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Tonight  it’s snowing in New York City, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.  It’s pouring here at the shore and has been most of the day and I thought what a perfect night for some real comfort food.  I made New England Pot Pie.  Earlier in the day, I thought about asking our friends, Dick and Jane to join us – it wouldn’t be the first time I prepared a dish that I never made before.  Thank goodness I didn’t follow through on that impulse.  NOT because the dish wasn’t good or that the recipe didn’t make enough;  No, it was definitely both, BUT it took me longer than I thought and it was totally my own doing.  

When I read the recipe two days ago or actually just skimmed through it concentrating mostly on what ingredients I would have to purchase, I didn’t realize how much prepping was needed.  A good chef knows the importance of mise en place, and I do know that very basic rule of good and efficient cooking, yet somehow just never gave it a thought.  So what happened was that I was working my way through the steps, I had to stop and prep the ingredient so I could use it.  NEXT TIME!  I think New England Pot Pie is a great dinner guest meal;  Once it’s in the oven, you are free to join you guest for a pre-dinner cocktail.

Comfort Food for a cold winter night

Comfort Food for a cold winter night

INGREDIENTS:

Olive oil for the baking dish

2 medium russet potatoes (1 lb) peeled and cut into 1/2 ” pieces

Kosher salt and pepper

6 slices of bacon cut into 1/4″ pieces

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/3 cup flour

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 8-oz bottles of clam juice

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 cup frozen peas and carrots, thawed

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1 TBS fresh thyme leaves

1 lb. medium peeled and deveined shrimp, tails discarded, shrimp halved

1 lb. skinless white fish fillet (such as cod, hake, pollack or haddock) cut into 1 ” pieces

1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3 oz pkg) thawed

1 large egg, beaten

DIRECTIONS:

Heat oven to 400º.  Lightly oil 8 10 oz ramekins OR a 2 quart baking dish

Place the potatoes in salted cold water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes  are tender, 5-7 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in large skillet ( I should have used my braising pan-my skillet a bit small) over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 4-5 minutes.  Spoon off and discard all but 2 TBS of the drippings.  Add the onions, season with 3/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 6-8 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Sprinkle the flour over the onion mixture and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Gradually stir in the wine, then the clam juice and cream.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is slightly thickened and coats the back of a spoon, 5-6 minutes.

Add the potatoes along with the peas and carrots, corn, parsley and thyme and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes.  Remove from the heat and gently fold in the shrimp and fish.  Transfer to the prepared baking dish.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry.  Using a 4″ round cookie cutter, cut out 8 pieces OR cut one 10 x 14 ” rectangle.  Brush the edges of the ramekins or baking dish with water.  Lay the pastry over the seafood mixture and press pastry against edge of dish to  seal.

Lightly brush pastry with egg and if making the rectangle, cut 3 diagonal slits in the middle of the pastry.  Place dish(es) on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the crust is deep golden brown and puffed in the center, 30-40 minutes.  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

recipe from Woman’s Day

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