Thursday, February 02, 2006

Inspiration from the Brainfood Gig

So I rushed home yesterday after my Brainfood volunteer gig to make J a chicken pot pie. This week the students are learning all about meat and today it was fun with turkey. The two recipes on deck were turkey pot pie and turkey meatballs. At the start of the class it was the two Chinese girls and me and the staffer. Each girl took a different recipe and I ended up helping the one making the turkey meatballs. I love how the students are trained to clean as they go and make sure all the ingredients are available first. Surprisingly, we had to work on reading the recipe to determine what ingredients went into the meatballs and what ingredients were for the sauce. In making the meatballs, she had this wonderful one-handed method that I am still trying to master. The meatballs turned out wonderfully. The one mistake was on my part. The recipe simply said to serve on top of hot buttered noodles with no amounts. As usual, I made too much and the meatballs and sauce didn’t fully coat the noodles. However, it still tasted good. J is so tickled by this volunteer project as I am required to give advice without being directive and telling the students what to do in the kitchen. It’s hard to give up the control freak but I do it for the children.

The hit of the evening was the pot pie. It was SOOOO delicious. Finely sliced fennel, carrots and turkey are poached in chicken broth. A b├ęchamel sauce is made with milk, a bit of the broth, fennel seeds, and the true kicker, lemon juice. It’s all baked with a puff pastry crust. The lemon juice really gives the filling a kind of wonderful lightness and freshness without changing the basic comfort foodiness of the dish. The puff pastry was fun for the student to work with. They made wonderful leaves with the extra puff pastry. However, I was scandalized when one of the students declared her hatred of puff pastry. That made my head explode. Does she hate butter? Flour? She loved the filling though.

Anyway, I rushed home to make my own pot pie with a puff pastry crust. My filling consisted of chicken, onions, peas, carrots and sweet potatoes with a chicken broth gravy and tarragon. Not as lively as what we made in class but fulfilling nonetheless.


Jon said...

I REALLY wish they had something like this in Chicago. I checked. Nothing. Bah.

Anonymous said...

Seriously-- that was some fine tastin' pot pie. Thanks! -J

ScottE. said...

Love me some pot pie! if I don't have any puff pastry, I'll throw a popping fresh biscuit ontop...makes for a quick tasty dinner!