so I had to make do.  It’s not pretty, but it tasted great, though the puff pastry is definitely MUCH better.  It is totally guest worthy when you do the puff pastry I promise!  Also, I may or may not have put the left over pastrami sandwich filling in this pie, it was gooood.  But that is the beauty of this recipe, you can really just use whatever you have on hand (as long as you also use roasted vegetables – listen to the Duchess!)

On the plate.  So good.

OK – so my Christmas Day post got long too.  This is what happens when I actually have time to sit down and write posts.  Everyone should pray that I don’t ever lose my job.  I may start blogging more and then every post will be an epic manifesto about the love of my life … you know … Chicken Pot Pie!

Finally, for your viewing pleasure.  Aiman in the freezer:

What?  Like you haven’t ever put your kid in a major appliance.

(Mandatory Child Protective Services Disclaimer:  No babies were harmed in the making of these photos!)

Check back tomorrow for the conclusion of a Very Yosemite Christmas.

This entry was posted in Aiman, She Cooks, Us. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A Very Yosemite Christmas: Part II

  1. Melissa says:

    Wow the pot pie looks like quite a feat! I’ve yet to roast my own chicken…and I love the 2nd pic of Aiman with the freezer. His expression seems to say, “The things I do for that darn camera lens…” haha

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