Warming heart and hearth
Especially chicken pot pie. The familiar mix of chicken and vegetables lolling in savory sauce, snuggled under a pastry blanket puts us in mind of warm bed, good novel and no need to budge. Hot pie improves cold weather.
Achieving thick but not suffocating, creamy but not heavy is the pie-maker's endless conundrum. I've tinkered with a base of cream, half-and-half and milk, finally settling on an all-broth approach.
Then there's the vegetable tussle. There are factions in my household that remain staunchly anti-pea. They square off against the pro-potato insurgents, caught in the crossfire of the celery-root snipers.
This pie takes winter seriously; it's full of full-flavored mushrooms, onion, garlic and carrot, bolstered by port. It gets crunch from bacon and snap from sugar snap peas. All under cover of puff pastry. Hot from the oven, it makes you never want to leave your kitchen. Or chicken.
Leah Eskin is a Tribune special contributor.
Winter pot pie
Prep: 45 minutes
Bake: 25 minutes
Makes: 6 servings
4 strips bacon, sliced thinly crosswise
8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, quartered, sliced
3 carrots, sliced into coins
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)