This being a blog about nature (and, okay, cats), I don’t often post about cooking, the third of my true loves, along with writing and nature (and, okay, again, cats.) But cooking, I love. And cooking, I do. 

I’m a cook by instinct rather than training. When I get the principles, I can usually wing-it toward a successful–or even experimental–conclusion. Such was the case the other day with a primo comfort food: Chicken pie.

Chicken. Broiled, not boiled. A deeper flavor that way. Carrots. Celery. A touch of green pepper. Garlic. Peas. Leeks, not white onion. A little red onion. And potatoes. Oops. Potatoes.

I’d forgotten them on the counter as I collected up my groceries for the trip to the river. I love potatoes. But I was committed to the dish. What to substitute? Ahhhh, rice! Rice boiled in the water in which I’d softened the carrots. Mixed in with the pulled chicken and sauteed other vegs. Deglazed with a little white wine. Sauced with a veloute/bechamel combo, scented with my go-to add-ins of tarragon, salt, pepper, marjoram, nutmeg and a tiny pinch of cayenne.

Yo. A revelation. So tasty-good that I eked it out as leftovers for as long as I could. A real challenger to my beloved taters. And something I’ll definitely make again. And, as my dear friend Belinda reminds me that I say all the time, “The End.”