Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pot Pie on Pi Day! (and with Sausage!)

Monday was Pi day, 3-14...aka 3.14. Channel your inner math geek. To tell you the truth, I forgot this year as I was home from work, and didn't watch the news so I didn't hear any of the usual Pi day jokes or announcements. The only reason I remembered is because one of my friends posted up a message on Facebook saying that in honor of Pi day, her family was having their annual chicken pot pie dinner.

I thought that it was so adorable that they had a tradition for this random day in March, and it also made me want to make my own pot pie for dinner. I did a quick search for recipes, to see if I could find something "different."

I found this one for vegetable pot pie. It was easy enough, and I had all the ingredients but two - two that were easy enough to get. Since I was heading to the store anyway, I added those ingredients to my list and off I went. And I was excited that this gave me an excuse to finally use the remaining pie crust I had frozen in my freezer for quite a while.

I felt like this needed something with more substance, but didn't want to use chicken or turkey like normal. Instead, we had mango chicken sausage in our freezer and I felt that was make a new and different taste to the pot pie. And, it did. It ended up turning out pretty great, so I am glad I thought to pair this with my dish.


1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of potato soup **
1 (15 ounce) can of mixed vegetables ***
½ cup milk
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 (9 inch) prepared pie crusts – thawed if frozen kind
1 egg, lightly beaten
Dash of water
1 link of chicken mango sausage from Trader Joes, sliced and diced

** note… I had trouble finding cream of potato soup in a can near me so I found a pouch of powder cream of potato soup, where I had to add water to it and heat. So I made that batch first and let it cool down.

***I also bought a can of white potatoes and diced up a few to throw into the pot pie for some extra tater-ness.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C)

In a pie dish, lay out the bottom crust.

In a medium bowl, combine potato soup, vegetables, sausage, potato, milk, thyme and black pepper.

Spoon filling into bottom pie crust.

Cover with top crust and crimp edges to seal.

Slit top crust (if desired, and looking back, I wish I slit a Pi sign, not an X!).

Prepare egg wash by beating the egg and mixing it with a little bit of water. Brush over the top crust.

Bake for 45 minutes – remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

My husband and I were both pleasantly surprised at how the addition of the sausage turned out and this ended up being a very quick and easy dish that I threw together in the afternoon.

The picture below is the beautiful pot pie that my friend (the one who inspired me to cook my own pot pie) made. And below that, is the very detailed recipe she used to make her pot pie entirely from scratch - very impressive!! I don't know if I could pull that off just yet. So check out her recipe and hopefully you are confident enough to try it from scratch! She used Mark Bittman's recipe from his cookbook How to Cook Everything.

And, thanks for inspiring me JT!


1 whole chicken, 3-4 pounds, trimmed of excess fat
2 onions, quartered
3 bay leaves
10 whole black peppercorns
1 recipe Savory Tart Crust (below), chilled
2 tablespoons butter, plus more for greasing the baking dish
1 cup pearl onions, peeled (frozen are fine)
2 large or 4 small to medium carrots, diced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh sage or 1 teaspoon dried sage
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup cream
1 cup peas (frozen are fine; don't bother to thaw)
1 egg beaten

1: Put the chicken and onions in a large pot with just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then immediately reduce the heat to medium-low. Skim any foam that rises to the surface. Add the bay leaves, peppercorns, and a generous pinch of salt. Simmer until the chicken and vegetables are nearly tender and the chicken is cooked through, about 45 minutes; the bird is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 155-165

2: Remove the chicken to cool and save the cooking liquid. (This is a good time to make the tart dough if you haven't already done so.)

3: Remove the chicken meat from the bones, roughly chop or pull into pieces, and reserve. Return the carcass to the pot (break the pieces up a bit so they're all submerged, but don't add any more water), and bring the liquid back to a boil. Reduce the heat so the liquid bubbles steadily and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or so. Strain into a wide pot, bring the liquid to a boil, and reduce until you have about 1 1/2 cups, 10 to 30 minutes, depending on how much you started with. (At this point, the chicken and cooking liquid may be stored separately in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.) If you're baking the pie now, heat the oven to 375 and generously grease a 2-quart baking dish.

4: Put 2 tablespoons butter or oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. When the butter is melted or the oil is hot, add the onions and carrots and cook, stirring frequently, until just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in the flour; continue cooking and stirring until it just turns tan. Add teh sage and cook and stir for another minute. (At this point you can refrigerate the vegetable mixture for up to a day, then reheat just before proceeding.)

5: Add the chicken-cooking liquid and the cream to the vegetable-flour mixture and turn the heat up to medium. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken, but don't let it come to a rolling boil. Taste and adjust the seasoning, turn off the heat, and stir in the chicken pieces and the peas. Put the mixture into the prepared baking dish. (At this point, you may cover and refrigerate the filling for up to a day; bring to room temperature before proceeding.)

6: Roll out the tart crust large enough to cover the baking dish. Lay it on top of the dish and flute it as for a piecrust or just leave it draped over the sides a little. Use a sharp knife to cut 3 or 4 vents in the top. Brush the top with the beaten egg. Bake for 50 or 60 minutes, until the crust is deeply golden and the filling is bubbling.

Savory Tart Crust

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons frozen or cold unsalted butter
1 egg yolk
3 tablespoons ice water, plus more if necessary

1: Combine the flour and salt in a food processor and pulse once or twice. Add the butter all at once; process until the mixture is uniform, about 10 seconds (do not overprocess). Add the egg yolk and process for another few seconds.

2: Put the mixture in a bowl and add 3 tablespoons ice water; mix with your hands until you can form the dough into a ball, adding another tablespoon or two of ice water if necessary (if you overdo it and the mixture becomes sodden, add a little more flour). form into a ball, wrap in plastic, and freeze for 10 minutes or refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (You can refrigerate for up to a couple of days or freeze, tightly wrapped, for up to a couple of weeks.)

3: Sprinkle a countertop with flour and put the dough on it; sprinkle the top with a little flour. Use a rolling pin to roll with light pressure from the center out. If the dough is sticky, add a little flour (if it continues to become sticky, and it's taking you more than a few minutes to roll it out, refrigerate or freeze again). Roll, adding flour and rotating and turning the dough as needed; use ragged edges of dough to repair any tears, adding a drop of water while you press the patch into place. The dough is ready when it is two inches larger than your baking dish.

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