New Year’s Resolution One-Upmanship and a Recipe for Chicken Pie


In this column, Katherine Knowles divulges recipes you can make in your tiny New York City kitchen.

Two weekends into the new year, and my office is a flurry of clean-slate resolution zeal and activity. Gym memberships have been renewed. Gluten has been eschewed. Meditation has been espoused.

There’s Angelia, for example, who ran 15K up the Hudson and back. She’s not training for a marathon, or delivering a message that the British are coming or anything like that; she just wants to be fit and healthy.

Kathleen spends her lunch break reading for her new book group. Jen is doing some kind of Oprah-inspired meditation and aphorism challenge. Jess signed up for pottery and ceramics at a workspace in Greenpoint. Vigor and self-improvement are all around.

So far, my own New Year’s achievements include buying a vacuum cleaner to deal with the more persistent pine needles and setting up a new Pandora station (an Allegri Miserere/Lil Wayne intersect, in case you were wondering). Also, making a pie.

Pie is exactly what you want to be cooking on a cold day, in a cozy kitchen. The kind of dinner that feels like an event, albeit a supremely comforting one. And sometimes, we just need that. To feel achieving, even as we rebel against our good intentions, quit Pilates cold turkey, and hibernate.

Chicken and Leek Pie
Serves 4

4 leeks (about 2 pounds of leeks)
2 – 3 cups shredded cooked chicken (if you’re cooking the chicken from scratch that’s about 3 breasts, or 6 thighs)
1 box of chestnut mushrooms (cleaned and quartered)
1/2 cup white wine or vermouth
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper
1 packet puff pastry (either defrost overnight in the fridge, or on the kitchen counter for an hour or so)
1 egg whisked with a little water (egg-wash)

Clean the leeks carefully, slice, and sauté in a good knob of butter until soft and sweet (10-15 minutes) — season well.
Add the mushrooms, and the chicken, the wine, and the cream. Let this mixture bubble into a thick sauce for a few minutes, season, adjust, then pour into a pie dish.
Dibble the edges of the dish with egg-wash, roll the pastry to fit, and top the pie. Egg-wash the pastry and season well — especially with salt.
Cook at 375°F for 30–40 minutes (until the pastry is puffed and golden.)

Mix it up a little — add some bacon to the chicken. Add a handful of chestnuts along with the mushrooms. Add tarragon and garlic to the chicken stew.