Making Chicken Pot Pie


Casserole under a crust is what pot pie is, really. I take back what I said about stew. The ingredients are mostly cooked when they go into the pot/pan then stuck together with a binder. So technically the filling is more closely related to a pudding than a pie. But why split hairs? Pot pie is awesome, let’s leave it at that. Make yours by collecting your ingredients and preheating your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.


Pot Pie Recipe

Several readers have writing in asking: how big should a pot pie be? The answer: what’s your total volume of leftovers? That will determine your form as much as anything. I’ll say right now that his will probably be the most informal recipe I’ve ever written. It will be nothing more than a proportional formula, one you can tailor as needed, in the tradition of the world’s finest grannies. Since a classic pot pie is made with chicken, I’ll use a béchamel sauce for my binder. Others are certainly acceptable, but béchamel has the virtue of being extremely easy to prepare.

Let’s start off with the assumption you’ve got about 2 cups shredded chicken. To that you’ll add about 3-4 cups of chopped, cooked vegetables: a mixture of peas, carrots, potatoes, celery, pearl onions, mushrooms, what have you, diced to whatever size you like. Cooked leftovers are great if you have them. If you don’t you’ll want to soften them in a little butter over medium heat. Onions take the longest so start those first and after they’ve cooked 2-3 minutes add the potatoes, carrots or celery. Cook those until softened, 5-12 minutes depending on the size of your dice. Mushrooms only need a couple of minutes, so if you’re using them, add them last. Frozen peas don’t need to be cooked.


Making Blueberry Pie


I made this for the 4th of July (hence the stars) and brought it to a pot luck. Two small slivers disappeared in the first half hour, but a few minutes later I noticed guests with pieces that were fully 1/4 of the pie. I took it as a compliment. Start by assembling your ingredients and preparing the crust according to directions. When the crust has rested, combine the filling ingredients in a large bowl like so:


Blueberry Pie Recipe

This is a classic I couldn’t resist making, even on my summer off. It definitely belonged in the catalog. You’ll need:

One pie crust recipe for a double crust pie
Six cups fresh or frozen blueberries
5.25 ounces (3/4 cup) sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1.5 ounces (4 tablespoons) tapioca flour (instant tapioca)
egg wash


Making Murcian Meat Pies

It’s been three years since I happened upon pictures of these pies online, and it’s taken me that long to work up the courage to make them. Now that they’re here I wish I hadn’t waited so long, as it turns out they’re one of the few savory pies my young daughters will eat! I can understand the appeal. They’re rich and crispy on the outside, satisfyingly meaty on the inside, and on top of it all are just plain fun to have on your plate. As you’ve no doubt surmised, it’s the laminated tops that are the tricky bit. Everything below that pretty much follows standard meat pie rules. Here’s how they go:


Murcian Meat Pie Recipe

Like virtually all meat pies, these can contain just about any mixture of meat scraps or leftovers you have handy: ground or shredded meat, organ meats, sausages, ham, whatever’s around. The crust is a two-part affair. The top is made from roll-laminated dough, the bottom from short crust, puff pastry or puff pastry scraps. Short crust is the most common bottom crust, or so I understand, but do as you wish. Obsessing about ingredients is against the spirit of savory pies, which are all about making do with whatever’s available. Note that if you’re using pre-cooked shredded meat you’ll probably want some sort of a binder to hold the filling together, like a beaten egg.


Making Pecan Pie

Thanks to some terrific reader input I made the best pecan pie of my life yesterday. It’s the little tweaks to the recipe that really make the difference. The devastating effects of this pie were on display this morning when Mrs. Pastry’s badly shaken colleague brought the empty plate to her office. I only gave him the finished pie (minus the above piece) last evening. Evidently he set it down in front of his in-laws and something of a frenzy ensued. I don’t have full details because he was speaking rapidly and in Spanish, but it was something to the effect of: there was pie…on the ceiling…on the walls…on the windows…my God…it was horrible!


Pecan Pie Recipe

This pecan pie recipe incorporates lots of reader wisdom: extra nuts to keep it from getting too sweet, a toasting step for extra flavor, and a little vinegar for interest. I should add that lemon zest and bourbon also make terrific enhancements. This formula represents my best attempt to stay within the bounds of a classic pie while still incorporating what corporate types might call “best practices”. But do as you see fit!

1 recipe standard or perfect pie crust.
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
7.5 ounces (1 cup packed) light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, room temperature
8 ounces (3/4 cup) light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
0.65 ounce (2 teaspoons) white or cider vinegar (1-2 tablespoons of Kentucky bourbon or a heaping teaspoon of fresh lemon zest are promising alternatives)
7.5 ounces (2 cups) pecans


Making Green Tomato Pie

Green tomato pie isn’t something you see very often in pie cases, but it’s a farm kitchen staple in many parts of the US. It’s a handy thing to have in your repertoire when either a.) your patch gets too prolific, or b.) cool weather and/or an early frost puts the hammer down on tomato ripening. All you need is 4-5 medium green tomatoes, or about 1 3/4 pounds, sliced about 1/4 inch thick.


I cannot tell a lie…

I scarfed the whole thing down while watching reruns of River Monsters last night. But you’d do the same if a quart of Michigan sour cherries dropped in your lap one August afternoon, don’t tell me you wouldn’t! Anyway I’m not sorry because tart cherry pie is, in the parlance of the kids today, tha bomb. Shape yours in the same way I did here for peach pie. Combine all your ingredients, save for the crust of course, in a large bowl and stir it all together.