On staying home with coronavirus

I’ve made a few expeditions for groceries in the past week. Yesterday, I actually walked to the store. Our house is located in a great spot, about a 10-15 minute walk to one shopping area. About a 20 minute walk to the supermarket, another 5 minutes to our famous pedestrian mall, now empty – restaurants, shops, and theaters closed. No, the shelves of paper goods were totally bare, deliveries expected in the afternoon. I did pick up a few items for the dinner I’d planned.

I decided to excavate the pantry and freezer to also unearth some oldie but goodie recipes during the week. I had nice spring asparagus so early in the week, I made my chicken primavera. Daughter really enjoyed this dish. Aldi had a special on corned beef, so that made another evening’s meal with cabbage and potato, what else (actually a new dish for me).

Last night I thought I’d prepare my old, old recipe for chicken pot pie with cornmeal cheese biscuits. It’s from Family Circle or some such magazine. Constant Companion’s sensitivity to dairy seems to be alleviating, so I could do the biscuits. To accompany it, I wanted to finally make use of a lonely can of ackee in the back of the pantry. I have never forgotten a recipe for ackee soufflé that I saw in the Daily Gleaner years ago while living in Jamaica.

The chicken pot pie. I used four bone-in* thighs and legs. Put them into a large skillet with chopped celery, chopped onion, a chicken bouillon cube, pepper, and 2 cups of water. Carrot is also recommended, but I tend not to eat carrots, none in the house. Bring this to a boil, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain the broth and save the vegetables.

Step one

*The recipe recommended boning the chicken; I leave it on the bone, imparts more flavor.

Next, melt ½ a stick of margarine in the same skillet, blend/whisk in ¼ cup of flour until smooth.

nice and smooth

Add the broth and stirring cook over medium heat til the sauce thickens. Add 9 oz. of frozen peas, bring to boil. Add salt & pepper to taste. Add the chicken and vegetables. Top with the Cornmeal Cheese biscuits. Bake in a hot over (475 fahrenheit) for 15 minutes. Enjoy!

During first step (when the chicken’s cooking), prepare the biscuits. Heat ¼ cup of milk in a saucepan, do not boil. Stir in ½ cup of cornmeal; cool. Sift together 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 3 tsp. baking powder, and ¼ tsp. salt. Cut in 3 tbsp. margarine (I use a knife, don’t have a pastry blender), until crumbly. Stir in ½ cup of shredded cheddar cheese then add the mil-cornmeal mixture.

Turn out on a floured surface and mix till smooth. Pat into a circle a bit small than the skillet. Cut into wedges …

Next the ackee soufflé. First, what is ackee? The national fruit of Jamaica. It’s a tree that was brought to the Western Hemisphere from Africa. Interestingly, it’s related to lychee and longan. But unless harvested at the correct time, it is poisonous. The most common use of it is cooked with salt fish, the national dish of Jamaica.

I used a can of ackee (only one cup), drained of the brine and crushed. Melt 2 tbsp. of margarine in a saucepan, add 3 tbsp. flour, ½ tsp. salt, ¼ white pepper* and cook til it browns. Add 1/2 cup of milk, stir constantly til it thickens and is smooth. Remove from heat and cool. Add 3 egg yolks, beat thoroughly. Add ackees. (I did not add the 1 tsp. of ketchup, another food I don’t eat). Whisk 3 egg whites until stiff, not dry. Fold into ackee mixture.Pour into un-greased soufflé dish or deep ovenproof dish. Bake in pre-heated oven at 350 F until firm, about 20 minutes.

It did not raise very high,
but it was nice and light

*White pepper is great if you don’t want the black dots of black pepper to show in your dish.

Constant Companion and Daughter really enjoyed this meal – what a compliment to the chef!

Souffle & pot pie

The ackee is used was Linstead Market brand. Enjoy this version of the famous folk song, the first I learned when I lived in Jamaica. This is by Miss Lou, famous for preserving Jamaica’s heritage – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICstpeu4Oes.

And, foremost, keep you and yours safe.


  1. All sounds delicious, Annette – and I love ackee and saltfish, which I also ate in Jamaica a few years ago. Stay safe and well. We are OK for now here in Canberra, Australia, but things are shutting down and we are observing social distancing. All the best, Ros


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