I Get Cocky with a Crock Pot

Emboldened by the triumph of last week’s sausage and sauerkraut adventure, I took another stab at crock pot cooking. Because Real Simple provided me with the recipe that broke through my hatred of the infernal crock pot, I turned to another recipe from the same issue.

Sigh.

Big, big sigh. And, then shaking an angry fist at my own foolish audacity. Why had I dared to hope? Why did I think to dream of a world where I could know the mysteries of the crock pot?

I have banished my crock pot back to the basement where it belongs. Gather dust, you bastard among kitchen appliances. (Now, I imagine my breadmaker and crock pot in collusion against me. To both of them, I say, “Mock me no more! But live an appliance life of abject misery in your dank cellar prison. You shall not see the light of day until summer. And, then, only as a forsaken object of scorn in my yard sale.”)

This was the crock pot’s downfall.

Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Potpie

  • 8 oz cremini mushrooms, stems trimmed and halved if large
  • 4 carrots, cut into 1” pieces
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • ⅓ C all-purpose flour
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1½ lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 8)
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 sheet puff pastry (half a 17.3-oz package), thawed
  • 1 C frozen peas
  • 1 C frozen green beans
  • ⅓ C heavy cream

In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, mix together the mushrooms, carrots, onion, flour, thyme, bay leaf, and ½ C water. Place the chicken on top; season with 1 t salt and ¼ t pepper.

Cover and cook until the chicken and vegetables are tender, on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.

Thirty minutes before serving, heat oven to 425°F. Using a 4½” cutter or large glass, cut the pastry into 4 circles. Place on a baking sheet and bake until golden, 8-10 minutes. (I didn’t have puff pastry so I made biscuits instead. Since you just lay the pastry on top instead of using it as a lid to cook the pot pie, I thought biscuits would be a suitable substitute.)

Ten minutes before serving, add the peas, green beans, cream and ½ t salt to the chicken mixture and stir to combine. Cover and cook on high or low until heated through, 5-10 minutes more. To serve, place the chicken mixture in bowls and top with the pastry rounds.

Result

Sadly, this is probably the worst chicken pot pie I have ever had the unfortunate experience to eat. And, I’ve had pot pies in some of the lesser known “Irish” pubs in Chicago. Cream of chicken canned soup with frozen peas tastes better than this one.

Chicken pot pie mess in a bowl

First, this is not a true pot pie. You’re making a big bowl of creamy stew and then sticking some pastry bits on top. But, I would have gotten over that if it weren’t for the fact that the mushrooms turned the creamy part a funky brown-gray. Not, a very appetizing look.

And, I would have gotten over the appearance if the taste wasn’t so horrendous. Putting the frozen vegetables in at the last minute made them rather distinct in flavor. So, the chicken and the carrots tasted like chicken-carrot, and then there was a crunchy green bean. Or, a pea that tasted like pea instead of pea in pot pie pea. It was weird to eat a dish that is so much about blending flavors but have these non-blended pieces popping up.

The thigh meat made the chicken overly chewy.

When fed to Mr. Moo, he would take a bite, move things around in his mouth, and spit out the mushrooms and green beans. Then, he’d chew anything else that remained. This continued until he had quite a pile of mushrooms and green beans. But, can I blame him? Who the F puts green beans or mushrooms in chicken pot pie? And, where is the celery? I’m not a purest by any stretch, but come on! Everyone knows peas, carrots, celery: Bang! Chicken pot freaking pie. Even my 1½ year old son knows that green beans and mushrooms have no business in this recipe.

So, I asked Paul what he thought. Actually, I’ll be honest, I took a few bites, looked at him, and said, “I’m never making this again. This is horrible. What do you think?”

He replied, “Not your finest work. That other chicken pot pie recipe you made was WAY better.” Then, he took a few more bites of the offending brew and mumbled, “Way, way better.” A few more bites, “I kind of wish I was eating that pot pie right now.” And, then he finished the bowl.

Oh! And, happy Valentine’s day to those of you who celebrate such things. Obviously, I don’t.

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  1. #1 by Bam's Kitchen on 2.14.2012 - 8:19 pm

    Your title got my attention. I really need to invest in a new crock pot. Since we moved to Asia I have not invested in one. Great recipe ideas!

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