“There’s nothing like staying at home for real comfort.” – Jane Austen
If I had to pick my favorite comfort food it would probably be a slice of old fashioned chicken pot pie. Braised beef stew bubbling in wine would be a close second, and traditional ketchup glazed meatloaf over mashed potatoes third, but there’s just something about a big piece of savory pie that speaks so much warmth to my soul. I have been making a variation of this pot pie recipe for years, mostly of what I have on hand, and it always fills the bill. And while rarely write my methods down and am more of a from-memory cook, this time was an exception!
Let me tell you something, don’t not make a pie just because you are intimated by its crust! Depending on the day and what it holds for me, I waver from homemade to store-bought crusts. They are both good options, just different. This one was store-bought and was delicious, however if you have the time and energy to make your own crust I suggest giving it a try. Getting your hands all doughy and floury can be a really meditating process, much like mowing the yard or doing the dishes. It’s only a chore if you let it be!
To prepare, start by chopping the onions, carrots and celery. Add to 2 tablespoon of butter in a hot sauté pan, and cook until they become soft and starting turning translucent, for about 8-10 minutes on medium heat.
While that’s cooking away, make your roux by mixing 2 tbsp all-purpose flour with 2 tablespoons of softened butter in a glass jar. It will form a paste, and you will use this to thicken the sauce for your pot pie. When they veggies are nearly done, toss in the quartered mushrooms and about 1 tablespoon of both fresh parsley and thyme. When the mushrooms are soft and have cooked through, add the minced garlic and stir for one minute, letting the aroma fill your kitchen.
After a minute or so of stirring, add the roux (butter/flour mixture) to the pan and stir constantly for 3 minutes, pouring in the stock little by little as you go. After 3 minutes are up, take the pan off the heat and add the sour cream, heavy cream, frozen peas and the cooked meat from your bird of choice. Stir well until everything is mixed together, and taste for seasoning. Now is a good time to add extra salt or pepper if it needs it.
To prepare the crust head here to read and make my favorite pastry recipe, or simply use your favorite store-bought variety. Your pie pie filling will keep for a few days in the fridge at this point, so this makes a wonderful make-ahead dish.
To assemble your pie, line a 9″ pie pan with poked pastry, fill to the top with the pot pie mixture, and cover the with top with the more rolled out pastry. You can crimp edges however you prefer, even braid them you fancy, but be sure to cut a vent in top so steam can release, and then brush with an egg wash before baking. To make the egg wash, mix 1 egg yolk + 1 tablespoon of milk together and brush on top. Bake the pie uncovered for 15 minutes at 425° and then reduce the heat to 350° – continuing to bake the crust until it has browned for an additional 30-40 minutes.
This pie serves 4-6 depending how hungry you are, and goes well with a side salad and a nice glass of wine. What’s your favorite comfort food? Any trustee or family recipes you’d be willing to share? I am going to make curry beef hand pies tonight, and depending on how those turn out I’ll share them with you! I need to get to the store for some mint and cilantro, always running out of fresh herbs here! On a side note, do any of you have good luck growing herbs indoors? I haven’t had much luck, but would love to if possible.