C is for crockpot, chicken pot pie & comfort

Comfort food.

You know what I’m talkin’ about. Food that nourishes the soul and body. Food that warms and sticks to the bones in the cold without leaving you feeling heavy like you’ve just eaten half a buffalo.

Chicken pot pie.

Ahh, that lovely creamy steamy nutritional comfort food. Your mom most likely prepared it for you like mine did for me and my sister and their mothers before them ad infinitum.

Chicken pot pie is an ultimate and ubiquitous comfort food. And as fattening as hell!

When my body speaks, I listen — most of the time. It speaks loudly, precisely, sometimes sternly, in the midst of current health issues.

The other day my body and soul announced: chicken pot pie — sans the pastry.

And thus it came to pass.

At no other time during the year does my crockpot get the rigorous workout that it does through autumn and winter! My crockpot’s my go-to cooking tool, hand’s down.

Speaking of hands: chicken legs. Alas, I slightly jump ahead.

My aim was to create a crockpot chicken pot pie that’s low in fat. Haha, you laugh (ROFL). No, REALLY!

I’ll give you a moment to pick yourself up off the floor, dust yourself off and show you how.

Note: I completely winged it — no pun intended — with chicken and veggies my body was craving. You can easily beef up — again, no pun intended — reduce, remove and tweak to your taste.

Allycat’s Low-Fat (No, Really!) Crockpot Chicken Pot Pie

1 lb. chicken – I use (3) legs ’cause I love dark meat and marrow
4-5 cups chicken broth — strictly Better than Bouillon … because it so is!! Cubes begone forever!!
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 large rib celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped — I used crimini
1/2 cup peas — I used frozen
1/2 large sweet potato, chopped — I left nutritional skin on
1/2 red pepper, chopped — for color and loaded with Vitamin C

Is that fastidious prep work or what?!

Is that fastidious prep work or what?!


Into the crockpot it all went along with:

1 tsp. thyme
2 bay leaves
Salt & pepper

Ready to roil 'n' roll

Ready to roil ‘n’ roll

Cooked on high for about 4 hours.

As you can see, it’s absolutely lovely and edible as a soup:

Chicken Veggie Soup before it gets "fattened up"

Chicken Veggie Soup before it gets “fattened up”

Buuuuut! It was that comforting creaminess I was after. Since I eat precious little dairy, the riddle was how to create it without milk.

Cornstarch to the rescue!

Cornstarch is a great thickener and in this case preferred over a roux as I didn’t want the added calories of butter.

My slurry:

1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon half-and-half
Stir to form a paste

stewslurry

Two keys in a slurry:

(a) add cold liquid to cornstarch. Be it water, broth, wine, milk, it must be cold. I used half-and-half — from my supply for the morning coffee — as a tiny indulgence in milky creaminess.

(b) the ratio of slurry to the dish being thickened.

After researching online, I went with the 1:1 ratio of cornstarch to liquid to 1 cup of dish (stew, soup, stir-fry, whatever).

To a cup of my chicken soup mere steps away from pot pie, I slowly stirred in the slurry. The thickening was instant!

In about 10 seconds — yes, just that fast! — I had a warming thick creamy chicken pot pie like mom used to serve without the fat and dairy:

Crockpot Chicken Pot Pie sans pastry, fat or dairy

Crockpot Chicken Pot Pie sans pastry, fat or dairy

Chicken pot pie comfort? You’re clucking right!!

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