Don’t Mess with Your Ju-Ju

So, housewives of a certain age usually get laughed at because they have that one fonky old stained pot that they claim is the only pot they can cook sauce in, or chili in or whathaveyou. This pot was probably passed down from a mother or grandmother or aunt and it may very well be the only pot they have ever made sauce, chili or whathaveyou in. Do not laugh at them (unless of course the chili is always bad) in that pot or that pan is their ju ju. And don’t mess with a cook’s ju ju!

Back when Ryan was a long haired freshmen at LSU he was a fan of The Smiths and consequently believed that meat was murder. It was during this freshmen year that I found a recipe for vegetarian pot pie. It’s a really good pot pie and I always make the filling in a skillet even though the recipe calls for a sauce pan.  The truth behind this is that, at the time I didn’t know a sauce pan wasn’t a skillet, but that’s another story.

For some un-known reason, last night I used a sauce pan like the recipe called for. And that one decision, grabbing a pot instead of a skillet cost me my ju ju. First you melt butter and saute 6 cups of vegetables. After 5 mins of cooking add one clove of garlic and continue cooking 5 mins. Then sprinkle about 1/4 of cup of flour on top and stir in until veggies are good and tender. This is like making a roux piece by piece. It is at this point that the filling should really start to thicken up, it almost becomes a veggie dough ball. Once they are all tender, add 3 cups of warm broth and cook for about 10 mins. Stir in seasonings (pepper, soy sauce, parsley) and pour into a prepared pie crust, covering with another pie crust. That’s all well and good, but when I cooked the filling in the sauce pan, it never thickened up. I added more flour, cooked it higher and longer, no go.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m no good under pressure. I went to pour the

Too Runny Filling

filling in the pie shell, and it became obvious the mixture was too runny and it would not all fit in the shell. Rather than using logic and telling my hands- stop, it won’t all fit, my brain told my hands- it won’t all fit, keep pouring to prove me right. Overflowed my pot pie 😦 After I sopped up the counter and dried the edges of the dish, I put it in the oven.

I prefer to make the pie shells from scratch. I know it is easier to buy the pre-made shells, and it does save a good 30-45 mins, but home made crusts make such a difference in the final result. It is a small labor of love I know my husband appreciates and  it is a small way to eat less preservatives. My pie shell recipe is 6 tablespoons of butter, 1 1/2 cup of flour and 3-4 tablespoons of water or milk. You cut in the butter one tablespoon at a time. The flour should resemble coarse cornmeal (is there any other kind of cornmeal besides coarse?). Then, add the liquid of choice one tablespoon at a time until it forms a dough ball. Cut the ball in half and you will be able to roll out two 12″ crusts. Between the pastry knife and the rolling pin, it is a quite the upper body work out.

In the end, it turned out ok. That is to say, Ryan ate it and went back for thirds after finishing the little bit left on my plate. But I have learned a lesson, and don’t think I haven’t, when you have a method of making something, don’t mess with your ju ju.This pot pie is good, even when it comes out wrong. It does lack meat, but the flour and broth thicken it up such that it is just as filling and the vegetables make it far more re-freshing. With a homemade, flaky crust it is a win every time.

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One thought on “Don’t Mess with Your Ju-Ju

  1. Cheryle

    Just a little tip if you are having trouble getting a sauce to thicken, try taking a little cornstarch (1 or 2 tablespoons) and mix with a little cold (be sure it’s cold) water in a cup. Once disolved, add to your sauce. Don’t ever add cornstarch directly into hot liquid or you will get these little balls that you can’t disolve (voice of experience talking). Of course, you could just use the ju ju pan too 🙂

    I just love reading these posts. Makes me so glad that Ryan married someone who puts so much love into feeding him. I mean, homemade pie crust! I’m jealous.

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