Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Literary Recipe

This week I had the opportunity to interview the lovely Mameve Medwed about her wonderful new novel Of Men and Their Mothers. The novel is an extremely witty and deliciously funny exploration of the most perilous of all relationships – that of a woman and her mother-in-law.

Main character Maisie Grey’s in-laws, the Pollocks, made their fortune with a chicken pot pie empire. They make a variety of hilariously named pot pies including Chicken with Petit Pois, Chicken and Pasta Plus, Turkey Trot, Tamarind Curry Select, Irish Cabbage Stew, Drumstick Bangers and Mash, and the Ulster Fry.

During the interview Mameve told me that she collects fake food. (How can you not adore a woman who collects fake food???) For her last birthday, her sister had an artist make her a giant fake pot pie so realistic it looks good enough to eat. The pot pie is cut open and along with the peas and carrots, tiny copies of Mameve’s book ooze out.

After the interview she sent me a photo of the fake pot pie and I thought it was so funny I showed it to Tommy, my 12-year old son (who coincidentally shares the same name as Maisie Grey’s son in the book).

“It looks delicious,” he said. “Can we have that for dinner?”

The press packet Mameve’s publicist sent included a recipe for “Pollock’s Pot Pie with Petit Pois” inspired by the book, so just like that a plan for dinner was in place. I made my homemade pie crust instead of using Pillsbury’s and regretfully I didn’t have any leeks, so I substituted onions. And of course, I didn’t include any tiny books.

It was pretty darned delicious and a huge hit with the kids. So thank you, Mameve, for a humorous and moving novel that nourished my soul, and for a new recipe that nourished my family.

The Recipe:

Pollock’s Pot Pie with Petit Pois
Adapted by publicist Dee Dee De Bartlo
at William Morrow

3 tablespoons butter
1 cup diced carrots
2 leeks, sliced
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup frozen pearl onions
1 10 ounce package frozen baby peas
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Pillsbury pie crust

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter tin or glass pie plate and line with pastry. Transfer to refrigerator and chill.

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium high heat. Add diced carrots and leeks; sauté 5 minutes. Add broth and bouillon; bring to boil. Add chicken. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until chicken is just cooked through, about 12 minutes.

While chicken is cooking, bake pie crust for about 10 minutes or until slightly golden.

Remove chicken from saucepan. Increase heat to medium; boil mixture until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 15 minutes. Add cream and return to boil. Add frozen onions; cover and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Cut chicken into bite size chunks and add to the pan. Mix in peas. Season with salt, pepper and parsley.

Pour mixture into baking dish. Top with pastry; press overhang to sides of dish. Bake until golden, about 35 minutes.

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