Deep Dish Comfort
Imagine that a bowl is placed in front of you. The puffed pastry covering the top of the bowl is golden and mouthwatering. Push your fork through the crisp pastry to reveal the steaming, thick stew underneath.
Rich and comforting pot pies have never gone out of style. You’ll find them on restaurant menus at practically every price point. But, you don’t have to head out into the unpredictable March weather to find one. Pot pies are super quick and easy to make. The first step is to decide on a savoury base. Whip up a classic chicken or beef stew. Or, start with a roux and pour a few cans of prepared soup into the pot. I even encourage you to go a little wild. Make up a batch of chili as the base or go completely vegetarian.
The cap is just as easy. If you’re so inclined, feel free to make your own puff pastry. If not, most grocery stores carry frozen, prepared pastry. Thaw. Roll. Bake. Not in the mood for pastry? No problem. Pot pies with a biscuit crust are just as yummy. One tip, though: if you don’t like soggy bottoms, bake the biscuits separately and lay them over the stew just before serving.
Give these a try.
Turkey-Apple Pot Pie
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 Golden Delicious apples, peeled and cored
1 yam, peeled and sliced thinly
1 Tbsp butter
1-1/2 lbs ground turkey
2 tsp dried sage, crumbled
1-1/2 tsp caraway seeds
1-1/2 cups chicken broth
2/3 cups dry sherry
3 Tbsp cornstarch
Cream Cheese Pastry
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, cut into chunks
3 oz cream cheese, cut into chunks
1 large egg yolk
1 beaten egg (for brushing the top of the pastry)
1. Melt butter in a large pan set over high heat. Crumble turkey into the pan; stir often until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.
2. Add onions, apples, yam, sage and caraway seeds; cover and cook over medium eat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Uncover, turn heat to high, and stir often until liquid has evaporated and onions begin to brown, about 5 minutes.
3. In a small bowl, mix broth, sherry and cornstarch. Add to turkey mixture and stir until it boils and thickens. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste. Let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally, 30 to 40 minutes. Spoon mixture into a shallow, round 2 litre casserole or pie pan.
4. On a lightly floured board, roll cream cheese pastry into a round about 2 inches wider than the diameter of the casserole or pie pan. Centre pastry over the filling; trim the edges to overhang the rim by about 1 inch. Fold overhang under the pastry flush with the rim. Flute pastry firmly against the casserole or pan rim and slash the top decoratively.
5. Set the pie on a foil-lined baking sheet. Brush the top with the beaten egg.
6. Bake in a 375F oven until pastry is golden and filling is bubbling, 35 to 45 minutes. If crust rim darkens too much before the centre browns, fold foil over the edges.
Cream Cheese Pastry
Combine flour, butter and cream cheese in a food processor. Blend until coarse crumbs form. Add egg yolk; stir with a fork until dough holds together. Pat into a flat disk about 8 inches wide.
Serve hot with a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc.
Spinach and Mushroom Pot Pie
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 lb. mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 slices bacon, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp chopped, fresh tarragon
20 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and moisture squeezed out
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup soft bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped parsley
1 frozen puff pastry sheet (about 8-1/2 oz)
1 egg, beaten
1. In a large frying pan set over medium heat, stir onion, mushrooms, bacon, garlic and tarragon until liquid evaporates, about 20 minutes.
2. Remove pan from heat. Crumble in spinach along with ricotta cheese, bread crumbs, eggs, parmesan cheese and parsley; beat to mix well. Let cool. Pour cooled filling into a 9-inch pie pan or dish.
3. Roll out puff pastry into a 10-inch diameter round. Lay pastry over filling, fold edges under and flush with pan rim, flute firmly against the rim; cut a few slits into the top of the pastry. Brush top of pastry with beaten egg.
4. Bake in a 400°F oven on the lowest rack until pastry is golden and filling is bubbling, 40-55 minutes. If the pastry darkens too much along the edges, cover with foil.
Serve hot with a chilled glass of Gewürztraminer.