Over the last month or so, I’ve seen a lot of bloggers post about Blue Apron. Seeing as how I’ve been struggling to find new things to cook (despite a thousand pins on Pinterest), and haven’t had much motivation to cook, I thought that maybe trying it out would give me a little shove in the right direction. So I did.
Let me say this right up front: I paid for my Blue Apron subscription. They have not approached me or provided me with any food or supplies. They don’t know me from Adam. I wanted to try them out and see if they were worth the hype AND I wanted some impetus to cook and try new things.
The first recipe I decided to try was the Chicken & Sage Biscuit Pot Pie. My “kit” for this meal included 2 chicken breast filets (vacuum sealed), veggies (mushrooms, turnip, red onion, carrots, celery, sage), buttermilk biscuit mix, and a bag of what Blue Apron calls “knick knacks” for the meal (usually spices or condiments) – which in this case was flour, chicken demi-glace, and heavy cream.
Except we already hit the first snag. In my box, which contained 3 meals, I got TWO of the knick knack bags for the beef lo mein and no knick knack bag for the chicken pot pie. Oops. Luckily I had milk and flour and I was able to recover with chicken stock in lieu of the demi-glace and water. More about that later.
The recipe was super easy to follow and came together quickly. I actually made this for lunch (while I was on a conference call, even) and had it ready in less than 45 mins, from beginning to end (including a 15 min baking time).
The results? It was good. Z thought there was too much biscuit topping and I thought there wasn’t enough “gravy” for the amount of topping, which I think are fair criticisms. We both thought the mushrooms were the overwhelming flavor, but only because the rest of the filling was somewhat bland.
From a recipe perspective, there are a few other things: The carrots and turnips were slightly undercooked by their timing. I increased the veggie cooking times based on my own judgement and knowledge. The recipe called for the addition of 1/2 cup of water to the biscuit mix, which wasn’t nearly enough to get a sticky, spoonable dough. I wound up adding almost a full cup. Also as I was mixing the dough I kept feeling what I thought were plasticy bits and I was worried I had missed something in the wrapping. I realized, however, that what I was seeing/feeling was some kind of freeze dried butter or shortening chips. That makes perfect sense, but it was somewhat disconcerting at first.
The recipe also made quite a bit. It says on the recipe card it makes 3 servings, but we easily got 5 out of it (and that’s with Z eating his “man sized” portions!).
So let’s wrap up a longish post and give my final judgement based on this first meal:
- All of the ingredients you need in the exact amounts you need them are included for each meal. There’s no buying a whole jar of something just to use 2 tsp of it, or having half a bunch of bok choy going limp in the vegetable drawer because you couldn’t use the whole thing.
- The recipe was clear and easy to follow and it all came together quickly, plus it gave me some ideas I wouldn’t have thought of before, like putting turnip in my pot pie!
- It made enough to feed a hungry boyfriend (and me) and still have leftovers for lunch the next day, which is something that’s important as I meal plan around having leftovers.
- Based on what I got in this box (I still have 2 other meals to cook) I feel that the price is quite reasonable. If all the meals provide leftovers like this, then this will be my cheapest grocery week all year!
- Missing the “knick knack” pack from this recipe could have been a show stopper for someone who isn’t comfortable working off-recipe or isn’t familiar with basic cooking technique. I was perfectly comfortable substituting ingredients (homemade chicken stock for demi-glace and water, milk for cream, etc), but some people aren’t.
- I found the cooking times for the veggies was a little short. The recipe called for 8 mins of cooking but the carrots and turnips were underdone at that point. I wound up cooking the veggies for a good 15 mins. Again, a judgement call based on knowledge that might be a problem for newer or uncertain cooks.
- The filling was bland and I suspect this is because Blue Apron is delivering meals/recipes to a wide variety of people and there are some people who don’t like strongly seasoned foods. This is another area where an inexperienced cook might not be able to adapt the recipe appropriately. A nice upgrade would be for Blue Apron to include some optional seasonings or some alternate recipe options for people who would like a more strongly flavored filling or who are more open to experimenting.
Overall I’m pleased with this first meal from my first box, despite the few cons above. I’ll be reviewing the other meals and boxes as I cook them, so if you’re interested, check back.
This week I’ll be remaking chicken pot pie with my own recipe which I’ll post here for comparison purposes!