Making baby food purees is a really fun phase of having a new baby. Whether you start them at 4 months or 6 months, you have about 3-6 months of making purees out of just about everything. Over the past few months, I’ve pureed coconut curry soup, chicken fricassee, beef ragu – you name it. I’d tote along little containers of food when we’d go out to restaurants and even had a waitress warm one up in the microwave, once. (It was on the road, the restaurant was dead, we were her only table.) As much of an adventure as this was, I will admit that I’m excited that Olive can now pretty much eat what we eat, only chopped up a little smaller. So, when we go out to a restaurant, we can order her a couple of side dishes and she’s happy!
However, I don’t want to start her out on the ugly road of “kid food” and “kids’ menus.” Sure, they might be nice, smaller portions, but I bet none of us would have to try very hard to name at least five items on any kid’s menu at any restaurant in America. 1. Grilled Cheese 2. Hot Dogs 3. Pizza (cheese or pepperoni only) 4. Chicken nuggets with fries 5. Macaroni and Cheese.
Do you see a horrible trend? Where on earth are the vegetables and why on earth do we pick the worst foods with the poorest nutritional value and label them as “kid friendly” choices and then give them to little, growing bodies? This trend isn’t likely to improve any time soon, so in the meantime, I want to suggest a different kind of “kid friendly” choice.
We were at Jason’s Deli a couple weeks ago and noticed that their kids’ menu is exactly the same, only with “organic” thrown into the mix and “whole wheat” to disguise the literally 100% meat, cheese and bread menu. So we ordered her a chicken pot pie soup and she absolutely loved it. I also noticed that she didn’t have any problem at all eating the whole peas, where as at home, she began refusing pea puree. I had a side of tomato basil soup and she loved that, too. I will state right now before everyone chimes in, that I realize these soups are probably high in sodium. Most soups are. But let’s look back at the alternative kids’ choices for a minute…
I came home from Jason’s that night with a new thought for what to cook for Olive. Grown up soups that I don’t have to puree! I naturally looked through the cookbook I’ve been addicted to lately, the Bonne Femme Cookbook, and found a wonderful sounding Poulet Pot Pie. The lovely author herself, Wini Moranville, commented on my post last week that I should try it (leaving out the cognac, of course, although I will be trying the grown-up version very soon.) I absolutely loved the flavors in this recipe – the fresh tarragon and leeks were my favorite part, and Olive happily eats it without slowing down! This is much less “soupy” than what you might be used to, but I think for a baby in the “I have a few teeth, now” phase, I think it’s perfect. You could also improvise with adding in other, small-dice sized vegetables of your choice.
Poulet Pot Pie – for the whole family
- 1 sheet puff pastry
- 2 cups cubed rotisserie chicken
- 4 medium-sized carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2″ dice
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 medium-size leeks, halved lengthwise, rinsed, and thinly sliced crosswise (white and pale green parts only) about 2 cups
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped (about 1/3 cup. Everything is bigger in Texas, I found. Our “small” onions are probably France’s “ginormous” onions, so just measure out 1/3 of a cup and put the other 2/3 cup in a plastic bag. I did exactly that, with exactly those measurements. And it was the smallest onion I could find)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced (if you don’t own a Microplane, you really should get one for anything minced. I use mine constantly for cheese, ginger, garlic, etc.)
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup 2% or whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, or 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon, crushed and 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
- Fresh ground black pepper and kosher salt, to taste
Thaw puff pastry according to package directions, set aside.
Place cubed up chicken in a large mixing bowl.
Preheat the oven to 400F
Bring a 2 quart saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the carrots, bring back to a boil and cook for 3 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water and drain again. Add to the chicken in the bowl.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and onion and cook, stirring, until the onion is tender, but not brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds more. Stir in the flour, making sure all of the flour is moistened by the butter in the pan. Cook and stir for 1 minutes. Do not allow the flour mixture to brown. Whisk in the chicken broth and milk. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly; cook and stir 1 minute more. Stir in the cream. Stir in the chicken and carrots, the tarragon, and salt and pepper. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.
You would then transfer the entire thing to a 2-quart casserole at this point, but I used little 4 oz ramekins and had enough leftover after filling up 6 ramekins to fill a large souffle dish for Matt and I to split.
Look at all the pretty colors!
I used a large cookie cutter and cut out the puff pastry and placed it over the ramekins and sprayed the tops with olive oil cooking spray. I put plastic wrap and then tin foil over the tops and froze 4 and then put two in the fridge. To cook, I simply let the dish come to room temp from the fridge and baked at 400 until the puff pastry was nicely browned and the insides were bubbling, about 20 minutes.
Enjoy exploring new soups for the family and for your new, little eaters! If you want to check out my Pinterest Baby Food board for more ideas, you’ll find it’s just mostly good-looking soups Remember: there’s no such thing as kid food! It’s all food and it’s all good for everyone!