Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Make-Your-Own Monday: Freezer Pot Pie (but cuter!)

I made these the other day and had some requests for the recipe, so I'm sharing it here. I really seem to have a pie fetish going on these days; it seems like all I'm posting about lately is pie! Rest assured we do eat other foods in this house. But I love savory pies for a lot of reasons, and small individual-size pies are perfect for a quick portable meal. I used to buy them at the store many years ago, but quit buying them because they were loaded with sodium and trans fats and G-d knows what else... good thing we can make them ourselves!

I got this idea the other day when I felt like baking at a friend's house, and my friend didn't have a pie plate but she did have a muffin tin. Pot pies are awesome, but how much cooler would it be to have muffin-sized pot pies? It took a bit more time to roll out each crust individually, line the muffin tins, and assemble each small pie individually... but the little pies, once cooled, went to the freezer beautifully and held up great in the microwave. I zapped a frozen one for about 4 minutes to see how it would do, and the crust was still nice and flaky. So these are cute little quickie meals later - I also thought these would be good for kids' lunchboxes as well as take-to-work lunches for adults.

Use a storebought pie crust if you want, or use this one (with a tablespoon of cider vinegar added in), or try my gluten-free perfect pie crust. And the filling can be whatever you want - my chicken pot pie filling (over at my other blog) is always good. For my project the other day, I adapted the chicken recipe to use veggies and tofu instead since my friend is a pesco-vegetarian; I also made the tuna pot pies in the picture above, and I'll give you that recipe now. (I adapted it from this one.)


Crust for TWO double-crust pies
4 Tbsp butter
1 small onion, diced
6 Tbsp flour (any flour, wheat or gluten-free is fine)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp garlic powder *
1 tsp paprika *
1/4 tsp chili powder *
Sprig fresh thyme, leaves only (optional)
2 cups milk
2 cans sustainable, water-packed tuna, drained and flaked
2 heaping cups fresh or frozen veggies (I used corn, peas, and a carrot)
1/2 cup cheddar cheese (optional, I left it out but will include it next time)

Beaten egg for brushing on crust (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Melt the butter in a big saucepan and saute the onion over medium-low until it softens up. Sprinkle in the flour, a tablespoon at a time, blending it in with a fork after each addition. Cook another minute until you have a paste, adding in your salt and pepper and other seasonings. (*I did not measure my seasonings, so this really just means season to taste with whatever herbs and spices you have handy.)

Stirring with your fork, slowly pour the milk in, whisking it up to blend it with the flour. Make sure you get the lumps out so it's nice and smooth. Keep stirring it for a few more minutes until it simmers and thickens up like white gravy. At that point, stir in everything else except, duh, the pie crust. Shut off the heat and let the filling sit aside while you roll out the crust.

Take about a fourth of the crust and roll it out thin. Using a bowl as a cutter or a guide, cut circles out of the crust and line the muffin tin, making sure that the crust sits against the bottom and walls of each cup. Leave a bit hanging over the edges of each cup, trim up the rest, and keep rolling up your trimmings with additional dough until you've got the tin lined up.

Now gently spoon the filling into the muffin cups. You should have just enough filling for a dozen muffin pies - go ahead and pile them up, it's okay if the filling mounds up a little higher than the muffin cup. That's what the top crust is for. Once the pies are all filled, roll out the rest of the crust and use a glass or another smaller guide to cut circles for the top crust. Lay each circle on top of each pie, pinch around the edges to seal, and trim off the excess. Brush with a little beaten egg if you want a golden crust, then use the tip of a sharp knife to poke a few holes in the top. Bake for 30 minutes.

When the muffin pies are done, carefully run a butter knife around the outside edges if you need to loosen them up, and gently move them to a plate. You can also hold a large plate upside-down over the pan and carefully flip the pan over so the muffins slide out upside-down. Let them cool a bit, eat one right away, and let the rest come to room temperature before you wrap them up individually and pop 'em in the freezer or fridge.

This will make you 12 regular-sized muffins or 6 of those big ones.

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