The last potpie
As daughter heads off to college, a mother makes a favorite recipe, imbued with memories, love
Off to school: I had been feeding these girls for years, and I would badly miss them. It saddened me to see this way of eating, and being, disappearing. (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune)
I peeled the carrots and tried to cut them into same-size small chunks all the while having a brief internal debate about whether I could have grown these myself, but then I remembered that my kids and I tried that one summer and only harvested one bunch of thumb-sized carrots.
I found a can of cannellini beans and rinsed off the thick soupy liquid they'd been sitting in.
When the potpie was done, it was served hot, with a loaf of crusty Italian bread for dipping. The rich creamy sauce with hints of nutmeg and freshly cut herbs made the bread's flavor blossom.
Potpie had staying power. Wonderful smells filled the kitchen, and it stood alone on the counter, its beauty not threatened by bags of chips that looked like dorm food.
Then I waited for things to get better.
Prep: 45 minutes Cook: 3 hours Servings: 6
Broth and chicken:
1 broiler-fryer chicken, 2 1/2 to 3 pounds
1 rib celery, with leaves
1 medium carrot, quartered
½ parsnip, cut in chunks
¾ cup coarsely chopped onion
1 bouquet garni of 1 bay leaf, 3 teaspoons fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried), 3 whole peppercorns and 6 parsley sprigs tied in cheesecloth
1 teaspoon salt
½ pound frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed according to package directions
2 potatoes, peeled, cut in small chunks
1 carrot, peeled, sliced