Valentine’s Day Must Be Stopped With Chicken Pot Pie

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It's gluten-free y'all.

A chicken pot pie with a flaky gluten-free crust.

Men, this probably isn’t on your radar, but Valentine’s Day is this Thursday.

We’re all grownups now, so there’s no more sharing those messaged hearts that tasted like chalk.  VDay is something else: a day from which you can’t escape.  Your local grocery or drug store probably has one aisle fully decorated with crimson, overflowing with cheap chocolates, which sparks the time of year when you are forced to show your loved one how much you care. Or for those without partners, this day should be labeled, ‘Single Person’s Awareness Day.’

I probably run the risk of pissing off many women who look forward to it but, Valentine’s Day is a defective holiday.  I realize that my own blog that talks about this same subject: showing how much you adore your beloved.  So I’m not saying romance doesn’t work for me. All women love it.  But does it have to be shown only one day a year?

For me, the complete ruin of Valentine’s Day started with waiting tables years ago.  There was always a new and overpriced menu, overbooked tables, a highly stressed kitchen staff that wasn’t used to making these sometimes complex dishes, anxious waitstaff that anticipated a night full of two tops (industry code: table for two), mediocre Valentine’s Day tippers, and the couples. (Sigh), the couples.

The men never looked happy. They were just as anxious as the sous chef.  The ladies would never admit it, but they were on edge too. The ladies were typically donning a snug outfit with no allowance for three bites of an encrusted lamb chop let alone dessert. Her accessories included bedazzled earrings, an entitled smirk and a tablespoon of attitude ready to point out any perceived wrong to the waitress or her beau. “Excuse me miss, but do you have any entree without heavy cream or a low fat option?” We do, but you already chose the prix fixe meal option which includes the heavy cream and puff pastry. “Can you do substitutes?” No, not tonight.  The kitchen plans very carefully for Valentine’s Day.  Turns to husband/boyfriend and whispers, but loud enough so I can hear it, “I knew we should have gone to Mozza!”

As for the guy, he did not care one iota what was on the menu. He just wanted to get out of there and go home with her. You don’t sit well with 2/14 because deep down, all men know that this “holiday” has a manufactured feel to it.  But there are some other things to note:

  1. You’ll be out (at least) $200 bucks.
  2. Taking her out is not a guarantee that you’ll get some.
  3. She might be in a food coma by the time she finishes her meal.

Based on these, (along with an informal survey revealing that most women care more about everyday loving gestures than a Hallmark “holiday”), I have come to the following conclusion:

Valentine’s Day must be stopped!

Rather, the idea that romance happens annually must be stopped.  Here’s how you do it.

Please, take her out on any day except February 14th.  Or try my favorite recommendation: avoid all of that high priced stress by cooking for her. Start by cutting a heart shaped piece of red paper (get it at your local drug store or art supply store) that will become a handwritten invitation.  If you’re not handy, have a small child help you. Invite her to your kitchen at a specific hour.  Tell her to come any way she likes: dressed up to the nines, pajamas, jeans or her preferred mode. But clean up your home first.  If you have the resources but not the time, call a maid service.

I have no specific home cooked recipe for romance.  The perfect meal is whatever she likes.  Start paying attention to the things she eats and buys for herself.  For me?  At this time of year, it’s comfort food.  Having something baking in the oven is the ultimate in scoring points.  The aroma from this dish makes for immediate ambience: which is the start of your seduction.

Walking in a warm house filled with the scent of roasted chicken, mushrooms, carrots, celery, butter and white wine will leave her speechless.  This is seriously labor intensive and slightly messy, but she will love you for making something this special.  But don’t wait until Valentine’s Day.  Do it for her regularly so that she realizes how much she really doesn’t need February 14.

Men, you are my partner in bringing this “holiday” to an end.  It is the slow and steady approach, which takes time.  All you have to do is treat her special year round.

As for me, I don’t know what my husband is cooking.  But we’ll unofficially celebrate it on the 16th. Picture this: walking our dog on Venice Beach while buying $10 sunglasses, and eating gelato.  And I couldn’t be happier.

Chicken Pot Pie Recipe With A Gluten-Free Crust

Prep Time: 2 hours

  • 1 pound of chicken breasts, thighs and legs bone-in, skin-on
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 8 ounces of crimini mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup of white wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups yellow onions, chopped (2 onions)
  • 5 chopped carrots, medium sized
  • 3 chopped celery stalks
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free flour (I love Better Batter gluten-free flour, but Trader Joe’s has a good one now too)
  • 1/4 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
  • 1 cup frozen peas 

For the absolutely most delicious, flaky, gluten-free crust (thank you Better Batter for the guidance on your website):

  • 2 1/2 cups Better Batter Gluten Free Flour, chilled
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks butter, ice cold, cut into small 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1 cup ice cold water
  • 1 egg, beaten

Oven goes to 350. Place chicken and mushrooms in a roasting pan, coat with olive oil and thyme, roast for 50 minutes.

While waiting for chicken to cook, chop your carrots, celery and onions. Remove chicken from the oven, add salt and pepper and let it cool.  Separate the mushrooms from the chicken.

Place a cup of water, 2.5 cups of Better Batter gluten-free flour, along with two sticks of butter in the freezer. SEPARATELY. (Yes, I know. I put up a recipe that calls for two sticks of butter, and I have a healthy food blog. So it’s not a healthy crust.  Sue me. Just have lots of sex afterwards to burn it off.)

Place 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a dutch oven or large pan.  (No, not that kind of dutch oven.)  THIS kind of dutch oven that distributes heat evenly.  Sautee the onion, carrot and celery for about 3 minutes on a medium to high heat.  Add the mushrooms and stir.  Pour white wine, let evaporate.  Add chicken stock and flour, stir vigorously until lumps are gone.  Turn off heat.

Once the chicken has cooled, remove it from the bones. I have latex gloves handy to make this process easy.  (Your lady will actually love this part. It makes you look like a thoughtful cook.) Chop the chicken into chunks.  Return to your pan.  Add the chicken pieces, almond milk and stir. Season with salt and pepper until it tastes right to you.  Add frozen peas, stir and turn off heat. Pour mixture into a medium sized casserole dish.

Now for the crust.  Turn oven to 375. You’ll have to work fast, and make sure all your ingredients are ice cold (except the egg).  When I say cold, I mean sat in the freezer for at least an hour cold.

I don’t have an electric mixer, but a food processor will work just fine. If either option is not available, your good old wooden spoon and hands will do.  Use the pastry attachment in your processor to pulse the Better Batter gluten-free flour and salt.

Add the butter and pulse a few times to coat all cubes of butter. If using your hands, combine the flour and butter with a fork.  But work fast so your ingredients don’t heat too much.  When the mixture looks like coarse crumbs, you’re ready to add the water.  Turn on the processor and pour in the ice water in a steady stream until all added. You may need to add a bit more water too.  Test the dough by squeezing together, and if mixture is crumbly you may need to add a tablespoon to get it to a more traditional doughy texture. Roll into two discs with your hands.  If the dough feels warm, put in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Get two pieces of wax paper and place a good amount of flour on both. Place one disc between the wax paper and put your rolling pin to work, gently rolling out the dough until it’s a thin layer.  Remove dough from the wax paper and gently place on top of your pot pie filling. Brush with egg wash, and create a few slits to allow air to flow through. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the crust is a deep golden brown. Like in the picture above. Lightly salt it. This is sexy food.

* Thanks to a few people: Normal, creator of Outlaw Soaps for the “Single Person’s Awareness Day” term, Better Batter for the amazing ingredients, and Nicole Hunn for the inspiration of baking delicious gluten-free food.

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About Mona

I'm a food writer and home cook that loves to talk about healthy food and romance.
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