Saturday, November 30, 2013

Chicken Pot Pie and Sharing Thanksgiving Dinner

November 24, 2013

Chicken Pot Pie

Skillet Chicken Pot Pie from Cook's Illustrated
Parker House Rolls from King Arthur Flour 
Slow Roasted Turkey from Cook's Illustrated
Spiced Pumpkin Pie from Penn Live 

There was no dinner for two on Sunday, November 17. Not only did I not cook, I didn't eat, I didn't even get out of bed. I had chills and fever and no energy and no appetite.

By the time November 24 arrived, daughter Caryn was home from college for Thanksgiving break. A few weeks prior I had asked what she would like for dinner while she was home and she requested (somewhat to my surprise) chicken pot pie. My kind of food! I found a recipe and had done the shopping but I was still too sick to spend the necessary time on my feet in the kitchen to make this recipe. Caryn agreed to make the pot pie. Rather than being put out for having to cook the dinner she requested, she rather enjoyed the opportunity to cook something like this. Her usual college fare is far simpler.

The pot pie was very good, though a fair amount of work was required to make it. The crispy tender crust covered a rich filling of dark meat immersed in a thick flavorful sauce. It was good leftover, too, warming it in the oven rather than the microwave so the crust was still crisp. Caryn did a great job, very much appreciated by me, with a complicated recipe.

When Thanksgiving arrived I had recovered sufficiently to be of some use in the kitchen. Nonetheless, so no one had to spend the holiday entirely in the kitchen, we each took on several dishes. Not only did this spread the work it made the feast more of a shared experience to which everyone contributed, kind of like a pot luck even though everyone was in the same house.

I cooked the turkey and gravy and made Parker House Rolls. I bought a half breast and leg quarter which were cooked using Cook's Illustrated's slow roasting technique which is very easy to do and resulted in juicy meat and a flavorful gravy. I made he rolls a day in advance, cooking them until set and then browning them just before dinner. Diane made cranberry relish (cranberries, oranges, and sugar, like my mom always made) and mashed potatoes. Caryn was responsible for the vegetable, serving grilled asparagus and she volunteered to make dessert, a yummy pumpkin pie. Diane and Caryn also collaborated on a turkey crudité which is becoming a new family Thanksgiving tradition, which we picked at all afternoon long leading up to dinner.

After two weeks, many consultations with physicians, and tests galore, I am on the mend. There is no definitive diagnosis, the most likely explanation is a strong immunological response to toxins, perhaps from a bug bite. Despite it all, we had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner, and a hearty Sunday, dinner for three this last week, all things for which to give thanks.

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