Cathie Campbell

Time to pick a pot

Pot pies can have a puff pastry crust or a traditional pie pastry, whichever you prefer.
Pot pies can have a puff pastry crust or a traditional pie pastry, whichever you prefer. Wikimedia Commons

Fall is here and winter is right around the corner, so if you are looking for some cold-weather recipes, you may want to consider choosing an old-fashioned comfort food like pot pies for a dinner meal. They are also very good for a Halloween night meal, especially if you take your children out for school carnivals or for trick or treat adventures. You can make the pot pies ahead of time so making dinner can be crossed off your list of things to do. When my kids were little, they wanted to do the school carnival and door-to-door trick or treat, so I was very busy. Add to that helping them with their costumes and yeah, you know what I mean. That's when moms (and sometimes dads or grandparents) sort of wish they could duplicate themselves. One version in the kitchen and one helping the kids. Speaking of dinner, kids are probably way more interested in eating the candy they hope to get, rather than what's on the table, but health comes first, of course. Have fun and stay safe and warm.

Chicken pot pie

2 cups diced, peeled potatoes

1  3/4 cups sliced, peeled carrots

1 cup butter, cubed

 2/3 cup chopped onion

1 cup flour

1  3/4 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon dried thyme

 3/4 teaspoon pepper

3 cups chicken broth

1  1/2 cups milk

4 cups cubed, cooked chicken

1 cup frozen peas

1 cup frozen corn

2 packages (14.1-oz. each) refrigerated pie pastry

1. Preheat oven to 425. Place potatoes and carrots in a large saucepan, then add water to cover. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat; cook, covered, 8 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender; drain.

2. In a large skillet, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook and stir until tender. Stir in flour and seasonings until blended. Gradually stir in broth and milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in chicken, peas, corn and potato mixture; remove from heat.

3. Unroll a pastry sheet into each of two 9-inch pie plates, then trim against the plate edges. Add chicken mixture. Unroll remaining pastry; place over filling. Trim, seal and flute edges. Cut slits in tops.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.

Vegetable pot pie

1 package 2-crust pie dough (or make your own)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

1 red bell pepper, chopped

2 cups milk

1 package (1.5 oz.) white sauce mix

 1/4 teaspoon pepper

1  1/2 cups shredded Colby or mild Cheddar cheese

 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 package (16 oz.) frozen mixed vegetables, thawed and drained (or 2 cans Veg-All, drained)

1  1/2 cups frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed and drained

1. Preheat oven to 425. Line 9-inch pie pan with 1 pie crust and set aside.

2. Heat olive oil in large skillet; add onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring, until crisp tender. Add milk, white sauce mix and pepper to skillet, stirring constantly.

3. Bring to boil, then add cheese, vegetables and potatoes. Cook and stir until cheese is melted and vegetables are hot.

4. Spoon vegetable mixture into pie crust. Top with second crust; seal and flute edges. Cut slits in top crust for venting. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until crust is deep golden brown. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings.

Beef pot pie

2 cups flour

 3/4 teaspoon salt

 1/3 cup canola oil

6 tablespoons ice water

2 tablespoons fresh chives, minced

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound top sirloin steak, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch pieces

 1/2 large sweet yellow onion, diced

8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced

2 carrots, peeled and sliced

4 to 5 cloves garlic, minced

6 small red potatoes, diced

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 teaspoon thyme (more if desired)

1 tablespoon tomato paste

4 cups beef broth (divided)

 1/3 to  1/2 cup cornstarch (depending on how thick you want it)

2 to 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

1. For the pie crust: Stir the flour, salt, canola oil, ice water and chives together in a bowl; mix until flour is moistened. Gather the dough into a ball (mixture will be crumbly) and place between 2 sheets of plastic wrap; roll into an 1/8-inch thick oval crust (or square depending on your pan). Cover the dough with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

2. For the filling: Preheat oven to 450. Place diced potatoes in a pot of water and boil for 4 to 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

3. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the beef and sear, stirring often for 1 minute; add the onions, mushrooms, and carrots then continue to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste, stirring well, then deglaze pot with 1/2 cup broth, scraping up the bits. Add remaining 3 cups broth along with the potatoes. While the mixture is simmering, whisk together the corn starch and remaining  1/2 cup beef broth; stir into the beef mixture until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the parsley. Taste and re-season with salt, pepper or thyme, if needed. Ladle the filling into a large baking dish.

4. Place the dough on top of the filling. Crimp the edges with your fingers or a fork. Make a small slice in the center of the crust with a knife. Place the pie on top of a baking sheet covered with tin foil then place in the oven and bake for 38 to 40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

5. Remove the pot pie from the oven and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes before serving to allow the filling to cool and thicken.

Turkey pot pie with cornbread topping

3 to 4 cups shredded or diced turkey meat

1 cup diced celery

1 cup diced carrots

1 cup diced onion

1 cup sliced green onion (white and green parts)

1 to 2 cloves garlic, crushed

Crushed red chili flakes, to taste

 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 to 3 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 tablespoons butter

 1/2 cup prepared turkey gravy (optional)

1 to 2 cups stock (chicken or turkey stock)

1 cup milk

1 cup frozen peas

1 box Jiffy Cornbread mix**

1 egg

 1/3 cup oil

** do not add water as package recommends

1. Preheat oven to 350. Saute the chopped celery, carrots, onion and green onion in canola oil and a little salt until vegetables start to get tender. Then add garlic, red chili flakes, thyme and black pepper and saute for another minute. Add butter and melt well, then add flour and stir well. Add stock and milk to pan and stir until the gravy thickens. (Add prepared gravy at this point, if using.) Taste for salt and seasoning. Note: add 1 cup of stock first and add more as needed to form desired gravy consistency.

2. Add turkey and frozen peas. Pour into oven safe dishes or large casserole dish.

3. Prepare cornbread mix with egg and oil. You might want to sift the mix to make sure it is lump free.

4. Top casserole(s) with cornbread mixture. Bake in preheated oven until cornbread is done. Tip: bake on a baking sheet for any drips. Serve hot.