Was it me mourning the sudden death of summer? Chicken pot pie and colorfully delicious root veggies in season, along with cold temperatures outside - so, its actually enjoyable to stand near a hot stove - why was I dreading winter? Actually, the torrential downpour that soaked my summer-tan gone to pale skin in the three-block-walk from the tube stop to my apartment summed it up last night.
Well, it is our second winter here in London, and as it gets dark at 4PM we are reminded how far north we really are. Curling up on the couch with loads (so English, I mean "lots"!) of books, woolen blankets, and hot chocolate season has officially started for me. Fall is actually the time when English farmers markets shine with seasonally grown products. Homegrown root veggies from beets...
are at their best. Not to mention alliums from leeks to garlic to shallots to onions are also at their peek. Having fattened up all summer, meat, game, and poultry are also ready for slaughter. Huge numbers of locally caught fish and shellfish are in season as well, which is the best time to eat them to preserve fish stocks. Lastly, my favorite winter fruits - apples, pears, and quince - are gorgeous right now. Fall is definitely and English cook's dream if you are trying to avoid imports.
CHICKEN POT PIE
This chicken pot pie uses the meat from a previously roasted chicken. Since leeks are in season, I've used tons of leeks for their delicious mild onion flavor. Use the recipe as a guide and substitute with what you have, what you like, and what is in season for you. Making a pot pie is a great way to use up leftovers, especially after Thanksgiving. Turkey for chicken, a bit of brussels sprouts, mashed sweet potato, cranberry, etc. all mixed up with gravy and covered with a bit of puff dough - yum!
I haven't noted specific amounts because this is not a time for measuring - make as much as you need. Just make sure you have enough puff dough to cover your pot pie.
- Roast Chicken meat (cooled and shredded)
- Green beans
- Chicken stock (and drippings if you've saved from the roasting)
- Heavy cream
- Salt + Pepper
- Puff Pastry dough
- Egg wash
All vegetables used should be cleaned, seasoned, and pre-cooked. Toss together shredded chicken and vegetables. Make a gravy - start by making roux with the butter and flour, add drippings, add chicken stock and finish with a small amount of cream. Pour over the chicken + vegetable mixture and toss together. Add chopped parsley and salt + pepper to taste.
Place in a baking dish (large or individual - whatever you fancy (so English, I mean "whatever your like"!). Place thinly rolled puff pastry over the top of the mixture. Dock the dough to let steam escape. Brush with egg wash and cook in a 350F oven until the puff dough is cooked through and golden brown.
- 1 c shredded beets
- 1 1/2 c shredded carrots
- 1 c shredded cabbage
- 1/2 c thinly sliced celery
- 1 small handful of parsley, roughly chopped
- 1/2 c pomegranate seeds
- salt to taste
- 1/4 c freshly squeezed orange juice
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 1/2 c walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
Shred and cut as needed. Toss all ingredients together. You can make this ahead of time, but add walnuts just before serving.
Everything used in the pot pie recipe was locally sourced. For the slaw there were four exceptions - olive oil, oranges, pomegranate and walnuts. But, oranges, pomegranate, and walnuts are in season in other parts of the world! If you are in England and want to be totally local - omit the pomegranate, orange juice (substitute freshly pressed apple juice), walnuts (substitute toasted pumpkin seeds), and olive oil (use rapeseed oil).
Also, if you can, try and visit a farm. When you see how the foods you eat are grown and reared, the choice for organics and sustainability is easier to make. Support farmers who practice better treatment of animals and that are stewards of the land they grow on. If you can afford organics, buy them, and hopefully, with time, that will help others afford organics as well.