Fried Potatoes, Pot Pie, Charlotte

Good morning. I hope everybody had a nice weekend. We took advantage of the nice weather on Saturday and went on a few long walks; visited my parents and sister again across the county; had gin & tonics (wayyyy) across the patio with family friends. (They BYO’d their G&Ts, adding a splash of Campari to make them pink, which I am definitely trying this week.) Sunday was cold and rainy and we spent most of the day lounging around with the dogs. I also answered your questions on instagram which was really fun. (If you’re interested, it’s on my story, which will be up until about 5:00 ET.) With no further ado, let’s kick off Week 7 of PPP…

Pantry: Fried Potatoes

A long time ago, I wrote about the “You Cook it, You Own it” phenomenon in our house, meaning, if I make a dinner that everyone loves, it somehow falls on me to make that dinner for the family every night forevermore, even though Andy is perfectly capable of executing the dish himself. The only reason it’s not unfair is because it works in both directions. There are certain things he makes so well, that I’m completely exempt from duty when those dishes are on the menu. One of those recipes are these fried potatoes. He has many many versions of them (breakfast hash browns, spicy small-diced, basic pan-fried) but whichever it is, he always achieves a perfect creamy-crispy result. Here’s how he does it.

4 to 5 medium-large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced into shards (as shown, not too thick, just basically carving pieces off)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
salt and pepper
1 or 2 thyme sprigs (optional)

Add oil to a large skillet set over medium-high heat. (Note: The size of pan is very important. You don’t want them to crowd.) Once the oil is shimmery and the pan is hot, add potatoes with salt, pepper, and thyme. Let potatoes cook without disturbing, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a metal spatula, scrape underneath to flip and toss. Cook another 3 to 5 minutes and let them sit again. Keep doing this until you taste one and it’s tender and crispy, approximately 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pantry: Chicken Pot Pie

Before we started Operation Less Meat in my house, we’d have this pot pie for dinner all. the. time. It was one of the first things I made in my very first NYC apartment decades ago, and I basically just never stopped. I keep trying to make it more vegetable forward, as they say, but I just haven’t landed on something yet that I really love as much as my old standby. So here you go, pot pie in all its original chicken-y glory. (Note: this only calls for one 9-inch crust to cover the filling; I find it’s rich enough to skip the bottom crust.)

1 cup chicken broth 
1 large potato (red Yukon Gold potato), peeled and diced (the photo above shows sweet potatoes, but I don’t really use them in this anymore)
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped 
1⁄2 medium onion, chopped
Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh thyme 
Salt and pepper to taste 
1⁄2 cup milk (any kind) 
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded with two forks
1/3 cup frozen peas
1 store-bought 9-inch pie crust 
1 egg, lightly beaten 

Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a boil. Add the potato, carrot, onion, thyme, and salt and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. 

While the vegetables are simmering, in a measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together the milk and flour. Once veggies are soft, slowly add the flour–milk mixture, stirring until the filling has thickened. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chicken and peas.

Add the pot pie filling to a 9-inch pie plate. Cover with the pie crust and cut a few slits on the top to allow the steam to escape while baking. Using a pastry brush, paint with the egg wash, which will result in a nice golden sheen. 

Bake the pie for 25 to 30 minutes, until filling looks bubbly inside. 

Purpose: Charlotte & Generosity

Here’s a very happy way to start your Monday. Last week, when I asked readers to share how and where they are finding joy and comfort, Katie H from Virginia chimed in with this:

I live with my 13 year old chocolate lab, just the two of us. Over the past year, Charlotte has lost her hearing and some of her sight, and her movement is very slow and labored because of arthritis. During this uncertain and sometimes very lonely time, I’ve found so much peace in the time I can spend with her in her twilight years. Instead of rushing her in and out as I come and go from work, errands, and other normal obligations, I have time to just be with her. Our long walks have become short, and we spend most of our outside time sitting on the bench out front, where I might read or just sit and watch the (now very sparse) air traffic flying into and out of Reagan Airport. Charlotte rests in the grass and greets neighbors who walk by, happy to see everyone. When I look back on this time, I will always be grateful for our long days together right now.

It was the most-liked story, and when I told her that, she mentioned she’d make a donation to Martha’s Table on behalf of all of the other readers who commented on the same post. Martha’s Table is a nonprofit that offers family support services in southeast D.C., and, as you can imagine, is feeding many more people than usual these days. I keep saying this, but I am in awe of the way people are rising up for their communities. Katie, thank you! And if anyone else out there is in the position to donate, please consider Martha’s Table.

And yes, that’s beautiful, lucky Charlotte.

Stay safe, stay home.

The goal of the Project, Pantry, Purpose series to keep us sane, distracted, and connected. Please continue to comment below with suggestions for recipes, projects (for kids and adults), good deeds, donation ideas, stories, movies, games, puzzles. Or just tell me how you’re doing, what your daily routine is, and especially how DALS can help you or people in your community. You can also email me directly at jenny@dinneralovestory.com.

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17 Comments

Katie

Charlotte looks like such a sweetie — I’d love to come across that happy face on a walk. So happy that you are having this time together. Please give her ears a little scratch for me! <3

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Samantha

What a good girl, Charlotte! We lost our 11 year old yellow Lab last week. The silver lining of quarantine has been that we were all home with our sweet boy Otto the past six weeks instead of working, traveling and running around to activities.

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JANET SCHMELZ

The most prevelent “silver lining” of this COVID-19 crisis is that we are truly living and appreciating every moment. Charlotte is a representative of ALL in the autumn of their lives. Shelter and Stay orders have enabled us to take a step back from the hectic hamster wheel of our lives. Do not be so eager to resume what was once normal. There are lessons to be learned.

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Brigid

That chicken pot pie looks amazing! I could use some comfort food like that right now…

Love this story about Katie and Charlotte. I’ve actually been making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every Wednesday, which are being collected locally for Martha’s Table. It’s been nice to find a small way to do something for others during this time. My 15 sandwiches a week won’t change lives, but every little bit helps, right?

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awads

My husband just said this morning that he was making a donation to the Capitol Area Food Bank (capitolareafoodbank.org/donate), but Martha’s Table is indeed a great local charity. Thanks for plugging the DC area!

That chicken potpie is in our monthly rotation. It hits all the right notes! My son loves it!

I have been adding a dash of bitters to a regular martini. It adds a pink blush and makes me happy.

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Stacy Jurado Miller

Yes! You’ve just solved the fate of the rotisserie chicken in our fridge. Chicken pot pie is one of those dishes we made to death and then retired. Quarantine Comeback Tour 2020.

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Rebecca

I love your pot pie! Last time we made it, I got lazy and did the whole thing in my cast iron skillet. Worked great!

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Marlie

I wanted to share this with you, since you reach a wide audience with your blog:
In our county, happy hours on the patio are specifically not allowed. For everyone who is not an essential worker, six feet apart is for the grocery store, pharmacy, etc., not for having friends over.
Space between people helps prevent spread, but you also have to limit time spent with people outside your household. If you stand 6 feet apart in the grocery store line, this carries far less risk than sitting 6 feet apart for an hour of socializing.
I know you are not the only family bending the rules in this way. Your recipes are delicious and approachable, and this is a great service to families stuck at home. If you and your family choose not to adhere strictly to shelter in place, please consider not sharing this information on your blog.
Thank you for considering.

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Ana

I’m crying!!! SO glad Katie is getting this extra time with Charlotte. She looks like a good girl who definitely deserves all the treats and snuggles!

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Ana

I’m crying!!! SO glad Katie is getting this extra time with Charlotte. She looks like a good girl who definitely deserves all the treats and snuggles and ear scritches <3

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Makenzie

Thank you for highlighting Martha’s Table, and thank you to Katie for the genorosity-donating to these kind of organizations is helping make me feel like I’m at least doing a little.

This whole post is about comfort-the pot pie is now on my list, and sweet Charlotte brought a tear to my eye. Our own beloved cat has been such a source of joy, and we now have the time to notice how much she takes care of us (with extra snuggles, lots of lap time, and excellent tricks!).

Keep your heads up everyone and stay safe (and home!)

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sarah

Ohhhhh CHARLOTTE!!! What a sweet, good girl. This brought tears to my eyes. She is as lucky to have you as you are to have her. May her twilight days be filled with peace and happiness and lots of treats.

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Amy

Thank you for the pot pie recipe! I made a roast chicken on Sunday and was so happy to use up the leftovers in a pot pie…now to freeze the stock I made as well.

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Lindsey R.

What a lovely story! And what a sweet and beautiful dog! Will also make a donation to Martha’s Table. Thanks for brightening our day, Katie and Charlotte!

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Beverly

Love this recipe and sweet Charlotte! If I only have uncooked chicken breasts, what is is the best way to pre-cook them?

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Kim

Beverly, if I’m not using leftover chicken I’ll usually poach the chicken or bake it in the oven on 350. While I’m doing that, I make the crust and filling. Even if the chicken is a little underdone it’s when you’re ready to assemble the pie, it’s ok because you’re going to bake it off for another 30 minutes. It will be fully done when you take the finished pie out of the oven. Hope that helps!

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