Tuesday, December 29, 2009

To Pea or Not to Pea

Chicken Pot Pie
Chicken Pot Pie

Part of a recipe developers job, beyond the creation of recipes for a specific client, is also sometimes the 'creation' of tried and true mainstays. A publisher wants their own versions of the recipes we all know and love to help fill out their database.

It was just such a circumstance that led to revamping my own chicken pot pie recipe. That, in turn, led to several funny and opinionated discussions via Twitter and Facebook about whether or not peas should be added to a pot pie.

Living in Pennsylvania, one must first get past the bounds of which pot pie you're cooking; the P.A. Dutch version, or the comfort food classic that we all know. My own recipe has always been the equivalent of a chicken stew cooked in a pie crust. No pomp and circumstance, no muss, no fuss. My own mother made hers the same way, lots of chicken and potatoes, no peas.

Every single pot pie I'd ever seen anywhere else, including within the grocer's freezer, contained those little green spheres, but not mom's. Search as I may, I couldn't find a single instance in a cookbook or online without the inclusion of peas. So, I thought I'd poll my corner of the world and ask which it was; Peas or No Peas.

Some of the answers I received were downright hysterical:

Patrick N: I've never known a CPP that didn't have peas

April Jean: peas!

Louise Lenner: sometimes with...sometimes without depends on the tastebuds..I like ANY chicken pot pie lol

Rhonda Jenkins: I don't always eat the peas but I've never seen one without them! If I were making it though, I'd probably leave them out since Stephen is allergic to them. Speaking of which, how about a good recipe? I have chicken out for dinner tonight! lol

Trinette Stowell: Yes, please! Or not. Either way is fine with me.


Ryan Boudreaux: Hello....peas and carrots are a must! lol

Krista Foster: That you would even contemplate not adding peas makes me question your culinary integrity (LOL!!!!)

Daniel East: I have to say it: Give peas a chance! (there, I said it)

Drheckle MrGibe: Only a neophyte wouldn't add peas to pot pie

Jennifer Koenig Wilson: peas.·

Cassidy Coleman: EWWWWW!!!! NO FREAKING PEAS!

Jenn DiPiazza: PEAS!

Reese Badman: Peas! If they're nice and fresh when you put 'em in, they're like little explosions of goodness when you bite into them. Peas all the way!

Joan Nova: peas pls

Duane Foster: You have to have peas.

Heather Cohen: YES! PEAS!

Audrey Michael-smith: Even though I do not like them they do add a little color.. my vote is YES

Bruce Sarte: Peas -- definitely!

Paul Landis: No Peas??? Epic fail.

Yvonne Freitas- Garcia: no peas............. blah! Was never a fan. Chicken Pot Pie. *drools

Kate Parker: Absolutely add peas, YES YES YES!!!!!!!!·

Morgana Kennedy: This is a very serious question. My kids hate peas and would get out of eating dinner if they were in there. You could always be a "sneaky chef" and puree the peas so no one will know they are there. Something I do a lot. Good luck!

Jason Sturdevant: Just tell them its peas or brussell sprouts...

Kerri Koch: oooh ~ no peas in my pot pie please!

Wendy Mikko-Wood: A pot pie without peas? No way!

Toontz Okara: Peas!!!!

Caroline Kahikina McCloud: Coming in late on this, but PEAS yes! Mushrooms are the debate in our household. I generally make one with mushrooms and without.

Paula Dancho-Moffo yes!

Mickie Connor Young: Peas, definitely.

Jennifer Buckner Atkinson: Peas!

Faith Bond: of course..always had it in that i knew

Rachel Zenhausern: No! No peas! It's the one reason I avoid chicken pot pies when other people make them. I hate the peas. I've always hated peas. Just the smell of them makes me gag! Please no peas. My chicken pot pie is a creamy mix of mushrooms and broccoli topped with a homemade biscuit crust.

Kristine Grampo McNerney: No Peas! Please: )

Jenn DiPiazza: PEAS!

Tom Pierce: whirled peas

Julie Pleiness Liedke: peas.... for sure:-)

Anok Kropotkin: Peas!

Hannah Rittenhouse: peas..sure and little diced carrots too..yummo! that other one with the broccoli sounds yummo but is not a traditional chicken pot pie..actually they're ALL chicken PIES..if it's made in a pot a "la pa dutch" THEN it's a pot pie! AHAHAHA!

Virginia Tadrzynski: peas, definitely, that is unless you go to put peas in the potpie and 'sob' and 'alas' (you toss your head back and cover your forehead with your arm) THERE ARE NO PEAS in the freezer. Then...no peas.

Chicken Pot PIe

I had several answers on Twitter, as well - from simple 'yes' to 'No peas. Ick! Pa-tooey.' It does seem that the peas won out, so in re-doing my recipe, I added peas. I have to say, though - when making this for my own family, the peas are out.

You may also notice that I've done another controversial thing - added potatoes. I've never had a pot pie at home that didn't contain potatoes and I love the flavor and texture they add.

Whichever you choose, Peas or No Peas, one thing is for sure, pot pie is one of the best things going.

This is the pot pie as it looks when made in one pan.

Anne's Chicken Pot Pie
Serves 8
Printable Recipe

1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced potato
1 cup diced carrot
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken stock
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 cup frozen peas
4 cups cooked and cubed chicken
1 double pie crust rolled to 1/4" thick and cut into eight 4.5" circles

Melt butter in a large pot and add onion, celery, carrot and potato.
Cook over low heat until vegetables begin to soften - about 10 minutes.
Sprinkle flour over vegetables and stir well. Pour stock into the pot in a thin stream, stirring all the while until the sauce begins to thicken. Add thyme, salt and pepper. Stir in chicken and peas. Cook for another 10 minutes until bubbly and completely heated through.

Ladle filling into 1 cup capacity ramekins or other suitable vessel - even oven-proof coffee mugs work well for this! Top each cup with a round of pie dough and set on a baking sheet.

Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 20 - 25 minutes or until pie crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling out the edges.


Anonymous said...

I had a staunch anti-pea stance for the longest time, until I tried them in a creamy orzo dish. It just added something extra to it. Since then I've been very liberal with my frozen pea useage in many pasta/casserole recipes.

I'm also pro-potato. In *anything*.

Penny Pincher said...

I've always been OK with peas, but only in pot pies or fried rice. My husband, however, refuses to eat pot pie if it has peas, and I've never seen one without. He won't even pick around them. I will definitely try the recipe---without peas. I'm sure my husband will like it, especially with the potatoes.

Unknown said...

I love peas! I make a cold-pea salad that everyone loves, but the name is a bit distasteful...i.e., "Cold PEA Salad" lol

Anonymous said...

My problem with Peas is texture I can eat split pea soup but in pot pies they are mushy. Ugh! Who makes pot pies with out peas.