This past Sunday, when New York felt like it was 9 billion degrees outside, Chrissy Teigen, baby Luna and her husband Mr. Chrissy Teigen/John Legend, were apparently too coddled in air conditioned bliss to acknowledge the heatwave, and stayed inside cooking up a very summer-friendly recipe: Chicken Pot Pie Soup With Crust Crackers.
The creation of the very August-appropriate dish, straight out of Teigen's bestselling Cravings was captured on Snapchat by Teigen herself, the ultimate humblebrag of having central A/C while the rest of the city was sobbing in the oppressive heat and maintaining a steady diet of ice and popsicles.
Unlike the Teigen-Legend household, my apartment has a mere two window units, zero cute babies and an equal number of Grammy awards. However, I decided to brave both the oven and the stove to see if maybe this liquid pot pie was the secret elixir to surviving a heatwave. Or perhaps to feeling so rich that baking in 90-degree weather was no biggie. (Spoiler: It was).
Realization #1: Teigen likes butter.
Pot Pie Soup With Crust Crackers (Page 51-52) of Cravings served 10-12 people, another humblebrag for the Teigen-Legends to show off how many friends they have. The ingredients — two boxes of organic chicken broth, whole milk, four sticks of butter, garlic, flour, a potato, diced carrots, frozen peas, deli ham, heavy cream and a rotisserie chicken — cost $43, which is kind of a lot for soup, if you ask me, on Freshdirect, delivered right to my door, because just like Queen Teigen, I was not going out into the New York City summer streets.
In Cravings, Teigen's Chicken Pot Pie Soup With Crust Crackers recipe calls for twice as much dough as you need, suggesting that you freeze half to use later. Because my freezer is full of ice cream like a normal human during the summer, I decided to make half of the crust recipe i.e. the actual amount of dough you need.
Realization #2: Teigen Culinary School is rather unconventional.
The recipe instructions were slightly bizarre.
Step one: Chop butter. Put back in fridge to cool. Step two: Blend unsalted butter with salt. Maybe this makes sense for some very complicated Cronut concoction, but wouldn't salted butter really be okay for a recipe that calls for thinly sliced deli ham, pre-roasted chicken and frozen peas? I defied the supermodel's instructions and just blended the butter, flour and water to make dough, because come on.
Step three: Form the dough into a "disc" and put in fridge to cool. Pot Pie Soup With Crust Crackers is actually shaping up to be pretty great summer recipe because of all the bonus head-in-fridge time.
Realization #3: Perfection is the enemy.
Teigen's Snapchat showed her calling out "You got this" to Legend while he rolled out the crust, so I already expected it to be hard. It was actually not that bad after the butter softened a bit. Legend is probably just a dough wimp. As Teigen writes in her instructions "it doesn't have to be perfect." It wasn't.
And then came the scary part: Preheating the oven to 375 degrees, which I did, for the sake of journalism. As soon as my entire kitchen increased in temperature by 375 degrees, I realized that I didn't have the parchment paper not mentioned in the recipe until I turned the page of the cookbook. Maybe I should have read ahead but also maybe I was melting in my kitchen before even switching on hot appliances. So. I ran to my nearest bodega, which didn't have parchment paper or A/C and grabbed a roll of Durable Wax Paper Great For Microwave Ovens (truly its name), which seemed like it would suffice, despite the fact that the Teigen-Legends probably would never use such a shoddy off-brand baking product at home.
I punched the requisite holes in rolled out dough and shoved it in the oven for half an hour.
Though Teigen advertises Pot Pie Soup With Crust Crackers as having a 30-minute prep time, this is wholly inaccurate. I spent the entirety of Barack Obama's summer playlist peeling and chopping carrots, dicing the potato, despite the recipe's suggestion, I left the skin on because we all know that's the healthiest part, and de-skinning and pulling apart three cups of rotisserie chicken. For the record, that's about half a chicken, which would be a much more helpful measurement.
I then mixed the milk and low sodium organic chicken broth in a saucepan, while simmering two more sticks of butter and some chopped garlic in a soup pot. To tally: That's one oven, two burners and zero A/C units on in my kitchen.
By now, the cracker is done baking. It looks pretty good, not great.
I let the giant cracker cool until it's ready to be broken into pieces and resumed standing over the steamy pot, which needed my stirring attention as the soup thickened. I mixed in the chopped vegetables and frozen peas with the thinly sliced deli ham, which I cubed because that seemed like the right thing to do, even though the recipe didn't tell me what to do with it, and the requisite amount of salt, pepper, and sweat, to taste. I skipped the frozen pearl onions, because gross.
Realization #4: Making soup in August in New York City is as bad as it sounds.
The soup needs 20 minutes to simmer, during which time I cool off by splaying my butter and flour coated body on the A/C in my living room, dreading the moment when I have to enter Chicken Pot Pie Soup With Crust Crackers territory again.
The timer rings, signaling that it's time to stir in the shredded chicken and cream, more salt, pepper, sweat and a little self-loathing, and wait five more minutes until I can ladle the steaming, creamy soup into a bowl. Exactly what I wanted to snack on on an obscenely humid August afternoon.
The recipe yielded enough to feed the entire staff at the power plant servicing Teigen's A/C. Thanks to all the no-sodium everything, the soup definitely needs more salt. The cracker is nice and crumbly and kind of tastes like pie crust, but was certainly not worth using my oven for.
Because I didn't have an entourage (cough, cough Teigen-Legend family) to eat the ridiculous quantity of soup and none of my friends took me up on the invitation to try it, I froze the leftovers for winter and bookmarked the next Cravings recipe, Split Pea Soup With Crispy Hot Dogs and Hot Dog Bun Croutons for a colder time.
Final thoughts: Just because a supermodel makes soup on the hottest days of summer doesn't mean that you should. Actually, you probably shouldn't. It is a terrible idea. But if Cravings is calling your name this August, may I suggest the Dump and Done Ramen Salad?