Poultry Pot Pie

This may be one of my favorite recipes. I’ve made it so many times over the past six years, which is when I first started making pot pies. And surprise! I’m actually going to share the recipe with you, because it is one I’ve sort of developed on my own. It’s a combination of a number of other recipes, from which I took my favorite things and put them together to make the ultimate go-to recipe.

I call it a poultry pie because I throw whatever I’ve got in there. Chicken, turkey, duck – it’s all good. It’s perfect for using up leftover Thanksgiving turkey. In fact, I freeze 2-3 baggies of leftover turkey meat each just to use for meals like this. It’s why I do a 15-pound turkey even when it’s just the three of us for Thanksgiving. Turkey pot pie is perfect for the winter, and it’s meals like this that make me think it wouldn’t be so bad to have longer, colder winters. Fortunately, even warm(ish) Texas winters benefit from the occasional pot pie, so I still don’t have to put up with snow just to satisfy a pot pie craving.

Also, a note about the pie crust: I do a single crust on my pot pies. Double crusts are better, yes, but single crusts are easier and healthier. I don’t do a layer of crust in the pan, just on top of the filling. This makes things a little messier but does not effect taste. Often, I counter the messiness by making individual pot pies, which are much easier to deal with anyway. They’re a cinch to heat up for leftovers, and they freeze fantastically. I usually get 4 6″ ramekins and 2 4″ ramekins (all generously sized) out of one batch. The adults get one of the larger ramekins, and Miss H gets a small one.

Speaking of Miss H, she likes pot pies, for the most part. What she eats depends on her mood. Sometimes the meat, sometime the veggies (but not the mushrooms), sometimes the potatoes, always the pie crust. The recipe I use for the pie crust is one from Julia Child, and it is the best pie crust I have ever had. I’ve been making it for four years, and it’s comes out perfect (almost) every time. The times it has not come out perfect has been from my own error. I love this pie crust. I could eat it by itself. So could Miss H.

Anyway. Pot pie. Here it is. Feel free to play with it. Add onions or celery if you like. Parsnips would be a nice addition. The husband occasionally gets nostalgic for frozen peas. Sometimes I leave out the corn. And I’d really like to try it with sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes.

Poultry Pot Pie
6 servings

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 16 oz mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 2 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 2 cups shredded cooked poultry
  • 1 disc of uncooked pie dough (~12 ounces)
  1. Heat oven to 400.
  2. In a saucepan, heat butter and oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms and saute until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add the potato and carrots and saute until tender.
  3. Stir in the flour until blended. Gradually add broth. Bring to a boil. Simmer, cooking and stirring for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in corn, cream, and seasonings. Stir in poultry.
  4. Spoon into an ungreased 2-quart casserole dish or into individual ramekins. Roll out pie dough to fit over top of the casserole(s). Place over the filling and trim, seal, and flute edges. Cut slits in pastry to vent. Bake until golden and bubbly, about 45 minutes for a large casserole or 30 minutes for ramekins. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.
Advertisements

Thanksgiving Feast

Let’s talk about Thanksgiving for a moment, now that everybody is probably sick of talking about Thanksgiving and ready to move on to Christmas.

I like Thanksgiving. I don’t often get the opportunity to make big elaborate meals, and most of the time, I don’t want to. But every once in a while, I like to pull out all the stops and make way too much food and pig out to my heart’s content. While Thanksgiving’s historical background makes me cringe, I enjoy the general message of gratitude and fellowship that it tries to send. I’d much rather have a harvest feast in October, but I’m American and not Canadian, so November it is.

This year’s menu:

Turkey and gravy (Alton Brown’s Roasted Turkey)
Hands down, my favorite turkey recipe. I don’t bother with the brining – perhaps if I had a second fridge to store the bird during brining – but everything else makes for a perfect turkey anyway. I prefer a simple bird to more exotic flavors. To be honest, roasted turkey is not my favorite; I prefer chicken or duck. But I do like turkey in other things like soup, enchiladas, and pot pies. It also makes for a killer homemade stock/broth. So I don’t usually eat a lot of turkey on Thanksgiving, but I’ve got plenty of other uses for it.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes
I don’t do the overly-sweet casserole of potatoes, marshmallows, and pecans. I just can’t. But I still want sweet potatoes, and I still want mashed potatoes. So I just mash my sweet potatoes. This year, I roasted the sweet potatoes first, and that made for some very tasty potatoes. After peeling them, I put them in a pot on the stove, heated them up with some butter and heavy cream and gave them a good mash. Very tasty.

Cranberry Sauce
Not from a can. Never from a can. I did not like cranberry sauce until I started making it myself (which can be said for a good number of things I’ve learned to make over the years). Cranberry sauce is very easy to make if you’re going the classic route: pour cranberries in saucepan and add water, sugar, orange juice, and orange peel. I also do a bit of allspice and a pinch of salt. Simmer until the berries soften and burst, about 30 minutes. Chill for a couple of hours. Done. This went terrifically with the sweet potatoes and turkey.

Mushroom Dressing
I’m not a big fan of stuffing turkeys (I’m not a big fan of extra work, really), so it’s dressing on my table. I’m picky about dressing: no onions, no celery, no meat, and mushrooms are a must. Not much room for variation, but I know what I like. This was a very successful dish. I’ve tried a couple different mushroom dressings, but this one has definitely been the best. Rich and creamy, with excellent flavor. I’ll probably keep this as my go-to recipe now.

Roasted Vegetables
Getting veggies onto the plate during Thanksgiving isn’t always easy. It’s like the best Thanksgiving foods are starches or meats. Green bean casserole is traditional, but neither my husband nor I like it. Instead, I roast Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and carrots. It’s a very simple addition, but it’s freshness is welcome and really helps to add some balance to the meal.

Bread Rolls
A necessary addition to the Thanksgiving table. I like to make my own rolls on Thanksgiving – I like to make as much as possible, really. This year’s rolls had good flavor, but they were harder than I liked. While they were a nice complement to the meal, they definitely needed butter and have only gotten harder in the days since being baked. This was another Food Network Magazine recipe, and I’m not sure I’d use it again.

 

I’ll admit, it’s a very traditional menu, and I don’t vary it much from year to year. But it’s a meal that I find appropriate for the season, with components that I might use in other meals but not so often all together. I like the simplicity of these dishes, and how they all come together to make a delicious autumn feast. And though I’m not usually a fan of leftovers, I make an exception for Thanksgiving.

Happy harvest, folks. May the bounty of the season be ever-present for you.

 

Sweet Serenity Apple Pie

Source: Oh, how I wish I knew.

You see, many years ago (perhaps not too many, but enough), there was a show named Firefly, and it was a woefully short-lived show. Only 13 episodes. It was a tragedy.

The funny thing is, I didn’t know about Firefly until the follow-up movie Serenity was released and a sushi chef at a fusion restaurant that I frequented suggested that I go and see it. I did. And then I devoured every Firefly scrap I could find. One such scrap was a small collection of recipes inspired by the TV series. And by small, I mean small, maybe 5-6 recipes. All of the recipes came from brief mentions in the show itself. This particular recipe references an episode in which one character uses his windfall to buy a crate of apples to share with his fellow crewmates, a rare and expensive treat for a space-going group of people. What else would you do with an overabundance of apples but make some apple pie?

This was a time period in which I was just discovering that cooking could be enjoyable. I was still a novice in the kitchen, still hesitant to try new and unusual things. I doubt any of those recipes were truly too strange to try, but I can’t say for sure because I don’t remember any of them. Except for this one.

Well, to be completely honest, I only remember the recipe because I wrote it down and shared it in a family cookbook. I’m not even sure if I have the name of the recipe right. I think I do, because it’s what I’ve always called it, but it’s possible that I’ve misremembered it over the years. I first made this pie in 2005/2006. I have the recipe, but I don’t have the original page that I found it on. I’ve looked for it, because the internet never forgets, but I still haven’t found it. Now that I’m not a novice cook anymore, I wonder about those other recipes.

Because I LOVE Firefly/Serenity. I don’t tend to geek out too much, but there are two things that bring out the rabid geek in me: Firefly and Mystery Science Theater 3000. Combining them with my love of cooking isn’t easy to do, so I cherish this one recipe.

It helps that this pie is absolutely delicious.

I was not a big fan of apple pies before I found this recipe. I didn’t realize that apple pies did not have to be double-crusted. I didn’t know about crumble toppings. Making a double-crust apple pie seemed like far more work than I was capable of at the time. I was a newbie, and making an apple pie – a pie of any sort, really – seemed like a disaster waiting to happen. But this is a simple recipe, and I thought I could do it.

And I did do it. And it was delicious. I love it. I still don’t make apple pies very often, but this is my go-to apple pie recipe. Nothing beats it, for me anyway.

Apple slices piled up on apple slices. A thickened simple syrup turned deep brown by ground cinnamon. A soft crumble topping with just enough sweetness. It’s a simple pie that satisfies any apple pie craving I’ve ever had. It’s also very simple to make, especially if you use a storebought pie crust.

I don’t often share recipes on my blog because I don’t develop my own. I take other people’s genius and see what I can do with it. But because I legitimately cannot find a link for this recipe, I’m going to post it here, because I don’t think it’s fair to talk about how awesome something is and then not provide a way to make it happen for people who might be interested in it.

So, here you go.

 

Sweet Serenity Apple Pie

for the pie:
1 9″ pie shell, pre-cooked
2-3 apples of your choice (I usually use Gala because that’s what I have)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons cornstarch

for the topping:
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup flour
4 tablespoons butter, softened

Peel, core, and slice the apples thinly. Place in the pie shell, layering until all slices are used and the shell is full.

Combine sugar, water, cinnamon, and cornstarch in a small saucepan and set over medium heat. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, and allow to cook down until thick, between 5-10 minutes. Pour evenly over the apples.

For the topping, combine the sugar, flour, and butter until crumbly. I just use my fingers to rub in the butter and get the consistency I want. It should be clumpy and not too sticky. Cover the pie with pieces of the crumb mixture. It will be a bit patchy, but that’s okay. It looks really nice with glimpses of the reddish filling peeking through the browned topping.

Bake at 350º for 35-40 minutes, until the topping is just lightly browned. Set aside to cool completely. The pie is just fine on its own, but it would also be terrific with some vanilla ice cream or slightly sweetened whipped cream.