A meal for when you need a hug

This classic chicken pot pie is mild and comforting

Last week we took our little boy by the hand and walked him outside to the spot under the tree where, while he was still sleeping in the darkness of that early morning, we had buried our beloved cat.

I knelt beside him and explained that our kitty became suddenly very sick in the night and could not be saved, and that he had died. I watched his little lip quiver, and his eyes fill with tears, and I knew he understood that he would never see his fuzzy boy again.

The loss of a pet is often the first experience a child has with death, and I think he took it well… much better than I did. I had no warning or time to prepare, and I regret kicking him out of my son’s room that night because he was being too playful and keeping my son awake. I should have let them play.

Whenever I buy rotisserie chicken, I make stock with the remnants. Ed could always hear the meat being pulled off the bone and would saunter out from where he had been snoozing to wait at my feet for a treat. If I was taking too long, I would feel a paw on my leg and look down to see his big green eyes wide with anticipation, and he would let out a tiny meow. Most of the time I would make him wait until I was finished, but sometimes my son would hear the little mew and would ask for a few pieces to give him and giggled when Ed licked his fingers clean.

This week only one cat sat at my feet hoping for a treat as I cleaned the chicken to make stock. His littermate is much more polite and waits silently for hers. She won’t let my son near her most of the time, but maybe if I let him give her brother’s portion too, she might warm up to him someday.

This classic chicken pot pie is mild and comforting, perfect for when you need a hug, and right now I really do. I miss my kitten so much.

Classic chicken pot pie


2 cups shredded chicken

2 medium Yukon gold potatoes — small dice

1 small white onion — finely diced

½ cup frozen corn

1 cup frozen carrot/pea mix

2 stalks celery-small dice

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups chicken stock

½ cup heavy cream

Fresh poultry blend herbs — sage, rosemary, and thyme — finely chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

For the crust:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ sticks unsalted butter — cold and cubed

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon baking powder

½ – ¾ cup milk


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Saute the onion and celery in the butter until soft.

Add the flour and cook for two minutes.

Whisk in the stock then add the potatoes and chicken, bring to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes.

Turn the heat to low then add the fresh chopped herbs, heavy cream, and seasonings. Cook for another 5 minutes before turning off the heat.

Stir in the frozen vegetables and pour into your casserole dish.

Make the crust by sifting together the flour, salt, and baking powder.

Use your fingertips to pinch in the cubed butter — like you’re making biscuits.

Pour on ½ cup milk and stir to bring it together into a dough. Add a little more milk if needed.

Roll the dough out to fit the dish and lay on top of the filling. Press down gently.

Cut a few slits in the top for steam.

Cook for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.