On a New Year's Day not too long ago, the hubster and I found ourselves, laughing uncontrollably with friends as we waited in an all too long line outside our favorite San Francisco brunch joint. In hindsight, I giggle at our cliched urban yuppie'ness, what with our black, plastic-framed glases and wool peacoats. In typical downtown fashion, we'd spent the night before, having dinner in a large, boisterous group, decked out in sparkly cocktail attire. We rang in the new year under the Bay Bridge, watching the fireworks and running home in the rain.
Every now and then, there are times we begin our sentences with, "Remember when we lived in the city and...". There is something about San Francisco, with its unpretentious vibrancy, its diversity, its energy. Something almost magical.
This year on New Year's Day, we "built" a fire in our gas fireplace for an uncommonly cold Bay Area day. We made up wacky dances to Sesame Street musicals. We made silly faces, tickled little man mercilessly, and giggled too much. And at noon, when breakfast seemed so terribly long ago, I whipped up these mini pot pies. Not the dainty appetizer pot pies I'd made in the past but rather down home comfort food pot pies.
I pulled out the ramekins because it felt like the perfect day to use colored dishes. I threw in some broccoli because while it was unconventional in pot pie filling, it just seemed right to start the new year with some greens. It felt too fussy to mess with butter or shortening on a day as simple as this. So I went out on a limb and tried a simple pie crust moistened with milk and oil. And although the dough looked a bit too craggy, it all came together just so.
That's what I like about life. It's always filled with surprises. The sparkly young city life as great as the comfortable suburban existence. The New Year's Day spent out on the town equally memorable as the one at home. And the amazingly flaky five-minute pie crust any grandmother would be proud of.
Here's to more adventures, more memories, and definitely more pot pie. Happy New Year, friends. Thank you for being a part of this journey. I am so glad you are here.
2 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cups vegetable oil
1/3 cup whole milk
1 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
2 tbs. butter
2 tbs. flour
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup half and half
1 cup carrots, diced
1 large potato, diced
1 cup broccoli florets
Salt and pepper
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
For the crust, mix the salt and flour. Mix the oil and milk in a large measuring cup. Slowly add the liquid to the flour mixture. Knead gently until dough just comes together. It will be craggy. Do not freak out. Roll out the dough in between two sheets of waxed paper. If you are making one large pot pie, divide dough in half and roll out in two batches (you can do a top and bottom crust, or just a top crust. If you do a top crust only, you'll have half a batch of dough left over which is pretty much perfect to make a pot pie tomorrow). If you are making mini pot pies, divide dough into approximately 10 balls and roll out individually.
For the filling, parboil carrots and potatoes until they are half cooked. Put them on a plate. In the same pan, melt the butter. Slowly whisk in the flour to make a roux. Cook flour and butter mixture on low heat, stirring constantly. Whisk in the chicken stock and milk. Throw all the veggies in, including the potatoes and carrots. Cook on low heat until the veggies are cooked. Season filling with salt and pepper.
Pour filling into ramekins or one large oven-safe dish. Take off the the top piece of wax paper off the dough but leave the bottom piece of wax paper in place. Carry the dough by the bottom piece and gently place it on the dish. Brush dough with beaten egg wash. Cut a slit in the dough to let out steam. Bake for approximately 30-35 minutes until golden brown.
Crust recipe adapted from Food.com.