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From lumpy gravy to burned pie crust, how to fix major food fails

"Top Chef" judge Gail Simmons to the rescue to help save your food malfunctions.
/ Source: TODAY

Just imagine you've got a table full of hungry humans, clamoring for that apple pie that's been baking in the oven. Or perhaps, there's a gravy buff in the group, just waiting for that savory sauce.

And suddenly you realize that, despite your best efforts, some of your dishes have come out, well, not as you intended. Do you cut your losses or can you save your handy home cooking?

"Top Chef" judge Gail Simmons, the author of "Bringing It Home," helps you salvage some common culinary snafus. And if all else fails, here are two divine recipes for a soup and salad to keep all your guests' tummies full.

Lumpy gravy

This is the nemesis of many home cooks. But don't fret, foodies: Simmons has the answer. "Just throw it in the blender and buzz it until smooth. Thin with water or stock if needed. Then you can re-thicken on [the] stove top if necessary," she says.

Over-cooking roast chicken

There's nothing like perfect roast chicken. After all, Prince Harry proposed to Meghan Markle over a classic roast of poultry. But a dry bird? Not so much.

"Remove and discard the burned skin then shred the meat using two forks and toss with a bright, oil-based dressing to add moisture, as well as lots of fresh chopped herbs...chopped parsley, thyme, cilantro. And some spices, like a pinch of curry, turmeric, black pepper or cayenne, to make a quick and flavorful chicken salad that can then be spooned onto toasts and served as tartines or crostinis," says Simmons.

Over-salting a dish

Mashed potatoes are a fabulous comfort food. Until, that is, you take a bite and all you can taste is salt. "Have a salt strategy to season as you go in increments. For soup, add more liquid, for dressing and sauces add more fat," says Simmons. "Another trick for over-salted vegetables, pair them with a mild cheese, like ricotta or mozzarella in a salad."

No time for these over salting antidotes? "Accompany the food with a sweet, fizzy wine, like Prosecco or Champagne, or even sparkling water. Bubbles cleanse the palate of salt, which means every sip helps refresh your taste buds," says Simmons.

Burnt pie crust

Most of us have been there, done that, and figured it was a wasted effort to try to save it. Wrong! "If it is a fruit pie and the top is just slightly burned you can try using a microplane to carefully shave off really dark spots," says Simmons. "If the whole top is burned, you can cut it off and remove the top completely, then top with whipped cream instead. Or place a thawed piece of puff pastry over it, cut to shape and crimped, and rebake it for 25 minutes or so, assuming bottom is not burnt."

Home cooks, you're welcome!