Saturday, March 3, 2012

Cat Talk + Pot Pie

I made you chicken pot pie. But before we get into that, let's talk about Biscuit. The cat, not the food. 

It's been a rough couple of weeks for my cat-child. Biscuit had a vet checkup recently, and they said she would need to come back to have teeth extracted. Seems simple, but this is a big deal for a cat. They have to put the cat under  anesthesia, which for such a small little creature, is risky. Then, think about getting your wisdom teeth out. It's like that. When I had my wisdom teeth removed, the meds made me sick, so on top of the insanely painful holes in my mouth, I couldn't keep food down. I'm talking retching that ripped my stitches open. On Christmas morning. That was fun. Like me, Biscuit has a bit of weak stomach. At least I knew what was happening to me. You can't explain to an animal why you did that to them. Why you, as their sole provider, hurt them. 

I know she's a cat. Just a cat. But for you other pet-parents out there, you know what its like. I've had Biscuit for years. She was with me through some tough times, like a shattering breakup. She went with me when I moved out of my roommate apartment to live on my own. She really made that apartment a lot less lonely. And now she's a part of Evan and my little family. So, leading up to her big day, I was a mess.  

Taking her to the vet was almost more traumatizing than the actual appointment. It breaks my heart to shove her into a carrier. While she cries and meows, her eyes huge and terrified. I dropped her off and bolted out of there, afraid I would start bawling if I heard her pitiful little meow one more time. I'm a nutcase. Seriously, I can already tell that I'm going to be one of those lunatic moms that gets hysterical on the first day of kindergarten. I almost had a heart attack when the vet called to tell me how it went. It was good news though. Biscuit didn't need to have extractions after all. They did a thorough cleaning, which took care of the problem. She did get a fancy leg-shave for the anesthetic IV, but other than that, she's back to normal. Which means we can get back to normal. 

And there's nothing more normal than an old school, down-home, home cooked meal. Like chicken pot pie. With cornbread topping.

Chicken Pot Pie with Cheesy Cornbread Topping
Adapted from Oprah

Olive oil
2 chicken breasts, cubed
2 garlic cloves, minced
Fresh lemon juice
1.5 tablespoon olive oil
1.5 tablespoon butter
1 cup diced shitake mushrooms
1 medium onion , chopped
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup frozen peas
5 Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
3 chopped carrots
Handful chopped fresh parsley
Salt & pepper
Dash hot sauce

3/4 cup white or yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup milk
1 large egg
2 tablespoons oil
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 400. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish. 

Heat chicken stock, keep heated on burner. In a large sauce pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium, and add chicken. Once chicken starts to cook and turn white, add garlic. Cook for another minute or so, and add lemon juice. Cook through, salt and pepper to taste. Remove chicken from pan, and set aside. Heat olive oil and butter together. Add mushrooms and onion and saut√© until mushroom liquid evaporates, and onions are tender, about  5 minutes. Add flour and stir until blended. Slowly stir in heated chicken stock, whisking well. Cook until thick and bubbly, about 4 minutes. Stir in carrots, chicken, peas, brussels, parsley, and hot sauce. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour into prepared casserole dish. 

In a bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, combine milk, egg and oil. Stir wet mixture into dry, and stir in cheese. Spoon evenly over chicken filling. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 25 minutes.

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