It’s about a 50/50 split between those who either choose to like or follow my blog depending on my posts of meat-based or vegetarian menu suggestions. I appreciate the interest of both! And I was thrilled to see that so many new followers joined up this week. Tonight’s menu can be made in either meaty or vegetarian fashion with great results. I wanted to use up the roast chicken that was leftover from Sunday’s meal, so my own dnner will include that as an ingredient. But you can easily make this dish without the poultry component, and substitute vegetable stock in the sauce ingredients.

After roasting the chicken last Sunday, I saved the carcass and wings and made a wonderful stock that simmered on the stove most of the day on Monday. That stock is the basis for the sauce that will enrich tonight’s dish. And today, I made homemade piecrust to top this pie. I also blanched parsnips, carrots, potatoes, turnips, pearl onions, and brussels sprouts, all of which were layered in a buttered baking dish alongside the chicken. Whether or not you choose to use leftover chicken or just make this as a vegetarian version, the pot pie sauce is key to success.

You start with the idea of a classic béchamel, melting butter in a saucepan and adding flour while whisking constantly. (Tonight, I also added a clove of minced garlic). Then, you add the stock of your choice and let it thicken somewhat, before adding a bit of heavy cream and a tablespoon or two of brandy or Marsala. Pour the sauce over the mixture in the dish and gently stir to combine.

Roll out the piecrust to about 1/8 inch thick and use the bottom of the baking dish as a guide to cut a crust that will fit neatly over the top of the filling. Note here that I use my Mother’s idea that the crust is NOT pressed on the top sides of the dish, but rather somewhat “floated” over the ingredients in the dish. After preheating the oven to 425 degrees F. , gently lay the crust over the dish and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. and bake for 20-30 minutes longer.

In my mind, this is a one-dish meal without any real need for embellishment. If you have a large appetite, then I suggest a “midnight snack” later in the evening—or, if you want a dessert option immediately after the meal, perhaps a piece of fruit of your choice.

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