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Monday, May 10, 2021

Anne's Cookbook: Corned Beef Pot Pie

 

My family looks forward to St. Patrick's Day not because we are Irish, we aren't, but because we love a good boiled dinner which includes a yummy, stringy corned beef which are readily available in markets that time of year.  I usually cook it all day in the crock pot. This year prior to the March holiday I purchased not one but two bags of corned beef from my local grocer thinking I could make one later for the family since the bag clearly said "Use or freeze by May 12, 2020." I figured it would be a treat for us to eat this family favorite two months later. Why save favorite meals for just the holidays, right? Best laid plans. Unbeknownst to us the second corned beef kept pickling in the bag the whole time. Instead of enjoying the meal, all of us filled up on cabbage and potatoes barely able to gag down the meat because it was so sour. Hmm. What to do with the leftovers? Clearly no one was going to jump for joy at the prospect of a second boiled dinner as leftovers the next night. Then this thought hit me.

I've been wanting to try a Corned Beef Pot Pie ever since I heard a reference to it on the "Call the Midwife" series. When I looked on-line for a recipe all the ones I found looked disgusting. Clearly I would not waste my time making that horrible looking thing. But now that I had a goodly portion of corned beef on my hands why not create my own recipe? I could tweak a favorite chicken pot pie recipe and see how it turns out. This recipe is the result. I must say, it turned out quite well and will be better next time I make it with not-so-sour beef.


Corned Beef Pot Pie

Prep Time: 

  • 1 hour when using leftover/already cooked corned beef
  • Cooking time: 35 minutes
  • Servings: 8

Notes before you get started: 

  1. First, I highly recommend that you make homemade pie dough. Why waste all your time making a delicious filling and then add it to substandard pie dough? I've included my mother's No-Fail Pie Dough recipe below. It is easy to make and tolerates quite a bit of handling. 
  2. Second, get all your ingredients out, chopped, measured, and lined up on the counter before you start making your filling. The french term for this is "mise en place" and it means to have everything set up ready to go before you start cooking. You'll thank me for this advice when you are in the middle of making the filling at point when everything seems to happen all at once. 
  3. Chop carrots, onions, and potatoes into bite size pieces before cooking them. 
  4. Make the pie dough first. Line a deep dish pie pan with the first crust, cover the second crust readying it for use after the filling is made.

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2-2 cups peeled and diced potatoes 
  • 1- 1 1/2 cups peeled and sliced carrots 
  • 2/3 - 1 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup flour [60-65 gms] (I use organic)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth (I made mine with 1 1/2 tsp Beef Better that Bouillon added to 1 1/2 cup boiling water)
  • 2-3 cups chopped into bite size pieces or shredded cooked corned beef
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Pie dough, enough for a top and bottom crust
  • 1 egg beaten into a tsp water for egg wash

 No-Fail Pie Dough Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour [250 gms] (I use organic); set aside 1/3 c. to use to make a paste with the water
  • 3/4 cup Crisco
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c. cold water

Filling Instructions:

  • Mise en place (Set up):
    • Preheat over to 425 degrees
    • Make pie dough, fitting the bottom crust into a deep-dish pie pan
    • Place diced potatoes and carrots in a small sauce pan, cover with water, and bring to a boil for 5-6 minutes to par cook or soften them. Drain and set aside.
    • Chop or shred meat. Set aside.
    • Dice a half of a large onion.
    • Measure out beef broth, milk, flour, peas, and spices. Line up on counter in the order you will use them.
  • Melt 1/2 cup butter in a large saute pan. Add diced onions and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add spices (salt, pepper, thyme) then sprinkle flour on top of melted butter and onions and cook for a minute to make a roue. Stir to evenly cook the flour.
  • Whisk in beef broth and then the milk. When smooth, add the potatoes and carrots and let simmer for a few minutes. Check seasoning and adjust.
  • Stir in meat and peas. Turn off heat.
  • Pour filling into prepared crust. Mounding is fine as the ingredients cook down a bit and it makes for a fuller pie.
  • Place second crust on the pie, trim excess, and crimp top and bottom layers together with fingers to seal. 
  • Brush egg wash on top of the crust. Make several slits with a knife so that the steam can escape.
  • Place pie on the middle rack of the oven. I usually place a baking sheet one rack below in the oven, just in case the pie leaks. 
  • Bake for approximately 30-35 minutes until golden brown. If the bottom crust isn't browning, you may need to gently place foil over the top pie crust and leave the pie in the oven for a few more minutes to allow the bottom to brown up a bit. Nothing worse than a soggy bottom.
  • Remove from oven and let stand for 10-15 minutes to allow for easier cutting. (Honestly, we don't wait this long usually!)
  • Enjoy with a side salad or fruit.

No-Fail Pie Dough Instructions:

  • Measure out flour and salt. I think it works best to measure flour by weight if you have a kitchen scale. 
  • Remove 1/3 cup of the flour and place in a small bowl. To this add 1/4 water and mix to make a paste. Set aside
  • To the remaining flour cut in the Crisco using a pastry blender. Once the mixture is about the consistency of small peas, add the flour paste and work together until integrated. 
  • Divide the dough in half and roll out on a floured pastry board. Fit into pie pan.
  • Repeat for the top crust. Leave rolled crust on board until the filling is ready.
  • Fit second crust in pace, trim, crimp, egg wash, and make small slit to allow for steam.
  • Bake as directed.

Enjoy. This is a very flexible recipe and should work fine with chicken, turkey or even ground beef, just adjust the spices and the broth to fit the meat. The pie can be refrigerated before baking and cooked the next day, just add additional time if the contents are cold to start with. It makes a wonderful meal idea for shut-ins that you visit or make ahead of time to freeze if you are expecting company in the near future. Every time I've made a pot pie using the basics of this recipe I've received rave reviews for it. 

How did this one do using soured corned beef? My husband said that the other ingredients, especially if taken in the same bite really mellowed out the harshness of the meat flavor. And by the second day, after mellowing in the fridge, it was even better. Lesson learned, however, even if the label says "use of freeze by" a date several months in the future, I will never hang onto an uncooked corned beef for that long again.





2 comments:

  1. I'm afraid that the corned beef would have ended up in the trash here. Wasteful, I know. I can hear my late dad saying, "Waste not, want not." I'm not a huge fan of corned beef to start with. I love that you made something tasty out of it though. Impressive!

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    1. If it was horrible we could just pick out the meat and eat the pie as with its vegetables. We all like corned beef a lot and I usually make corned beef hash the second day or corned beef sandwiches with Swiss cheese and sauerkraut. The sourness of the meat gave me a chance to try this recipe out since we weren't willing to eat the meat any other way.

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