Perfect Pot Pie

SLICE OF LIFE BY EILEEN GOLTZ

The phrase “it’s as easy as pie” to make is one that readily comes to mind whenever I’m in the mood to make pot pies. Surprisingly the mood seems to strike whenever I have leftovers that don’t seem to be just quite enough to make a full meal all by themselves. The light bulb in my head (the one that looks eerily like the one in my fridge) goes on and the word balloon appears and it blinks, pot pie, pot pie, pot pie.
Recipes for pot pie cooking methods date back to the Middle Ages in Europe, and were brought to America along with all the other hand me down recipes our ancestors had in their own personal cookbooks. Simply put, a pot pie is a savory meat or vegetable stew/thick soup cooked in a single or double crusted pan depending on your personal preference and your geological frame of reference. A lot of recipes from south of the Mason Dixon line have  a biscuit type of crust and those from those Yankee states are more apt to use pastry dough or puff pastry. Those that originated in other countries use potatoes or barley or even rice in the crusts. It just goes to show you that even though cooks all over the world may have a different set of staples in the house we know what to do with them when it comes to making the best of leftovers.
. The following recipes include several that I’ve made for years and years and more years and have absolutely no idea where the original recipe came from and the rest have been sent to me by readers who love pot pies as much as I do. .So, even if you’re ordinarily a the kind of cook that burns water, making a pot pie will raise your confidence level 10 fold and your standing as the best cook in the world for turning leftovers into a spectacular meal 100 fold.

REMINDS ME OF MARSHALL FIELDS CHICKEN POT PIES

2 sheets puff pastry dough, thawed
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of thyme
12 ounces cooked chicken meat, cut into strips
1 onion, minced
1/2 cup peas, if frozen, thawed
1/2 cup diced cooked carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped red pepper

Preheat oven to 450. Grease a 9×13 baking pan and place on sheet of the dough on the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Press to push it slightly up the sides of the pan. set it aside. In a sauce pan melt the butter and then stir in the flour. Cook, whisking until the flour is incorporated into the butter and then add the broth and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the mixture is thickened. Add the pinch of thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Mix to combine.  Add chicken, peas, onions, celery and carrot and mix to combine and pour the mixture into the prepared pan over the dough. Top with the second piece of puff pastry dough making sure to tuck the edges into the pan and connecting it with the bottom dough if possible. Bake for approx 25 minutes until the top has puffed up and is golden brown. Cool 5 minutes and serve. Serves 4 to 6.

RICE AND CHICKEN POT PIE

2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup flour
2 cans (14 1/2-ounce) chicken broth
1 package (16-oz) mixed frozen vegetables
3 cups cooked rice
2 cups cooked chopped chicken
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 cup baking mix
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions

Heat butter in skillet  and add onion, garlic, thyme, sage and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes until onion is tender. Add flour, cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in broth; cook, whisking 4 to 6 minutes or until sauce boils and thickens.

Stir in vegetables; cook 5 to 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in rice, chicken and parsley; cook, stirring 2 to 3 minutes more. Place in 2-1/2-quart casserole. (May be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before baking.)

Combine baking mix, buttermilk and green onions in medium bowl. Gently stir, just until dough comes together. Form dough into 9-inch long log on lightly floured surface; cut crosswise into 6-1/2-inch rounds. (Or roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 1/2-inch thickness and cut with different shaped cookie cutters.)

Top casserole with biscuits, spacing evenly. Bake in 425-degree oven for 20 minutes until filling is bubbly and biscuits are golden brown. Serve immediately.

Modified from cdkitchen.com

MASHED POTATO TURKEY POT PIE

1 tablespoon oil
2 pounds ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, diced
1 red pepper diced
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
3 (16 oz.) cans cream style corn
8 white potatoes, cooked and mashed
Butter or margarine
Panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 325. In a skillet sauté the onion, celery and red pepper together in the oil. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes and then add the turkey. Cook until turkey is no longer pink.  Drain any liquid, add the poultry seasoning, mix to combine and put the mixture in a 9X13 casserole dish. Pour the creamed corn over the mixture and top with the mashed potatoes. Place small pieces dabs of butter or margarine on the potatoes. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top. Bake an additional 10 minutes and serve. Serves 6 to 8.

Submitted by Audry Snarling

VEGGIE POT PIE

1 tablespoon oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 onions, diced
1 green or red pepper, diced
3 to 4 carrots, peeled and diced
3 or 4 yellow or zucchini squashed, diced
15 ounces can vegetarian chili (you can use the stuff with meat if you like)
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
6 ounces box cornbread mix (or your favorite recipe)
salsa and sour cream

Preheat oven to 375. Prepare the corn bread mix and set it aside. Grease a 9×13 baking pan and set aside. In a large skillet sauté the garlic in the oil for about 1 minute and then add the onion, green pepper, carrots, and zucchini; cook 10 to 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender but not mushy. Stir in the chili, mix to combine and then spoon the mixture spread into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the top with the cheese. Spread the corn bread mixture over the top of the cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cornbread is golden brown.  Let sit for 3 to 5 minutes then serve. Serves 6

SWEET POTATO POT PIE

3 tablespoons   olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 teaspoon minced garlic
3 cups fresh sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into small  pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt or more to taste
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 sheet puff pastry dough, thawed
1 egg mixed
Poppy or sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large skillet sauté the onion, jalapeno, garlic and, sweet potatoes in the oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Stir in the corn.

In a small bowl whisk together the milk and cornstarch, then pour the mixture into the sweet potato mixture. Bring the mixture to bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and cook until the liquid starts to thicken, about 2 minutes. Remove the mixture from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into a 9X13 pan and then gently lay a sheet of the puff pastry dough on top pushing the edges in to the mixture around the side of the pan.  Brush the top of the dough with the beaten egg and then sprinkle the top with sesame or poppy seeds. Using a sharp knife, cut a few slits in the top of the crust (you can make a design) to let the steam vent. Place the casserole on a cookie sheet with sides just in case it bubbles over. Bake about 15 to 20 minutes until the top is golden. Serves 4 for dinner 6 for lunch

Note: you can use canned sweet potatoes but don’t saute them with the other vegetables, add them with the corn.

HONEY DIJON MUSTARD POT PIE

1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons oil
1 lb chicken breasts, no bones or skin
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup peas, frozen or canned
2 ready make pie crusts, defrosted
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
5 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons parsley
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup minced onion
Water, as needed
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425. Marinate the chicken in the soy sauce for about 10 minutes then drain. In a skillet sauté the garlic and onions in the oil. Cook until they just start to wilt and are still firm. Add the chicken and cook until the chicken is done through. Add the honey, carrots, broth, parsley, salt, pepper and mustard. Mix to combine and cook on a low heat. In a small bowl combine the cornstarch and enough water to make paste. Bring the chicken mixture to a boil and add the cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly as you add it. Cook until the liquid starts to thicken. You can make more of the cornstarch mixture and add it if the liquid to too runny. Spoon the chicken  mixture into one of the pie shell and then top it with the other crust. Cut a few slits in the top so steam can escape while it bakes. Cook for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees F and bake for another half an hour or until the crust is golden brown and the pie is hot. Serve immediately with vegetables and mashed potatoes. Serves 4 to 6.

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