Winter is a funny thing for me. Until I was seven, I lived in places like Connecticut, Philadelphia, and Washington State, where they have serious winter. I remember being so bundled up in snow clothes that it was hard to put my arms down at my sides. We slid down the hill on garbage-can lids, and ate freshly fallen slow as though it were Sno-Cones.
Then Dad got stationed in southern Spain, where winter means the temperature drops a few degrees and it rains for a couple weeks. Then San Diego, where basically, the same thing. And I left winter behind. In the last thirty years, I’ve seen snow a handful of times, and winter essentially means the rainy season, but it doesn’t feel like “real winter” because we can walk outside without heavy coats, and nothing is frozen except the food in the freezer.
I’m visiting my mom while she gets both knees replaced, and this weekend’s been a classic San Diego Winter Wonderland: Rain, wind, and more rain. The wind blew our rental car almost out of our lane on the Coronado Bridge, and last night, my nephew’s car hit a puddle on the freeway and hydroplaned across four lanes of traffic! (He’s fine, as is the driver of the truck he hit on the way back over the four-lane freeway. Oy.)
So it’s soup weather, and it’s pot pie weather. They are the same thing, no? I don’t have much time for cooking today, but I’m determined to make soup, so I’ll grab some meat out of my mom’s freezer, defrost it in the microwave, and throw it in a slow oven for a few hours to make soup for the family. While I’m out, I’ll also grab some frozen puff pastry so that tomorrow, if there’s leftover soup, we can have one of our favorite winter dishes, this lazy pot pie. Here’s one I did a while back with some leftover chicken soup:
I’m not sure when it became my habit to make pot pie out of leftover soup or stew. If it were my own mother making dinner, we’d just eat the soup again. For this one, I thickened the soup, added TVP because the chicken had been picked out (not mentioning any names, but it was the teenager), and plopped a square of store-bought puff pastry over the top. Talk about lazy! Sometimes I bother using pie crust and even maybe crimping the edges, but it’s no matter. The key is flaky crust and hot filling. The filling should be hot going in. Bake at 400°F until browned, over a tray to catch any drips from the hot liquid.
Mmmmm, winter is so delicious!