Potpies and Other Encores
by Prof. Steve Holzinger
I think it was Roy Andries de Groot who said that there were no leftovers from his family meals, but that often, foods that had played starring roles when first served, were called back for an encore. Some foods, like soups and stews are well known to taste better on the second day, as the flavors need some time to marry. Sometimes I buy extra because of a good buy in the market. Who can pass up a special on fine, fresh chicken at a thrifty price, knowing that it is a sure hit? It is hardly any extra work to make two, and then encore it a day or so later. Saves money, saves work, and tastes great.
One such meal my family has always loved is Chicken Pot Pie. Our favorite way to have it in my home is with crisp flaky pie dough, made with butter, but baked separately, and served on the plate under the filling. You can make the pot pie covers a little bigger than the size of the casserole that you will serve them in, and bake them on a sheet pan till done. Then, you can slip them on top when you show the dish. The top will stay crisp and never get soggy this way. My pie crust for pot pie has extra butter in it, so that if I decide to put the crust on the pie and bake it in the oven, it will resist getting soggy. Steam vents cut in the top also help. I like to put plenty of gravy in a pot pie, so I stick a number eight star tube (that's a big one) in the steam vent in the center of the pie. This gives the gravy a little extra room to rise before it boils over.
What you need to do is roll out the pie dough a little bigger than the casserole used, fold it in half and punch out a half circle the size of a quarter, for your steam vent, at the center of the fold. Then egg wash the rim of the casserole (using 1 egg, 2 tbs water, pinch of salt and a drop of oil, beaten well) and lay the folded dough over the centerline of the casserole. This allows you to position it precisely to fit. Then unfold the dough to cover the casserole, and fold under the excess dough, and pinch it to the rim. Use your left thumb and forefinger together behind the dough to make a V, and the right forefinger to press the dough into this V. Use the remaining egg wash to brush on the piecrust before baking. This will glaze it a mouthwatering golden brown.
Chicken Pot Pies
- Preparing the Bird for the Pie
- Using "Encore" Roast Turkey or Beef in a Pot Pie
- "All Gone Pudding," Holiday Fruit Cake and Plum Pudding
© 1997, Steve K. Holzinger. All rights reserved.
This page originally published as part of the electronic Gourmet Guide between 1994 and 1998.
Copyright © 2007, Forkmedia LLC. All rights reserved.
Modified October 2007