David Cross & “Chicken Pot…Chicken Pot…Chicken Pot Pie!”
Okay, so I know Just Shoot Me can’t really be considered a television classic (even though it had George Segal, Wendie Malick, David Spade and Kit from Pretty Woman… pretty classic to me), but I know you remember this food moment. Well, some of you. It’s quite the strange phenomenon, but despite my knowing about 11 people total who ever watched Just Shoot Me, I’m come across hundreds who recall hearing guest-star David Cross sing, “Chicken pot chicken pot chicken pot pieee” when pretending to be Elliot’s mentally disabled brother. Maybe it’s because it was David Cross, who can pretty much talk about anything from jorts to reproductive freedom and make it hilarious and memorable. Maybe it’s because chicken pot pie is delicious. Maybe it’s because of the mellifluous musicality of the lovely little ditty. Can’t you just listen to it over and over?
With just this bit of ridiculousness, Cross successfully redeemed an extremely uncomfortable episode of the show. (His character had faked a head injury and a resulting fake developmental disability, in order to make his family wait on him. For years. I know. He needs an analrapist.) It’s pretty terrible, but man, David Cross made it funny, in part due to his professed desire for chicken pot pie. And who could blame him? Like I said, chicken pot pie is delicious . . . especially when no dead animals are in it! And when you make tiny individual pies like we are going to!
VEGAN CHICKEN POT PIE
– We’re going to make individual pies! Wait till you see how!
– Filling can be made gluten-free
FIRST, MAKE YOUR PIE CRUST:
Tip: Make the dough earlier in the day, or the day before, so it can set in the fridge without causing you distress.
- 2C whole wheat flour
- 1t baking powder
- 1t salt
- 3/4C vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
- 1/2C cold water
- Mix your dry ingredients in a bowl.
- Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, or just use your fingers. Mix it through until the dough is pebbly.
- Add the water and mix into a ball. Knead about 10 times.
- Flatten the dough ball into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap (or as we call it in London, cling film (my favorite Britishism)) and place in the fridge for an hour.
- Thaw for about 45 minutes before you want to use it.
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Roll out the dough about 1 centimeter thick.
- HERE’S THE AWESOME PART: Get a muffin pan, turn it upside down, spray it with nonstick oil spray, and mold the dough around the cups. See below.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown.
NEXT, MAKE THE FILLING:
- 1 medium onion, diced small
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2T olive oil
- 2t dried thyme
- 1t dried sage
- 3 bay leaves
- 2t salt
- 2 cups carrots, diced
- 1C frozen peas
- 1 ½ C small potatoes, diced
- 3 1/2C vegetable stock (or a mix of stock and water, it’s ok)
- 1/2C flour (*I used chickpea flour for extra protein (and it makes the filling gluten-free), but any regular flour will work)
- 1 1/2C shredded crispy tofu (*see below) (can use chickpeas instead, or your choice of ready-made faux-meat)
- 3T soy sauce
- 3T nooch (optional)
- 3/4C cashew cream
*For the tofu: I don’t want to say how long I’ve been cooking tofu, because I’ve just learned to cook it properly now. I know. The key is, you must use the firmest available tofu, and you must press it to get all possible water out. I never bothered pressing it before, and I’d end up with a tofu scramble even when I wasn’t scrambling. To press your tofu, wrap the block in paper towels (or a dish towel, but I fear the little hairy threads sticking to my food), lay it on a baking sheet, grill pan, or some kind of flat plate, then cover with another plate/pan/sheet, then put a craptonne of random heavy stuff on top. A lot of people like to use heavy books, because they are sturdy and provide a uniform weight shape. However, on top of my grill pan I placed my heaviest stock pot, and put my gigantic blender in the stock pot, playing a veritable game of kitchen jenga. Danger’s my middle name.
- ½ pound extra-firm tofu (high-protein if you can find it, tends to have less water), pressed for at least an hour
Directions: Cut into triangles about 1/4 –inch thick. Heat a cast iron pan (nonstick will work too) over medium high heat, and dry-fry the tofu until golden on both sides (about 7 minutes each side).
- In a big pot, saute the onion in the olive oil over medium heat for about 7 minutes.
- Add the garlic, and saute for another 2 minutes.
- Add your thyme, sage, bay leaves, and salt, and stir through for about a minute.
- Add your stock/water and veggies (carrots, peas, potatoes, and whatever else you fancy) and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover the pot and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook until the veggies are soft, about 15 minutes.
- Mix the soy sauce and nooch in, then stir in the tofu.
- Add the flour and mix through. Let the mixture bubble for a few minutes so it all thickens properly.
- Lastly, stir in the cashew cream. The mixture should be thick by now, but let it cook for another few minutes. Taste for salt and pepper.
- Once your pie cups are cooled, each eater can take one and ladle the filling into it, around it, near it, howsoever they choose.
Would you consider “Just Shoot Me” a television classic? Was this a thinly veiled excuse to make delicious, comforting pot pie? Does it matter? Go make it!