We had a pound of fresh, ground venison (not to mention the extra 30+lbs of various cuts in the freezer) and I wanted to use it. We had recently visited Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan and had some amazing Pork Apple Pie with the most delicious crust at the Eagle Tavern. I haven't been able to get that crust out of my head since then. So when I realized I had to make something similar, pot pie was the first thing in my head. I got the crust recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction. I also adapted her Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie recipe for the ingredients I have, mainly venison. I highly recommend looking at her recipe and instructions, she has very detailed pictures. This is only a review of her recipes.
This is a two part post. The first part will be the crust, and the second part will be the filler. The Pot Pie Filler ingredients and directions are adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction. The crust is direct from her site. She also uses this crust for pie. I have been using the pie crust from PickYourOwn.org, but I always like trying new things.
- 2 and 1/2 cups (315g) all-purpose flour
- 1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 6 Tablespoons (90g) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
- 3/4 cup (154g) vegetable shortening, chilled
- 1/2 cup (120ml) ice water
- Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add the butter and shortening.
- Using a pastry cutter (the one I own) or two forks, cut the butter and shortening into the mixture until it resembles coarse meal (pea-sized bits with a few larger bits of fat is OK). A pastry cutter makes this step very easy and quick.
- Measure 1/2 cup (120ml) of water in a cup. Add ice. Stir it around. From that, measure 1/2 cup (120ml) of water-- since the ice has melted a bit. Drizzle the cold water in, 1 Tablespoon (15ml) at a time, and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon after every Tablespoon (15ml) added. Do not add any more water than you need to. Stop adding water when the dough begins to form large clumps. I always use between 1/3 cup (75ml) and 1/2 cup (120ml) of water.
- Transfer the pie dough to a floured work surface. The dough should come together easily and should not feel overly sticky. Using floured hands, fold the dough into itself until the flour is fully incorporated into the fats. Form it into a ball. Divide dough in half. Flatten each half into 1-inch thick discs using your hands.
- Wrap each tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours (and up to 5 days).
- When rolling out the chilled pie dough discs to use in your pie, always use gentle force with your rolling pin. Start from the center of the disc and work your way out in all directions, turning the dough with your hands as you go.
Pot Pie Filler Ingredients:
- 1 recipe homemade pie crust
- 1-2lbs ground venison
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter
- 1 chopped onion
- 1 minced garlic bulb
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- Salt to taste
- Black Pepper to taste
- Basil to taste
- Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
- 1 and 3/4 cups beef broth (homemade if possible)
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 1 cup frozen peas
Pot Pie Filler Directions:
- Prepare the pie crust as directed above and according to Sally
- In a large skillet, cook the butter, onions, and garlic over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until the onions are translucent and the butter is lightly browning. Whisk in the flour, seasonings, beef broth, and milk. Cook and whisk until no flour lumps remain, then simmer over medium-low heat until thick.
- Preheat oven to 425F degrees.
- Sally says, "After the pie dough has chilled: On a floured work surface, roll out 1 half of the chilled pie dough. Turn the pie crust dough about a quarter turn after every few rolls until you have a circle 12 inches in diameter. Carefully place the dough into a 9-inch pie dish. Tuck it in with your fingers, making sure it is smooth. With a small and sharp knife, trim the extra overhang of dough and discard. Place the vension mixture on top. Top with frozen peas. Pour gravy over top. Roll out 2nd half of pie crust dough just as you did the first. Cover the pie with the 2nd crust and trim the extra overhang off the sides. Seal the edges by crimping with a fork or your fingers. With a small and sharp knife, slice a few small slits in the top crust for steam to escape."
- Bake for 32 - 38 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.
I recommend an apron. I always forget to put mine until until I wipe flour all over my jeans.
In her original recipe, Sally does not recommend using milk because it may make the gravy type filling to be too thin. I didn't have half and half or heavy cream, though I imagine they would add to the richness tremendously, I used whole milk. We don't normally have milk at all because regular milk and I are not friends. A small amount cooked in something usually doesn't bother me. Anyway, it was what I had and the gravy stuff thickened up nicely. I imagine using skim would be like using water...
I don't measure my seasonings. I use the hand measuring method, which is not accurate, but it's close. You basically just have to learn what a tablespoon looks like in the palm of your hand. Same with the teaspoon. That's why I don't have precise measurements listed. If you think it needs more salt after you've tasted it, add salt. Same with pepper and any other seasoning.
I didn't make my crust thin enough, so the balance of the pies was more toward the crusty side.
I don't have a lot of the proper tools for things like this, but it was easy enough to improvise. I don't have a rolling pin, so I used a glass with flat sides. I don't have a pastry cutter, but the forks worked well enough.
I didn't have unsalted butter for the crust, so I used salted.
Well, this was basically amazing. The filling was just... I couldn't stop eating it. The pies may be a little empty because I kept snacking on the filling.
The crust was too thick, but that's my own fault. It's still not quite the flavor I was going for, but it's richer smoother than the crust I have been using.
The directions were easy to follow, and there was plenty of time in between parts of this recipe so that I could do other things. I am a multi-tasker, so that is a big perk for me.
I will definitely make this again... and again.