Once again, this was more like last week's dinner, and I have had some great food stuff going on between now and then so stay tuned for some more food-centric posts. But for now, just let your stomach rumble at the thought of homemade pot pie. We have been buying little single-serve pot pies from the local general store, and while they are pretty much perfect, they have increased in price from an affordable $4 each to a whopping $8 each. It is hard to stomach (hardy har har) a 100% price increase in the space of 16 months or so, so I finally decided to tackle one on my own.The detail that has always held me back, however, is the crust.
I have a long history of mediocre pie crusts and have become a little gun shy. This time around I did not overthink it and went to my main man Mark Bittman, who did not fail me and allowed me to produce the best pie crust ever (I waited too long to take the pic above and it has already deflated a bit, thus the cracking). Using butter, flour, salt, water and my Cuisinart, it could not have been easier. I go the recipe from 'How to Cook Everything' which I will undoubtedly reference 1,000 times in the course of this blog because it is such an essential book.
The filling I improvised on and it worked out pretty well. Last time I was at the supermarket I purchased a number of frozen vegetable mixes. I am finally coming to grips with the fact that the time I have to wash, slice and dice fresh veggies is rapidly dwindling and I have to embrace the freezer if I am going to get anything on the table before 9pm. And I am ok with that. Frozen veggies are picked at the peak of freshness (so I am told and like to believe) and, I must admit, are really damn convenient. As a result, the prep time for this meal is minimal, under 1/2 an hour. The baking and dough time add some more, of course. Here is what I did:
Preheat oven to 375. Have a cup of stock (see here for my take on stock) simmering on the back burner. Dice a small onion, saute in butter until soft, almost browning. Add a couple of smashed garlic cloves, cook 30 seconds, then add a bag of pre-cut frozen vegetable mix, this one was carrots, peas, and some other stuff. Cook until softened, shouldn't take long. Salt, pepper and herbs to taste (watch the salt if your stock is salty, my stock was flavorful enough I didn't have to add any herbs). Drop in a good handful of flour and mix around until all is coated. Add stock, 1/4 cup at a time, stir over low heat until everything thickens and you get the consistency you like. Basically you are looking for a stew, because that's all a pot pie really is, stew covered with pastry. So get it stew-like, taste and season accordingly. Dump it into a pie plate and cover with your dough. Flute the edges, beat an egg and brush the egg on top of the dough. Bake until golden on top and bubbling, shouldn't be more than 20-30 minutes.