I grew up on those little pot pies in the red box. We stuck them in the oven for around an hour and when they came out they were perfectly crimped around the edges, bubbling through the top, and shiny as a top sitting in their little tin-foiled pie holders.
And they tasted like a chicken stew you-know-what storm.
That chemical aftertaste is seriously ingrained in my psyche. So it comes as no surprise that I haven’t eaten a pot pie in approximately ten years. But when our now ten-month-old daughter was born a sweet friend brought over a homemade potpie. The crust was made with whole grain flour and home-rendered lard from a pig they had grown themselves. The filling was rich and savory and there was no aftertaste.
It was such a comforting, nourishing post-baby meal and we devoured the whole pie in a meal and a half. So I wanted to recreate it using a simple filling: ground beef, a bit of pork sausage, and the basics of a good mirepoix and gravy.
Between the stock, vegetables, good meat, and lard you are creating a pan of nourishing warmth that will go a whole lot farther than filling bellies. You are creating sweet, warm memories of a meat-filled pie that maybe someday your own children will recreate for a neighbor who is in need of nourishment.
Course: Main Course
- 1 recipe pie crust (top and bottom)
- 1 1/2 medium onions diced
- 3 carrots diced
- 3 celery stalks diced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 pound breakfast sausage (or additional 1/2 lb ground beef)
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
- 1 1/2 cups stock (beef, chicken, or turkey)
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed dry rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Prepare pie filling by combining butter, onion, celery, and carrots in a medium skillet. Saute over medium heat with a bit of salt and pepper until they begin to soften, about five minutes. Crumble in sausage and ground beef and continue cooking over medium heat until cooked through.
- In a pint jar combine stock and 4 tablespoons flour. Put lid on jar and shake vigorously. Slowly add to cooking meat-vegetable mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon to combine well. Stir in rosemary, sage, and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Continue simmering, stirring frequently, until gravy has thickened up to your liking. Turn off the heat, taste, and season with additional salt and pepper (and herbs if desired) until the flavor is to your liking.
- Get out a 10″ cast-iron skillet that is seasoned well. Roll out your pie crust on a flat surface that has been floured until it is wide enough to have a 2″ overhang over your skillet. Carefully move pie crust to pan. If it falls apart, no worries. Simply press the dough together at any breaking points and spread it out evenly with your finger tips until the crust comes all the way up the sides of the pan.
- Carefully move filling from skillet to pie crust. Roll out second crust until it is just wide enough to cover pie. Crimp edges together with your fingers to create a seal and cut a couple of slits in top of crust to allow steam to escape.
- Place in the 400 degree oven on lowest rack and bake 30 minutes, or until crust is cooked through and filling is bubbling. Let stand at least five minutes before serving.