Pot-Pie: Some Basics

(Features meat)

This is not a recipe. Recipes have precise measurements and stuff. This doesn't. If it turns out the same way twice, I feel I did something wrong.

Also, this uses Bisquick. I'm usually not a fan of boxed stuff, but Bisquick is a simple proportion of flour, baking soda, etc. Convenient enough.

Spray your Crock-Pot with Pam or grease it lightly with oleo or butter.

Cut up some chicken or some beef. Maybe around a pound. Whatever you have. Put it in the Crock Pot.

Cut up about two potatoes. More if they're little. Fewer if they're huge. Put them in, too.

Add some cut-up carrots if you have them, baby carrots preferably. Some frozen peas, but don't waste fresh ones on something that's going to bake anyway. Maybe mushrooms. Lots of mushrooms are good. Some onion, but not too much.

What, you want to know how much of this stuff to use? I don't know. Maybe seven baby carrots. Maybe twelve. What have you got? No fewer than six or seven mushrooms--they cook down small. If you have only five, that might be okay, but fewer than that will make them occasional surprises rather than ingredients. A handful of peas, maybe a handful and a half. Onion...well, less than half of one, certainly.

Now dump in some olive oil and some wine. Don't skimp on it. It will contribute to the gravy later. But don't drown your other ingredients. No more than half an inch of liquid in the bottom when you're done. If you're using chicken, use white wine; if beef, red. As always.

Peel garlic cloves and press them into the Crock Pot. If you don't have a garlic press, you can cut the garlic up into tiny pieces, but this will take kind of a long time unless you're really good with a knife. If you have Vanya there, you can have him put the ingredients under a small pot and then punch the pot. This gets the garlic nice and mashed but tends to leave Vanya knuckle imprints in your crockery, so I don't recommend it especially.

If you have fresh rosemary, it's better, but the dried stuff will work, too. Sprinkle it in. If you have fresh sage and thyme, I hope you have a garden. Because buying them fresh at the store seems a little odd to me. Ben brought them fresh in a little plastic container that kept the dirt on their roots intact, when he came to make turkey for Thanksgiving. I prefer not to garden, so when something in cooking smacks of gardening, it makes me a little edgy. Sprinkle some sage and thyme on your mess. It should not be covered in dark green powder. Sage and thyme taste too strong in those quantities; they will overwhelm your chicken. A light sprinkle will do.

Turn the crockpot on to low if you've had the foresight to start this before lunchtime (6-10 hours before you intend to eat it) and to high if you haven't (4 hours before you intend to eat it). Go away.

Come back after about that many hours. Fish out the meat and veggie and potato chunks. Dump them into an oven-safe casserole dish. Pour the remaining juices into a skillet. Add about a cup of broth that matches your meat. More if you have less juice; less if more. Add milk, a little at a time, and flour, a little at a time, stirring thoroughly. When it has started to thicken and get bubbly, pour it over the meat and vegetables in the casserole dish.

Top with the biscuit-type crust of your choice and bake. I use a quick Bisquick recipe: 1 c Bisquick, 1/2 c milk, and 1 egg, baked for 30 minutes in an oven preheated to 400 degrees. Yum.