Thursday, February 20, 2020

By George! It's Your Birthday!

George Washington was born on February 22, 1732, in Westmoreland, Virginia Colony. He began his career as a surveyor, soldier, then senior officer in the French and Indian War. In 1775, he was chosen to be commander-and-chief of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. Through many difficulties, victory was finalized in 1783. Washington then returned home to his beloved Mount Vernon estate. However, in 1789, Washington was unanimously elected the first president of the United States. At the time, no one was more universally loved and respected to hold the new country together. He reluctantly accepted a second term as president, but refused to run for a third term, establishing the maximum of two terms for a president. In 1797, he again returned to Mount Vernon, until his death in 1799. Although he was a slave owner, he detested slavery and freed all his slaves in his final will. He truly was the "Father of our Country." Thanks, George! Happy Birthday!

So, continuing my Mount Vernon-inspired menu, I chose to make "Chicken Pot Pie for Perfectionists," from Dinner Chez Moi, by Laura Calder. This recipe should be renamed "Chicken Pot Pie for Masochists!" I started the recipe at 12:30, roasting a chicken, then making and straining stock, making the lard crust (as recommended), blanching the vegetables, cooking the bacon, browning the vegetables, making the sauce, then putting it all together, baking it, and then finally serving it, at 7:30pm! I put so much work into it, but I wasn't too impressed with the final results. ****! In fact, I prefer my recipe, which I am going to call "Chicken Pot Pie for Realists!" It's spiked with Sherry, loaded with fresh herbs, peas served on the side, and topped with a delicious puff pastry top! Perfect for any self-respecting Inn or Tavern of Washington's day!

Chicken Pot Pie for Realists

Serves 4


4 tablespoons butter
1 rib celery, chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped (can use leeks instead, click here for more on leeks)
2 carrots, peeled and cut into coins
4 ounces button mushrooms, cleaned and cut into quarters
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock (click here to learn how to make a quick stock)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken (click here to learn how to poach chicken)
1/4 cup Sherry
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon rosemary, chopped
1/2 teaspoon thyme, stems removed and chopped
1 tablespoon sage, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 package puff pastry sheets, thawed (e.g., Pepperidge Farm)
1 egg, beaten with a little water (to brush pastry)
Pinch of sea salt, fleur de sel, or Kosher salt (to sprinkle on top of pastry)
1 cup peas (to pass at the table)


In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Cook the celery, onion or leeks, carrots, and mushrooms until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Gradually add the stock and cook, stirring, until sauce thickens. Stir in the Sherry. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and add the paprika. Stir in the chicken and herbs. Pour into a 9"-pie plate and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll out the puff pastry and cut vents in the top. 

Brush the edge of the pie pan with the egg wash. Carefully lay the pastry on top, making sure it's sufficiently "glued down." "Ruffle" the excess pastry around the edges. Brush the top with more egg wash. Sprinkle the top with a pinch of salt.

Bake for 45 minutes or so, until golden brown. Serve with the peas on the side to pass around the table. Yum!


  1. That looks fabulous, I am following your blog. Please stop by anytime at my blog. Please feel free to follow! I can't wait to try this. I love the leaf cut outs!

    Warmest Regards,