Sometimes Good Ideas are Not

Florence and I used to make up a batch of chicken pot pies in individual servings and freeze them for later convenience. She fabricated the crusts and I made up the fillings. Recently, I decided that I really needed to put up a batch of pot pies to help me maintain my efforts in sloughing off extra weight — small portions, great nutrition, convenience, etc, etc….

Since she’s been gone, my experiments with pie crusts have been mediocre at best. The idea of using store-bought frozen crusts sounded good but the waste was enormous when making individual servings. And a typical 9-inch, deep-dish pie under a full-size crust makes up at least six servings. I like leftovers, but that’s just too, too many days in the ‘fridge.

Then this brilliant idea came up while I was grocery shopping. Biscuits! One brand of refrigerated biscuits, the ones in the paper cylinders that open with a POP! would give me tops and bottoms for four pot pies. The dough is already a round shape. All I’d need to do was roll them out a bit to fit the small aluminum pie tins. So I bought a package.

A couple of days later I went to work. I made up a batch of filling. Easy-peasy: make up a béchamel sauce with roux and chicken stock, cut up a left-over chicken breast, add in an equal amount of frozen peas and carrots — done. Pop open the biscuits, roll one out to fit the bottom of the pie tin, pile in a generous serving of filling, roll out another biscuit to fit over the top, pinch the edges down with a fork and stick it in the freezer. Then, repeat the process three more times. Wow, that was easy! Why didn’t I think of that before, I wondered?

That evening, I retrieved one pot pie and, following the directions we’d always used before, popped it into the oven for dinner. Remember the opening line: Sometimes good ideas are not. It didn’t take long for me to remember other words from biscuit making instructions: Don’t overwork the dough. The (biscuit) pie crust looked very nice and golden brown, just a little darker around the edges as it should be.

It was virtually bullet-proof and not in a good way. I would not have been surprised if a .40 caliber round from my Sig Sauer bounced off. It was TOUGH. Undaunted, I tipped the pie upside into a small bowl out of the cupboard and proceeded to attack it from the bottom. The term ‘soft underbelly’ immediately came to mind. The bottom crust was a gooey mass of uncooked, gelatinous dough. In the end, I peeled off the dough, scraped the filling into another bowl, took one bite of the crunchy, armor plated top, and had dinner. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, I poured a glass of Chardonnay and started figuring out what I was going to do with the other pies in the freezer.