Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Pear Jam Leads to Chicken Liver Pot Pie

The giant pear tree at our little farm is overloaded with pears.  There are hundreds, if not thousands, of pears on the tree, and most are so high that I'm not sure how a person would get their hands on them.   It only took me moments to fill a large pail from the lower branches.  Unfortunately, I picked the pears weeks ago and they are still in the pail on my front porch.  

One of the reasons I haven't taken the time to use up the pears from the farm, is because Jamie and I filled a five gallon bucket with pears from my two little trees in my yard.  So many pears!  

I used about a third of the pears to make jam.  Turns out that my handy dandy hand cranked apple peeler, corer, slicer machine works great for pears too, and I filled a pot with neat pear slices.  

The chickens have been loving the compost ever since.  They use their feet to move the pear cores and long strands of pear peelings into interesting compost still lives.  Chickens are artists.  

In years past, I've used regular pectin and the recipes call for more sugar than fruit.  When I started buying sugar in ten pound bags, I began to question the wisdom of feeding this to people, even as a holiday gift.  But, this year I've been experimenting with a different type of pectin that used calcium water to set up instead of sugar.  My first batch of pear jam has about a quarter of the sugar of my old recipe.  It's a good thing I have so many pears because without all the sugar the jam doesn't go as far, which means I need more fruit, and have to work harder to process it.  Less sugar and burns more calories!   

How does pear jam lead to chicken liver pot pies?  Well, because I have limited storage space I was struggling to fit all the jars of jam on my "jam shelf".  I was knocking things around and being generally irritated with the disorganized condition of the shelves when I realized that a big box was taking up too much room.  The box was an unopened Christmas gift from my brother in law containing a mini pie maker machine.  I pulled it out and brought it to the kitchen and was in mid thought about where to put it, or if I should keep it, when I joked to Jamie that we should make mini pies for dinner.  Then, still joking, I said we could make chicken liver pie since I have a giant bag of chicken liver that needs to be used up.  We laughed, and then I seriously considered the idea.  Why not make chicken liver pot pies?   

Now I know why I don't make pot pies -too much work!  I steamed the potatoes and carrots, thawed out the peas, cooked the liver on the stove top, picked rosemary from the garden, diced everything up, made the gravy with home made chicken stock, then mixed and rolled out pie dough and cut it into little circles for the mini pies.   The kitchen was a disaster by the time I was finished.  But, even though we had to use some whole wheat pastry flour because that's all I had, the pies were quite good.  I think I like chicken liver, which is a surprise to me since I didn't like it when I was a kid.  Jamie and Brandon liked it too, so it's not just me, chicken liver pot pie is tasty!  Even tastier were the pie's filled with pear jam that I made for dessert.  The pie maker may get to stay on the shelf after all.  

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