Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Beef Pot Pie

We had a rather large amount of the pot roast remaining from Saturday night, so I decided to make a pot pie from the leftovers. My mom used to make pot pies with turkey meat and beef stew leftovers a lot growing up, but I never have, so I thought I'd give it a try.

I've only seen my mom make pot pies from Thanksgiving-style leftovers, or beef stew extras. She'd buy the 2-pack of store bought crusts and fill the bottom shell with the meat, gravy and vegetables, or a few spoonfuls of the stew, and flip the second crust over top and crimp the edges together. They also freeze really well, for dinners in the future.

So, I approached mine in much the same way, except I made my crust from scratch. My mom's nemesis are made from scratch crusts. She's just never been able to tackle them, while I don't find them that difficult.

To fill my crusts I used:

about 2 cups of roast beef, chopped
the onions from the roast beef sauce, chopped
about 1/4 cup each of carrots and celery chopped and cooked off in the microwave
about 1/4 cup each of frozen peas and frozen corn kernels
the remainder of the beef sauce, thickened on the stove (about 2 cups)

For the crust, I used my Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book again.

Pastry for Double-Crust Pie

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup shortening
6-7 Tbsp cold water

Stir together flour and salt. Cut in shortening until pieces are the size of small peas. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp water over the mixture, incorporating with a fork. Repeat until moistened. Form dough into a ball and divide in half. Roll out half of the dough on a lightly floured surface. Fit into pie dish and roll out top crust with remaining dough. Fill with desired pie filling and cut slits for the escape of steam. Bake as directed for original recipe.

Because all of my contents were cooked, I knew it wasn't going to take hours to bake. I put the pie in the oven, at 350° for 20 minutes with foil on top. I wanted the filling to have a chance to warm up a bit before the crust started browning. Then, I took the foil off and baked an additional 20 minutes. It was still fairly light in color, so I upped the temperature to 375° and baked an additional 15 minutes until it had a nice golden, brown crust and bubbly inside.

I naturally have a Type B personality and my mom is very Type A. I think that's the trick in making a pie crust from scratch. You kind of just have to resort that it is what it is, and it might not come out perfectly pretty, but it sure will taste good. I cut in my shortening using the whisk attachment for a hand mixter. I find it gives me better control than a fork, which is kind of hard to get down into a bowl, with the angle of the tongs.

You always want to cut the shortening and water into the dough using a utensil, not your hands. The heat from your hands will over-work the dough and melt the shortening. The trick to a flaky crust is to keep it cold for as long as possible. That's why they ask you to use cold water. I always fill a glass or bowl with ice cubes and water, drawing the tablespoons from there, so they're nice and cold. I also like to make the dough a little on the side of moist, since you'll be adding extra flour from your hands, the board, and the rolling pin.

While rolling out the bottom crust, I put the second half of the dough in the fridge to keep cool, so it's still nice and easy to work with when its turn comes around. I also use the trick of folding the crust in quarters to move it from the board to the pie plate, so it doesn't tear.

Here's our beef pot pie, coming out of the oven. See? Not really perfect, but still doesn't look bad, and certainly didn't taste bad! Growing up, we made a lot of fruit pies with my grandmother, or my mom would make the turkey and beef pot pies and freeze for the future. We always would cut the slits in the top crust as the letter of the contents. P for peach, A for apple, T for turkey, etc. So, out of habit, I cut a B in ours, but you can do any fancy design you want.

Some of the slits I cut re-fused and baked together in the oven, so there wasn't a lot of steam escaping. The pie turned out a little watery than expected, but still tasted absolutely delicious. Believe it or not, there is less than 1/4 of it left, between just me and Johnny eating it for dinner!!!

P.S. Thank you to those of you who have voted (or maybe still want to vote) for Corky and Poe in the Pet of the Year contest. Unfortunately, some users (ie: Duke's and Charlie's owners) didn't get the point that it's supposed to be a fun contest and thought it was an eBay bidding war. They've racked up almost 4,000 fraudulent votes, each, for their dogs, at last check. I've been in contact with the newspaper staff about it, but it seems there's really nothing they can do until the end of the contest when they're going to issue a statement about the cheating and possibly revoke the prize. It's a shame these people had to ruin it for everybody else, but thanks for any votes you've given my pets! I really do appreciate it, but sadly, it looks like we just don't have a fair shot at winning against these cheaters!


Anonymous said...

Ah, I still have to try pot pie. It looks so good!

Anonymous said...

I'm with your mom, crust is way out of my league. But this looks absolutely delicious!

Anonymous said...

What a great idea for leftovers!! I have some roast beef left over from Sunday and was wondering what to do with it!

Looks delish! Sorry about the dog conest - that sucks!