Thursday, September 22, 2011

The $5 Challenge

When I entered the $5 Challenge sponsored by Slow Food USA, I cheated.

Everything I used in my chicken pot pie dinner for four was a leftover except for the Star Dough crust.

The crust itself costs $10 a package, so you'd think I was already over the limit, but the chicken pot pie I made used only one of the two crusts in the package and served four people amply. The rest of the ingredients were organic and "free," in that they had already fed four house guests.

The contents of the pie were chicken picked from the carcass that had fed four - about 1-1/2 cups of meat; a handful of frozen peas, four small leftover roasted potatoes, about a quarter cup of barbouille from a previous meal; four small red onions, quartered and sautéed until soft; and about a cup of sauce made with one tablespoon of butter, one tablespoon of flour and about one cup of organic chicken broth. I wouldn't even count the cost of the broth if I had had my own homemade on hand - it would have been "free," too, since it would have been made from the remains of a previous meal.

Even with the cost of the crust - I figure about $1.25 per person - the rest of the ingredients wouldn't even add up to $5.00 per person if I had purchased them expressly for this meal.

Was it good? Oh, my, yes! My Beloved wanted seconds before he even finished his firsts. My memories of chicken pot pie at school had left me lukewarm about making this dish, but the result was really delicious in a wonderfully homey sort of way. It was nothing like the heavy, floury stuff of the lunchroom cafeteria. The chicken broth in the sauce enhanced the chicken flavor and Star Dough crust is always a winner.

I had frozen this earlier in the week with the idea of serving it on the challenge day; it froze beautifully, thawed all afternoon on my counter and took only 30 minutes in a 400 degree oven to emerge bubbling and fragrant.

So, you might call this cheating, but we all won.

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