Comfort Food- Doing My Own Thing

All of a sudden it got cold in Central Massachusetts. For the next few days, at least, we are scheduled to have chilly, autumnal weather. This kind of weather always gives me an appetite for comfort food.

Most of the comfort food recipes I make have been inherited from my mother’s cooking, like tuna casserole, eggplant Milanese, and use-up-the-leftovers soup. There is one dish I have perfected on my own, however. Mr. Food It Yourself likes a good chicken pot pie. I am terrible at dealing with pie crust. Therefore I started making what I call “chicken cobbler”. It has all the hall marks of comfort food. It is warm, filling, requires no expensive or unfamiliar ingredients, and tastes delicious. Check this out-

I started by disassembling two small onions, four ribs of celery and five carrots (they were skinny, when I have thick ones I only use three).  I let those saute in my favorite big @$$ cast iron skillet until they started to get soft. This is especially important for the carrots. Mr. Food It Yourself will eat as many cooked carrots as you give him but has issues with raw ones.  Meanwhile, I stepped out into the spooky dark night (it was about 6:15pm, which is after dark now) to pick some herbs. You can see from the photo my parsley is totally fine in the cool weather, as are my thyme and sage. I picked a little of each.

Also while this was happening I was using my microwave to partly thaw a couple of individually quick frozen (“IQF” in food marketing lingo) boneless chicken breasts. Once they were defrosted enough to get a knife through, I diced them. You can use turkey, if that’s what you have. Even tofu would work. This is your dinner, do your thing.

It gets a little steamy as you can see.  I add the chicken (or whatever) and the chopped herbs when the carrots are almost but not quite done.  Then I let it cook while I put the topping together.

If I were to make a proper chicken pie I would make a proper pie crust.  However, since pie crust and I do not get along I make a biscuit- like topping. Heat the oven to 357F Mix together:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 fat pinch of salt

In a different vessel,  mix together the wet ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise

The easiest way to measure the wet ingredients, I have found is to use a large measuring cup. Pour in the milk, then carefully add the mayo until it hits 1 1/4 cups total. Keep the wet and dry ingredients separate until the filling is cooked and the oven has preheated.

If I have frozen peas, I’ll add them now. They just need to thaw out; overcooked peas are gross. I eyeballed a generous cupfull.  I added about 1/4 cup broth with a tablespoon or so of flour mixed in to thicken the juices. I let that come to a boil so the flour started the thickening process. Finally, I mixeed the wet and dry biscuit ingredients together, plopped the sticky dough on top of the filling, and placed the heaping skillet in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the topping was cooked.

Here is the finished product. It was just the thing to fill us up on a chilly fall night. I learned so much about cooking from my family, and I love our family recipes. However, now that I am a grownup I get to do my own thing with my DIYet!  What are your favorite comfort foods? Share in the comments!

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