Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Everything is better inside pastry.
Pot Pie is a winter thing, right? Because it is 2 degrees in Chicago today and there is nothing that seems more appropriate than tucking into a nice bowl of warmth. I find total comfort in breaking that crusty shell with a spoon and knowing there is a delicious stew bubbling underneath. It's always so hot, you have to hold yourself back so you don't burn your tongue.
Of course, the nostaligic mind first goes the classic chicken pot pie with carrots and peas. But really you can turn any stew, even leftover stew into a pot pie. It all started after I read Smitten Kitchen's blog post about a Pancetta, Swiss Chard and White Bean Pot Pie. I like to focus my dinner plans on what kind of green I am going to insert by happenstance into my husband's body; so the idea of a this stew tucked under a pastry crust was really appealing. The first time I made it, I switched pancetta for crumbled italian sausage that I had browned. Beans, greens and sausage are a natural combo and the sausage gave it some heat that I thought might be missing with pancetta. Other than that, I followed the recipe exactly and it was really good and we ate them for two nights. (Read how she says to store them for serving the next night.)
But what was the most exciting thing about this recipe, is not what is inside, it is the crust.
This is not your typical pastry crust. It uses greek yogurt and vinegar mixed with water for the wet ingredients. I like to pretend adding the yogurt makes it healthy, but I shouldn't because there is still a lot of butter in this dough. It rolls out like a dream and cooks up beautifully. If you have never made pastry before, I would recommend this one because it is so user-friendly. The recipe is included with the above link. I use 6 oz ramekins and I find you can roll and cut out 6, 6-inch circles to top the pies with one recipe of dough.
With my Pot Pie engines at full throttle, I decided I needed to made this crust again but with my favorite chicken pot pie filling from Ina Garten. This is a great recipe as it is written, but super rich. You do not need to saute your onions in 1 1/2 sticks of butter. Half veg oil/half butter will do the trick and do don't need that volume of fat either but if you reduce it, remember to adjust the amount of stock as well because this will utimately become your sauce.
All the recipes can be found at the links. If you have any questions, I'd love a chance to answer them. And if your name is Christine McGrath, I will come to your house and make this with you.