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So, Pie

Who doesn’t love pie? If you don’t love pie, get out. There’s a bus to Pluto in five minutes, go. For the rest of you…halfpie

Today we’re talking about savory pie, not sweet pie. I may cover some sweet pie soon though, since Thanksgiving approaches. (But also, cheesecake? Because pumpkin cheesecake. I digress.)

Fall rolls around though, and predictably, I find myself craving this pie, which I’m pretty sure I got from, of all things, a Rachael Ray magazine. But I’ve modified this sucker, because it needed some mods, yo.

Find the crust of your soul. The original pie recipe called for frozen puff pastry, which will also work, but c’mon. Make your crust! Pie crust really used to freak me out. I think part of it is finding what works for you in terms of taste and texture and assembly. What works for me is the Smitten Kitchen All Butter Really Flaky Pie Dough. It’s easy, it’s peasy, I have never had it fail. You can flip through my photos of the first time I made it here! I use this crust for both sweet and savory pies.

My not-so-secret secret for baking the crust perfectly. Whatever kind of pie you’re doing, here’s how I bake it: bottom oven shelf, with a pre-heated sheet pan. Set your pie plate on top of that. Bake. Before I did this, my bottom crust often turned out soggy. This really helps the bottom crust get hot enough, no matter how much filling you have sitting on top of it.

So, savory pie innards, with some notes:

2 pounds of ground MEAT. Two pounds is a lot in a pie. I often only use one, and fill with more veggies. I also often use a combo of meats, depending what I feel like, i.e. turkey/beef, beef/sausage. You can also use all sausage, which makes an amazingly rich pie. Spicy is also good. You can also do this pie with veggies only. Just use more!

Veggies: can be any combo you love best. The original pie called for: carrots, onion, celery, baking potato. This is an awesome combo. I have also been known to add leeks and peas. If you quarter Brussels sprouts, they also work well. Quantity depends on what flavors you like best; last night, I used half a large onion, four stalks of celery, and one baking potato. Most important: just be sure everything is chopped the same relative size, because cooking science.

Also: garlic, 1/2 cup dark beer or stock, 8 ounces of cheese. The original recipe called for ONE measly clove of garlic. Ahem. That needed boosting. This is fabulous with the dark beer, but since I don’t usually have that on hand, stock is a super easy replacement. Beef, chicken, veggie. Whatever. This pie is casual. As to cheese, I usually lean toward sharp cheddar, but Gouda is also amazing.

Also: other spices? Salt, pepper, whatever you dig. I love adding thyme to the veggies as they cook and plucking the stems out before baking. Bay leaf, yum! You’ll also sprinkle the top of your crust with something before baking. Salt/pepper is lovely. I also like herbs de Provence because I’m snooty.

Method of Assembly!: Preheat your oven (and your sheet pan) to 375.

In a big skillet, drizzle some olive oil and add your chopped potato and carrots. I let these cook five-ish minutes because they take longer than anything else. Add your celery, onion, garlic, and whatever else you may be using. Season your veggies up as you will. I give these guys 5-7 minutes more, and then add my meats. Cook thoroughly! Sometimes I add some stock here, to help that potato and carrot start to soften some. When your meat is cooked, drain any excess liquid.

Lower your heat, add your beer or stock (y’know, water is probably also fine if that’s all you have on hand!). Let that simmer up for ten-ish minutes. Stir in your grated cheese. Ponder the way it melts into everything. Know that you are going to be eating amazing pie soon. When the cheese is all melty, remove your veggies from the heat, let sit.

Rolling zee crust: don’t panic, you got this. If you did what Smitten Kitchen told you to do, take out  round of dough. Flour your surface (cutting board, counter, whatever), flour your rolling pin, and roll. You want a 12″ circle, or thereabouts. Place in the bottom of your pie plate. Admire the overhanging dough. Know that you will have some leftover scraps, and mmm baking up pie dough scraps is a treat in itself. Roll your second round of dough. Using a slotted spoon to drain any extra liquids, transfer your filling into the bottom crust! Lay the top crust on top.

Not panicking nope: Your crust should overhang the edge. Trim it up until it’s even with your pie plate. You can roll your edge, you can pinch your edge, you can find a plethora of finishes on this here Internet. You can brush your crust with egg wash if you like, but I usually drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with herbs. Cut some vents in your pie top so it doesn’t asplode. Tuck that pie into the oven on your preheated pan!

45 minutes should see it perfectly baked. The original recipe tells you to let it sit for 15 minutes before eating and while this is logical, it’s difficult, because PIE.


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