Lumberjack Pot Pie

Both my great grandmother Edith and grandmother Olive were cooks at a lumber camp in Dead River Plantation and Big Island, Maine in the late 1800’s.  Back when the rugged lumber jacks felled trees with axe and various hand saws and used oxen/work horses to haul the timber. After I came up with recipe, I thought “hmmm this is something my Grammies might have cooked for those rugged lumber jacks if they had my recipe!” Thus, I decided to name my version of this classic dish based on the hearty meals my great grandmother Edith and grandmother Olive would have cooked for the rugged lumberjacks “Lumber Jack Pot Pie.”

Chicken Pot Pie was a very common winter meal for our family growing up. There are many variations of this classic dish but I’m a tad twisted in the head and this is my recipe. I made this up while driving back from Georgetown, Maine, while shopping, and while cooking. I kidd you not.  I went with the flow and made decisions while cooking.  I think my Grammies will be proud!!

Oven temp: 400 degrees F
Cook time: 20 minutes, more or less
Prep time: Not long at all

7 boneless chicken strips – cubed
5 Medium size red potatoes (I don’t peel) – cubed
3 large carrots – cubed(ish)
1 nerf football sized rutabaga – cubed
1 large red onion – cut into chunks
1 small package mushrooms – chunks
1 box low sodium chicken broth
2 packages of generic chicken gravy mix
1 box of Biscuit mix or make your own
1 box of chicken stuffing
Olive oil
Celery salt
Onion powder
Hot sauce
Old Bay seasoning

400 degree oven – 20 minutes

1. Prepare chicken stuffing according to box. I substitute 1 cup of water with chicken broth and I use an additional 1/2 cup water. Let it be in the covered pot.

2. In a large skillet add 1 cup chicken broth and 1 cup of water with a couple of good shakes of olive oil. Put on Medium heat.

3. Start dicing. I do veggies in this order: onions, potatoes, carrots, rutabaga, and mushrooms. I add each veggie to skillet as I chop and I also stir up as I add. Use any veggies you like.

4. Cover for 1 minute or till potatoes are almost done. Don’t want veggies soft. Let them have a crunch as they will still be cooking.

5. Cube the chicken and add and cover for one minute. This would be great with venison, moose, rabbit, beef, pork, turkey, etc…

6. Now I give a lite shake of thyme, rosemary, onion powder, and celery salt. I give a hefty shake of cinnamon, Old Bay seasoning, and hot sauce. Mix well but do this gently. Like you are singing a lullaby with the spoon and veggies. Soft and calm. Use any spices you want. You notice I did not use table salt or black pepper.

8. Drain your skillet liquid into a large pot. You are making your gravy in this pot and adding the veggies back in.

9. Mix the gravy up in cold water. Follow package directions. I prefer thinner gravy and I add about a 1/2 cup more water then called for. So, so, so, you should have about 1 1/2 cups of hot veggie liquid left. Mix both packages of gravy mix in 1/2 cup cold water and then add to hot liquid. I add another 1/2 cup of cold water. For thinner gravy, you need 2 1/2 cups of liquid. Bring to a boil and then add veggies. Now turn to low heat and simmer while you make the biscuits. Is this confusing? Do what you friggin’ want to with making gravy!!

10. You should have preheated your oven.

11. Make biscuits however you want. You can be a ‘biscuit bitch’ or a ‘biscuit queen’. I prefer being a ‘Biscuit Queen’ and I used a box mix. Oh freakin’ well.

12. Gently pour the veggie gravy mix into a large Dutch oven. With your hands, crumble the stuffing on top of the veggies and with hands form biscuits into irregular shapes and lay on top of stuffing. Use your noggin and do not make this difficult.

13. At this stage, you should have been putting a ton of love into your cooking. If not, start over. Otherwise, you will have a mess. Cooking is all about love.

14. I prefer a more crunchy biscuit topping so I cooked my twisted dish for 20 minutes. I had nice golden brown biscuits with a few dark peaks. Cooking time is your preference. Ask yourself “what do I want my biscuits to look like?” All you are doing is cooking the biscuit at this stage. Remember, everything under the biscuits is cooked and scrumptious!!

15. What a wicked twisted winter meal!!! You will be surprised as to how the cinnamon lifts this dish. So much yummy in your tummy.

Bon Appétit xoxo

Drew Frederic

Published by Drew Frederic

Photographer, Artist, Poet, Chef, and Photojournalist.

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