What Thanksgiving? There’s No Leftover Turkey in These Pot Pies…Just Plenty of Down Home Appeal to Spare
It seems as if last week’s Turkey Leftovers Pot Pies struck a chord and inspired savory pie promise in more than a few readers. So this week I’m following up with another pot pie – one that’s as comfortable at a dinner party as it is at a tailgate party. (This is, after all, week 13 in our parade of tailgate-able pies.)
The inspiration for this pot pie is the French Canadian dish known as tourtiere, the main difference – with apologies to our northern neighbors – being a bit more oomph in the seasoning department than traditional recipes.
The oomph I’m referring to – the magic that adds a rich, deep flavor to the ground meat mixture – arrives by way of the chili sauce, Worcestershire, mustard and an unexpected combination of sweet spices you don’t normally find in savory dishes. It’s important to simmer this saucy mixture to just the right consistency. You want it to be full bodied and saucy, but not so thick that the interior of the finished pot pies ends up too dry. If anything, err on the side of a little too saucy.
Meat Pie Strategy: Breaking it Down
First thing you’ll need is a two batches of GOOD BASIC PIE DOUGH. As soon as it is made, divide it up as outlined in the recipe.
While the disks of dough chill, go ahead and prepare the meat mixture. It will need time to cool while you’re working on the pastry.
You will need six individual-size, mini pie pans. I like my Le Creuset mini pie pans. These are typical of mini pans in that they have a capacity of about 1 cup and measure about 4 1/2″ across. Lacking those or similar dishes, you can always use a muffin pan with large cups.
On the upside, muffin cups make attractive little pies…and you can transport them right in the pan itself if, say, you are headed to a tailgate party. You can reheat by putting the entire pan on an outside (closed) grill and away from direct flame or heat that’s otherwise too intense. You don’t want to damage the pan.
On the downside, muffin cups tend to be narrower and steeper than other pie pans, making it a little trickier to line the pans with the dough. You’ll need to be patient with the process and use a gentle hand. Also, the finished pies do not come in their own individual dishes, but you can simply serve them on attractive plates.
Here’s a trick if you do use muffin cups: lay crisscross strips of wax paper in the cups before lining them, as shown below, so you can lift the pies out easily. Otherwise you may damage the crusts when you try to get them out later.
Pot pies like this are what I think of as a “craft cooking” – the sort of dish that engages the senses and offers tactile rewards. You don’t dash these off for a quick dinner; rather, you putter away at these over the course of a few weekend hours when you’re going to be around the kitchen anyway, enjoying the process as much as the result. I love that kind of cooking.
These pot pies can be the centerpiece of any hearty winter meal. I would serve them accompanied by a big, colorful salad and a light dessert – maybe stewed fruit or cold custard. They’ll freeze well and can be thawed and/or reheated in the microwave, provided they’re in microwave safe dishes. I think you’ll really enjoy these; let me know.
PASTRY NOTE – You will need 2 batches of the GOOD BASIC PIE DOUGH, divided as outlined in the recipe below.