Apparently I make pretty amazing pot pies, probably because they’re time consuming as fuck. The secret is that I actually flavor it, unlike those cheap frozen pot pies from the supermarket that always taste like they’re made from dog food…probably because they fucking are.
Whether I make a chicken, turkey, or beef pot pie it’s all the same. The only thing that changes is the meat and the bouillon to match.
For this particular example I’ll be referencing the last one I just made…which was an elk pot pie. Not sure if you’ve ever hunted elk, but if you have then you know that once you eat the tenderloins and steaks you’re left with a fuck ton of ground.
Like I said, a fuck ton of ground from apparently two different kills and processors.
So here it goes. This is the most time consuming dish I make…but it’s by far the most worth it.
Step 1: The key to an amazing pot pie is the crust. Don’t buy that store bought shit, it sucks and you know it. Make the dough in the morning so it’s ready by dinner time and use Crisco shortening. “Shortening” is a pretty little euphemism for lard, it’s probably not the healthiest thing in the world…but your dough will suck without it. It’s just for the crust anyway, live a little. ??
Wrap it up in Saran Wrap and stick it into the fridge till you need it later tonight.
Step 2: Make the stock. Everything for the pie needs to be cooked BEFORE you stick it in the oven, because there’s no fucking universe you’re ever going to get all the ingredients to cook at the same time otherwise.
Peel and cube the potatoes that will make up the bulk of it, and dice up some carrots and celery too. Then boil them together till they’re tender.
Step 3: Separately (because boiling them would be lazy and gross) sauté onions, minced garlic, and diced mushrooms all together. Throw them in with the stock when both of them are cooked and done and then lower the heat.
A jar of pre-minced garlic is a time saving life hack, and will also prevent your fingers from smelling like a Korean restaurant for the next two days. It’s a fridge must-have.
Step 4: Ready the meat. If you’re making it with chicken or turkey breasts you can boil it off simultaneously with the potatoes. When it’s done enough pull the chicken out and hand shred it into tiny pieces.
If you have kids just make them fucking do it. I know it’s time consuming but if you skip this step, the chicken will come out drier than a popcorn fart. Shredding it by hand allows the poultry to absorb all the gravy and prevent it from tasting dry no matter how much you bake it later or reheat it for leftovers.
I used ground elk like I mentioned (which is akin to some super lean beef or buffalo) so I broke it up and browned it in a frying pan before dumping it into the finished stock. Pretty simple.
Step 5: Flavoring. The only difference here is that I used beef bouillon for the elk, where I would have used chicken bouillon if I had made chicken or turkey. Bouillon is salty as fuck, so keep taste testing it so you don’t fuck it all up. All the other seasonings are pretty the same. Season moderately with ground sage, celery salt, dried crushed rosemary (which I usually crush even further with a pestle and mortar, black pepper (for beef,) white pepper (for poultry) and I use a shit ton of both onion and garlic powder. A couple of capfuls of Worstershire sauce is good for any kind of red meat recipe, and if you want to get real fancy…I also use a tiny pinch of caraway and anise seeds that I grind up with the pestle and mortar.
Keep seasoning it until it tastes amazing all on its own, you shouldn’t need to add actual salt unless you got cheap on the bouillon or celery salt somewhere. When all else fails, keep adding onion and garlic powder (garlic powder…not garlic salt, the latter fucks up every dish it touches because there’s always way more salt in it than garlic.)
This is the time to add in the vegetables that don’t need cooking. I personally like to use canned corn and frozen peas. Canned French style green beans are also pretty good in this.
You’ll notice I don’t measure anything, that’s because you’re an adult and you should be able to decide what ratio of meat and vegetables you want in this thing. You can do this, I believe in you.
Step 6: Thicken the stock. I like to scoop up the liquid in a coffee cup, add cornstarch and whisk, then whisk that back into the stock, and repeat until you get that nice gravy texture. It’ll take a few minutes at a boil to be able to tell how thick you just made it, so don’t let it trick you. If you fuck up add water to thin it, you might have to add it anyway depending on how much you had in there when this all started.
This is about the time, every time that I remember that I just forgot to preheat the oven. Just set it to 400 and work on the dough in the meantime.
Step 7: You’re almost done. Now scoop the thickened stock into something ceramic or Pyrex glass (metal pans always seem haunted by whatever the last thing you cooked in them was.) I prefer a pie shaped dish for presentation purposes, but since I only have one…the overfill always end up in a square casserole/brownie dish or some shit.
Don’t top it off. Give yourself a half inch of room from the top of the dish because it will bubble and spill over onto your oven floor and burn…and we both know that cleaning the oven sucks and you’re just going to live with that burned ass smell for a month instead. Prevention is easier. ??
Roll out the dough and lay it on top to fit. Flour the surface you’re using so the dough won’t stick to it. If you don’t have a rolling pin, use a PAM can or something similarly shaped covered in Saran Wrap and flour to roll it out.
Bunch up the crust ends and anchor them to the dish lip with a fork. Use a knife to cut off any excess around it, and poke some “X’s” into the dough to let the air bubbles out just like a regular pie. Scramble an egg and brush it all over the top of the crust…this will make it crispy.
Step 8: Throw it in the oven. There’s no set time to this, you just have to keep checking it until the dough starts browning and getting crisp. Don’t burn it, or your family will hate you. When it looks a little golden, pull it out and let it sit for like 5 minutes. DO NOT JUST CUT IT UP AND SERVE IT IMMEDIATELY TO YOUR FAMILY. This shit is boiling hot. You will burn your tongue and then you won’t be able to taste a g-damn thing for the next two days, trust me.
There you are! You’re finally done! It should come out looking something like this…
I’m kidding, not even Martha Stewart can make it look that fucking good.
If you’re me, and you forgot to take a stupid picture of it until everyone already started digging into the other two way better looking pies and had to take a pic of the dejected extra third pie instead, then you’ll get something more like this…
I clearly had made way more extra stock than dough, I know. But it was just extra and it still tasted just as good though. ??♀️
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