Comfort food: could there be a more
descriptive two-word term for comestibles that just plain make you feel
good? No matter your cozy chow of choice, all seem to have one
characteristic in common: a creamy texture that goes down easy. Think
macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, the best meatloaf.
Another member of that list has to be
pot pie, a staple of many a middle-class, baby-boomer upbringing.
Remember those individual pie tins filled with mixed vegetables and
perfectly shaped cubes of meat swimming in a bubbly goo of tasty gravy?
After baking 45 minutes in the oven, I would dump mine onto a plate
upside-down, slash an “X” in the bottom and mix it all up with a splash
of milk. Man, were those tasty!
For some noshing nostalgia, head to the
B’Ville Diner, 18 E. Genesee St., Baldwinsville, where pot pies are an
occasional special. Or try Coleman’s Authentic Irish Pub, 100 S. Lowell
Ave., for the regular menu item known as Chicken Pub Pie.
Chef Howie Roberts at B’Ville Diner
says he tends to cook 20 pot pies at a time when they’re a weekly
special, usually in the wintertime. “I make my own crust and the pot
pie top, put the stew inside and serve with mashed potatoes,” he says.
Choices include turkey, beef or chicken but the rest of the filling
remains the same: fresh carrots and onions, mixed vegetables and the
yummy gravy that binds it all together.
When Roberts prepares it, the pot pies
are available at around 1 p.m., and they sell for $8.25 apiece. “The
menu is so big now that we run them as a special,” he explains. “It’s
something different diners can’t get on the regular menu.”
Over at Coleman’s, Chicken Pub Pie
appears as a standard menu item. For $7.99, diners can enjoy pulled
chicken cooked in a poulet sauce with fresh carrots and peas, and baked
in a casserole with a puff pastry topping. It is served with tasty
Irish fries. Like at the B’Ville Diner, it had been a special. But
unlike B’Ville, manager Dennis Coleman decided to make it a regular
menu item a few years back.
“We sell quite a bit of them for lunch
and dinner,” Coleman says. “It was a pretty popular dish when we ran it
as a special. People liked it enough that we put it on the regular
menu.” The pub pie still runs as a special, but only when Coleman mixes
up the filling and creates a beef or seafood version. Here’s the recipe
for the pub pie, straight from the Tipperary Hill landmark.
Coleman’s Pub Pie
Saute 10 diced carrots, 1 head diced celery and 1 medium yellow onion, diced, in oil over medium-high heat. Add 1 gallon chicken stock, 3 tablespoons salt, 2 tablespoons black pepper and 2 tablespoons granulated garlic to a large casserole dish. Mix in sauteed vegetables. Meanwhile, prepare a roux of 2 sticks of melted butter and 2 cups of flour. Remove from heat and stir into the dish. Add 1 pound bag frozen peas and meat from one cooked rotisserie chicken. Top with puff pastry. Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes. Makes 10 to 12 servings.
Shrimp Pot Pie
This recipe is from Food Network host Sunny Anderson, and is culled from www.foodnetwork.com.
1 tablespoon water
4 sheets puff pastry, thawed
Flour, for dusting
8 large (21 to 25) shrimp, shelled and deveined
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
6 mushrooms, sliced thin
2 sprigs fresh thyme
½ cup white wine
2 cups heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
3- and 4-inch metal rings (for cutting)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small
bowl, whisk egg and water until well blended. Lightly dust work surface
with flour. Unfold puff pastry and dock dough with a fork. Using 4-inch
rings, cut 16 circles. Set 4 circles on a nonstick baking sheet. These
are the base of the pot pies. Discard scraps. Using a 3-inch metal
ring, cut circles in the center of the 12 remaining circles. Remove 4
of the 3-inch circles to the prepared baking sheet. These are the tops.
Brush the outer edge of the 4-inch circles with the egg wash. Lay 1 of
the 12 rings on top. Brush egg wash on that ring and place another ring
on top. Repeat 1 more time until you have 3 rings stacked on top of
each other. Repeat with remaining circles until you have 4 assembled.
Brush the edges and tops with egg wash and bake in the middle of the
oven until golden, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, season the shrimp with
cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. In a medium saucepan over
medium-high heat, add oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Saute the shrimp, 1
minute per side. Remove shrimp and set aside. Add remaining butter to
the pan and saute carrots, celery, mushrooms and thyme until softened,
about 10 minutes. Add wine, bring to a simmer and cook until most of
the wine has evaporated. Add the cream and bring back to a simmer until
the sauce thickens to a gravy consistency, about 12 to 15 minutes.
Place the shrimp back into the sauce to coat. Remove thyme and season
with salt and white pepper. Ladle the shrimp mixture into the pastry
puff bowls and top with the smaller puff circles. Makes 4 servings.