Pot Pie and Chili

March 31, 2003

Pot Pie and Chili

This past week was an exhausting one. I found myself wanting and needing comfort food. Little Emmett, all of 1 1/2 years old, fractured a bone in his lower leg and getting it attended took all week! I found that I needed food that was easily scooped out and just heated up, thus Chicken Pot Pie and Chili.

Emmett began limping when we were in Washington. We thought it was from wearing different shoes. After being home for a few days, and the limp persisted, we called the doctor. We ended up on Sunday night in the ER of Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. The doctor there, checked out Emmett’s hip, watched him take four steps and said he didn’t see a limp (even though our doctor had earlier and had sent us there) yet the resident had earlier. He reluctantly allowed an x-ray of the hip. It showed nothing unusual, so he sent us home.

I knew something was wrong, and as a mom, needed to be my child’s best advocate. I checked his leg more thoroughly on Monday and found that he reacted when pressed in a certain area. I called our doctor again and requested an x-ray of his leg this time. He agreed and off we went (this time NOT to CCMC). Sure enough he had a fractured fibula!! The orthopedic doctor we saw on Monday didn’t want to cast him, since it should heal fairly quickly and it wasn’t broken, just fractured. By Wednesday morning, he wouldn’t walk on it, so I spent hours on the phone in the morning trying to get someone to deal with it! Finally we saw the doctor in the afternoon and he put a cast on him. Friday we went for a 2nd opinion from a pediatric orthopedic. He wants it on for 2 weeks (the other do said 3!).

The cast is thigh to toes, and Emmett has adapted well in the last few days and is gimping along really well. But the whole thing last week had me wanting comfort food. So I borrowed a great cookbook (The Barefoot Contessa- Family Style by Ina Garten) from a friend, and found a great recipe for Chicken Stew with Biscuits on top( i.e.: pot pie without all the crust). While I was perusing that cookbook, my friend was cooking chili, and I found that I needed to go home to make that too!

There is always something so appealing about a dish that you can have just stewing on the back burner. Having a good stew pot is a wonderful luxury too, and I love my Le Creuset pots. (I have a dutch oven and a “buffet” pot) Find a Le Creuset outlet and indulge for significantly less. They even take orders over the phone and ship for still cheaper than buying off the shelf.


This is the best chili. I made this for everyone the day we moved from the house at HillStead into our house in Avon. It was a rainy Saturday just after Thanksgiving. I wanted to make something filling and warm that could just stew on the back burner to eat when it was easy. Serve plenty of things to top it with. I usually have chopped onions, sour cream, tortilla chips, and shredded cheddar. Or you can just make some cornbread to have on the side. It makes plenty, so either feed a crowd, or have it for dinner and freeze the rest in several containers for future meals. This is 1/2 recipe from the Silver Palate Cookbook– changed slightly .It makes plenty for 10 or more people.
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound chopped onion
2 lbs sweet italian sausage, removed from casing
4 lbs ground chuck
1 tsp ground pepper
1 can tomato paste (12 oz)
1 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 1/2 oz cumin
2 oz chili powder
2 Tbsp dijon mustard
2 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp dried basil
2 Tbsp oregano
3 lbs crushed tomatoes (use Pomi chopped tomatoes in the cartons)
1/4 cup burgundy wine
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup chopped italian parsley
2 cans, 16 ounces, black beans, drained
In a heavy bottom big soup pot, heat oil and sauté onions until soft. Add meat, crumbling and stirring often. Cook until browned.
Lower heat and stir in everything else. Simmer uncovered, stirring every 15 minutes or so. Serve any time after 20 minutes.

Chicken Pot Pie (Chicken Stew)

From the Barefoot Contessa Family Style cookbook. So good, makes plenty. I simplified it though and use bisquick for the biscuits on top. Seems like alot of work, but it’s worth it! Serves 8.

3 whole (6 split) chicken breasts, bone in
3 Tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt
4 cups chicken stock (she calls for 5- I think too soupy!)
2 chicken boullion cubes
12 Tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 cups medium-diced carrots (4 carrots), blanched for 2 minutes
1 10 ounce package frozen peas (2 cups)
1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1 recipe (on the box) Bisquick biscuits – add 1 teaspoon thyme

Preheat the oven to 375°
Place chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub with olive oil, sprinkle generously with salt. Roast for 35-40 minutes or until cooked through. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove the meat, discard any bones and skin. Cut the meat into large dice. You should have about 4 cups.

In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock with boullion cubes. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the onions over medium heat until translucent (10-15 minutes). Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Slowly add the chicken stock to the sauce and simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring until thick. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and heavy cream. Add the chicken, carrots, peas, onions and parsley. Mix well. Place the stew in a 10 x 13 x 2-inch baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile make the biscuits. Dump the dough out onto a well floured board and roll out to 3/8 inch thick. Cut out 12 circles with a 2 1/2” round cutter (I used a fluted one).

Remove stew from the oven and arrange the biscuits on the top of the filling. Brush them with an egg wash (or spritz with cooking spray) and return to oven for another 20 -30 minutes, until the biscuits are brown and the stew is bubbly.

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