Food Buzz

Because maybe you do care what I had for lunch...

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Southwestern chicken pot pie

A few years ago I went camping with friends in northern New Mexico. After dinner in Taos we drove out into the dark over plains and plateau, stopping at the end of a dirt road beyond an unmarked fence. I was dog tired and stayed awake only long enough to help Lane set up our tent and roll out our bags.

I woke to the sound of a strange roaring-rushing sound and stepped out of my tent to see what it was. It was then that I discovered we had set up camp at the edge of a deep ravine. Where the earth dropped off there was now a rising hot air balloon, just fifty feet away from me. I was alone in the desert watching this great, noisy orb ascend into the sky. As the morning sun began to heat the earth the scent of juniper, sagebrush, and pine filled the air.

I’ve been obsessed with the flavor of that morning ever since, and it was that flavor I had in mind when I made tonight’s pot pie.

The pie is actually a mélange of leftovers. I used the two pie crusts I had frozen back when I made the pumpkin pies last month. And I shredded the chicken from Monday’s roast. I started out by making chicken stock with some rosemary. Then I made a simple roux by cooking 2 T flour in 2 T butter before slowly stirring in the 2 cups of chicken stock.

I was hoping the rosemary would be part of my desert flavoring; the other part came from juniper berries I first toasted and then crushed and added to the gravy. I chopped eight of the Hatch peppers my sister sent and added them along with about half a bag of frozen corn and the rest of the chicken on the roasted carcass, probably about ¾ of a cup. I cooked everything together on the stovetop for a few minutes before filling the pie shell. Then I topped with the 2nd pie shell, cut vents, and baked for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Oh, it was so good. The juniper and rosemary were subtle, but with the chilies and corn they added up to what I think is a more quiet, earthy southwestern flavor – the southwest of Agnes Martin, who died this week a year ago. I’m still after that juniper, sagebrush, and pine flavor, but this comes close.


shaunamama said...

WOW!! I'll definitely try this one. My family loves homemade chicken pot pie....I make it at least every other week.
This one sounds much more interesting than mine. THANKS!!

liz said...

You had me at line 3, my mouth is still watering. Love this post!

Steph said...

I decided to read your blog, and what a pleasant surprise to be reminded of our trip to Taos. that was fun wasn't it. Sage does have this earthy taste that brings back memories of my childhood camping--the other one that works for me is artichokes... xoxo
great post