Comfort Food

I have no idea when or why chicken pot pies were termed comfort food. They can be extremely uncomfortable.

In Stephen Spielberg’s movie “The Lost World”, Dr Ian Malcolm  (Jeff Goldblum) describes the interaction of humans and dinosaurs as “Oh ,Yeah. Ooh, Ahh, that’s how it always starts. Then later there’s running and screaming.”

This is also the same with the interaction of humans and comfort food. When you display the final dish, everyone says Ooh and Ahh! And after the try the first bite (that always burns skin on the top of your mouth off) then comes the running and screaming.
My mother was an adventurous cook later in life. Unfortunately for us, this was not so during my upbringing. Meals were full of danger and peril. During good times we indulged ourselves with store-bought food . The Chicken pot pies of my youth consisted of a smallish foil wrapped pie that was frozen at the time of the last ice age. After superheating (baking) the artifact for an hour, directions indicated that one should wait a sufficient period as to cool the pie to the temperature of hot lava. Our family would tear into the meal like a pack of starving wolves.
Then the running and screaming. That stuff was hot!

I have learned since that time to wait an even longer period, something a growing child would never have the patience for. Maybe a minute or so longer, and a lot less severe burns.

The following BBQ Chicken Pot Pie recipe was gleaned and modified from four or five recipes online, one or more written by a chef who is no stranger to prison. I guess that does not narrow it down as most chefs on the food network have prison tattoos, and would be a frightful sight in any dark alley.

For this recipe I double the crust, as the family likes it on the bottom as well as the top. Filling is qs (quantity sufficient)
This will make about 6 medium pies, or 8 smaller ones. I also make it in two batches, as I do not want to overload the food processor.

For the Crust (double this part, make two discs)
•    2.5 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for work surface
•    2 teaspoons sugar
•    1/2 teaspoon fine salt
•    2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
•    10 tablespoons ice water

•     In a food processor, pulse together flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few pea-size or smaller pieces of butter remaining. Add 10 tablespoons ice water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed do not over-mix. Form dough into a disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap that sticks to everything except what you intended it to stick to, and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour or longer to make sure the butter does not melt. (or freeze, up to 4 weeks).

Cooked, chopped chicken

chickenpotpie0001Onions smothered in butter

chickenpotpie0002Everyone in the Pool!chickenpotpie0003Add BBQ chicken chunkschickenpotpie0004Baked!chickenpotpie0005For the Filling

•    2 pounds skinless, boneless Foster Farms ® chicken breast halves – cubed
•    1 package baby carrots
•    1 package frozen green peas
•    1.5 cup sliced celery
•    1 cube cup butter
•    2 chopped onions
•    1/2 cup all-purpose flour
•    1 teaspoon salt
•    1/2 teaspoon black pepper
•    1/2 teaspoon celery seed
•    4 cups chicken broth on hand
•    1 cup milk
•    1/3 cup BBQ sauce
•    1 tsp sage
•    1 tsp tyme
•    4tbsp olive oi
•    1 egg, tbsp water (egg wash) optional
•    Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
•    In a frying pan, fry chicken (salt and pepper to taste) in 4tbsp olive oil searing both sides, cover and cook on medium low heat for 20 minutes total. (or less if it looks done, not dried out) Remove from heat, and set aside. After it has cooled, chop in chunks, add and mix in BBQ sauce, set aside.
•    In the saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, sage, time and celery seed. Add 2 cups chicken broth and milk. Add celery, carrots, and peas. Everyone in the Pool! Simmer over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes until thick and cooked. If too thick, add more chicken broth. Remove from heat and set aside.
•    Take a quarter of one of the dough discs, roll out to 1/8 inch on a substantial cutting board or clean surface (small ones will just skid away during each roll). Line an individual dish (I use a ceramic baking dish) trim off excess.
•    Place the chicken mixture in bottom pie crust. Pour hot liquid mixture over. Cover with top crust (excess you have trimmed off and have re-rolled), seal edges. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape. Repeat until you are out of dough, filling or dishes.
•    At this point you can brush any egg wash mixture you like to make it super golden. (beat an egg and a little water, brush on the top)
•    Bake in the preheated oven for 45 to 55 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. Have expendable relative test the heat. No screaming, dig in like a pack of wolves!


BBQ Chicken Enchiladas Verde

This is a very labor intense dish, and is well worth the efforts. I saw the original recipe off the Internet, and tweaked it beyond recognition. A few shortcuts, added BBQ flavor, mixed up the cheese, and I have created Nirvana, as you will too.

My wife Carrie states that, “this is the food that makes you make noises.”

(Ooh’s and Aahhh’s of pleasure, not gassy cramps like the moaning sounds made during the sinking of a large ship!)

It is all in the Verde sauce, sweet, green nectar of the Gods. After making a batch, you will find out that you are now an enchilada hoarder, after you start hiding them from any real, or imagined, threat to your share, which is all of them. You may find yourself eating them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with no want of variety.

That said, boldly set forth. This will take a while. Also, you may need a crime scene cleanup crew to follow up on your kitchen.


BBQ Chicken Enchiladas Verdes

Tomatillos, outer husk, and stem removed, well washed

chickrnench0002medium onions chopped

chickrnench0003Poblano chiles, cut in half lengthwise, seeded and stems removed, washed, and dried, in pan and oiled.



Garlic cloves, peeling time never to be recovered


A little cilantro, and theechickrnench0006


2 medium onions chopped

6 chopped garlic cloves

4 tbsp. vegetable oil

1 tsp. cumin

2 cups chicken broth

3 lb. (about 30 smaller ones) tomatillos, outer husk, and stem removed, well washed

6-8 poblano chiles, cut in half lengthwise, seeded and stems removed, washed, and dried.

3 tsp. sugar

Salt and pepper to taste




2 lb. Foster Farms ® skinless chicken breasts

4 tbsp. favorite BBQ sauce

one bunch cilantro leaves

4-5 cups grated Monterey Jack Cheese. Buy the big brick, it’s cheaper!

12 oz. Queso Fresco Cheese (one small wheel)

Large tub of sour cream

12 flour tortillas



Sour cream

A little cilantro


1. Set oven rack at highest point, set for broil. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in saucepan, add onion. Stirring frequently, cook for about 7 minutes until golden.

Add cumin, garlic, stir constantly for about one minute. Do not let garlic burn. Decrease heat to low, add broth. Cook for about 10 more minutes, set aside until cool.


2. After searing both sides, fry chicken in large covered sauce pan (keeps moisture) for 20 minutes until done, salt, and pepper to taste. Set aside until cool, chop/pull apart, stir in     BBQ sauce until coated. (Not too much, don’t overwhelm)


3. Brush oil on poblanos and tomatillos. Arrange chiles on rimmed baking sheet with non-stick foil. Broil for about 12 minutes, or until skin has blackened.

Remove, set aside in covered glass or metal bowl (theta will be HOT!!!) for about 15-20 minutes until cool. Remove skin. Put in food processor.

Arrange tomatillos (if you have large ones, cut in half, broil skin side up) on rimmed baking sheet with non-stick foil. Broil for about 12 minutes, or until skin has blackened.

Set aside to cool. Lower rack, Set oven on 450 when you get a chance.


4.  Add skinned poblanos, tomatillos (with juice that came out during roasting), onion/garlic/cumin/chicken broth in food processor; process until sauce is still chunky, about 8-10 one second pulses.

Add sugar and salt/pepper to taste.


5.  In large frying pan, warm up tortillas. (Until you get some little burnt marks on them, this will also soften them up for rolling).


6. Oil (spray if you have it) large baking dish. Add a cup of sauce and spread around the bottom and sides.


7. On a sterile field (the last clean square foot in your kitchen, which should look like “not so good housekeeping” by now) set one tortilla on a plate, add chicken, some of both cheeses, and cilantro and a dollop of sour cream. Roll it up, add to baking dish. Repeat until baking dish is packed full. I did not mix all these ingredients together, as with leftovers, you can re-purpose them.


8. Cover enchiladas with remaining sauce. Cover with a little more shredded Monterey Jack and Queso Fresco Cheese. Tent non-stick foil over dish; bake 20-30 minutes until top cheese has melted. Let stand 5 minutes so it will serve well.


9. Garnish with sour cream, a little cilantro, and favorite your salsa. (I like the South Pacific Sambol, or you may like La Victoria brand Salsa Jalapeno)

10. Enjoy!










Jalapeno Jelly Sauce

This Jalapeno jelly sauce is not only a tasty treat but excellent for home defense. When cooking the sauce down the caustic fumes will repel burglars, would-be home invaders and most relatives. Reminiscent of trench warfare in WWI European Theater, the fumes will permeate the home with mustard gas like quality. Remove all small pets, children, and possibly the spouse before preparation. Open all household doors and windows. This will be breathtaking. I mean it!

This sauce is best poured cold over a slab of cream cheese, and scooped with Triscuits, a most tasty whole wheat snack wafer. Besides great flavor, it holds up to “scooping” up the sauce and cream cheese.

If you are taking it to a pot-luck, leave a warning next to the dish explaining that the harmless looking sauce could induce seizure like activity if you are not accustomed to spicy foods. (Holding of the throat, flailing across the room) Jalapenos will vary in heat from store to store and batch to batch. I have enjoyed my wife Carrie’s sauce on many occasions, and for the most part they were mild with just the right heat. That being said, there was one batch we could have marketed to Homeland Security. I felt very proud that we could be saving the nation, and make a profit.They turned me down again.


8 cups sliced jalapeno peppers

1 ½ cups cider vinegar

8 cups sugar

(4) 3-ounce packages liquid Certo or equivalent


Add 4 cups jalapenos and ¾ cup cider vinegar Into blender and blend well. Put in large saucepan. Then add the rest of jalapenos and vinegar and blend well and also add to saucepan. Add 8 cups sugar to pan and bring to a boil stirring constantly. Cook 3 minutes at a boil and then turn off heat. Let cool for 10 minutes stirring occasionally, then add 4 packages of Certo into saucepan. Bring to boil then remove from heat. Stir constantly while pouring into small 4 oz mason jars (request an assistant, as this is HOT!!)

Fills 12-16 jars