My mother was not a great cook but a practical one. Practicality was common back in the early '50s when I was a boy. Give her a holiday and she'd give you roast chicken or turkey, depending upon the number of guests at the holiday banquet. A day later she'd give you leftovers. There was never any waste.
One of her favourite solutions for dealing with holiday leftovers was chicken or turkey pie. And her not-so-secret ingredient was a Campbell's condensed cream of chicken soup. And so in memory of my dear, departed mother, my wife made Margaret-inspired chicken pie complete with Easter dinner leftovers. Even the pie crust was a leftover, made from the remnants of pastry used to make Sunday's lemon meringue pie.
The big difference between my wife's version and the '50s original is that Judy uses low fat condensed soup. Four cans have approximately 5 g of saturated fat and no trans fats at all. Judy tells me she puts two cans of cream of chicken into a pot, adds a cup each of carrots and peas, adds up to two cups of chicken chunks, sprinkles on some thyme and heats all with frequent stirring.
When thoroughly heated, Judy pours the mixture into a suitable pie plate. To keep the fat, and total calories in check, Judy does not line the pie plate with pastry. She uses one layer of pastry on top of the pie and that's it. It looks messy when served but still attractive.
The turnip served with the chicken pie was also leftover from Easter. The broccoli was bought for the holiday but not cooked. It still had nice crunch and its presence added freshness to an arguably faded entrée.
- 2 cans of Campbell's condensed, low-fat, cream of chicken soup
- 1 cup of frozen peas if leftovers are not handy
- 1 cup of diced, cooked, but not over cooked, carrots
- A sprinkle of thyme. If dried thyme is used, use sparringly. Fresh thyme is not so intense.
- And enough pastry for a top crust.