Individual Chicken, Fennel, Mushroom Pot Pies, Puff Pastry
It has been many years recollecting a winter as harsh as this along the East Coast.
Well beyond the busied frenzy of supermarkets packed with long lines of customers rolling large metal carts overstuffed with enough food to last a month for a one- day two inch snow storm the constant state of mounding white piles have long turned to ice, and consistently plunging temperatures spiraled to a much worse turn.
While those in homes situated in my development were fortunate, many thousands throughout our township suffered power shortages to the point of being considered a state of emergency.
At such time the Governor of Pennsylvania even visited the area just one mile from my home where a full eighty-percent of residents were without power for nearly five days in what no longer seemed to be a newly hyped phrase, polar vortex.
For those lucky enough to maintain normalcy in their lives, with slight exception of receiving daily early morning recorded calls from the school district that schools were closed yet another day, there was worry coupled with hope that should schools regain power at very least, those children in homes still without power restored would fill the day in warmth, food, and, constructive activity, a not overlooked status when children are posed with too much free time.
Those homes with power hosted residents seeing to their mild by comparison out of the ordinary days keeping streams of children parading in and out occupied at intermittent points throughout the day, along with many busily preparing what has come to be if not down right old fashioned, consistently hearty meals necessary for warming both the body and spirit.
Here, always with a weekly chicken simmering in a pot on the stove, using the removed, cooked chicken breasts for individual chicken pot pies seemed a good idea to add a different twist to the menu. Combining some of the more traditional components such as carrots and peas with sliced fennel, leeks, and some sautéed fresh mushrooms from the Farmers Market was a good match, sans the roux, simply with a bit of heavy cream briefly simmered throughout the chicken and vegetables pot.
Puff Pastry always has a way of making foods seem special, elegant even, and provided an easy lift in spirits just by its appealing presentation of an easy rolled golden crust created simply through a quick glide of a rolling pin and gentle brush strokes of a beaten egg yolk.
One quick take on a table set with these buttery golden Individual Chicken, Fennel, Mushroom Pot Pies, Puff Pastry was a definite pleaser with my Grandson the J-Dude, who expressed with great joy that this was something he would just dream of having. Dreams coming true are simple for him.
Fortunately, dreams of a normal living reality now give way to those community neighbors adjusting back into the warm comforts of home, a shared table appreciating even life’s most basic simplicity following such severe disruptions from among the harshest of natures elements.
Now exists the possibilities of preparing steaming hot and nourishing foods filling body and the spirit, maybe even preparing something special like the kind of dish a kid dreams about, Individual Chicken, Fennel, and Mushroom Pot Pies topped with golden crusted Puff Pastry.