To celebrate our two year anniversary we decided to go back to the beginning and repeat the first delicious entry into the Dim Sum Series. The Java Junkie set the bar high with this amazing and beautiful chicken pot pie.
I wanted to honor her hard work with a pot pie that was delicious but still distinctly me. That can only mean one thing.....Crab Pot Pie.
(What? Doesn't everybody have a crab dish?)
I am not the first to do crab pot pie. Savory pies with seafood fillings have a long history in a country with as much coast land as we have. Frankly it's just taking the best things about a chicken and turkey pot pie and making a couple of adjustments. Oh and the dish? That was a gift from my culinary godmother that I wasn't sure I was ever going to use but it was absolutely perfect here. I don't have a recipe I can actually link up. There are recipes out there on the web, just google and you'll find them. Instead I'll just describe what went into my crab pot pie.
(What? Doesn't everybody have crab cookie cutters?)
First the crust. As you know from the Java Junkie's pot pie, she uses puff pastry for her crust. I haven't had a lot of experience with puff pastry and I wanted something a little more rustic. I went with Cook's Illustrated Savory Pie Dough crust. It was enough dough to cover my big plate of pot pie and still have enough for my little crab plate. The next decision I had to make was what vegetables to add to the filling? This is the great thing about making your own food, it's put together with exactly the vegetables you like in the amount you want. I'm big on potatoes so that was a must, carrots are good, some green beans and mushrooms joined the mix. I caught a break at Whole Foods when they happened to have fresh English peas. Nice fat pods too. Now most pot pies like throwing in some celery but crab and celery don't mix, at least in my kitchen they don't. Instead I opted for leeks and shallots. So I sauteed the mushrooms, leeks, shallots, carrots and green beans in some butter until they were just soft. I took those out of the pan and added a little more butter, my finely diced potatoes and some seafood stock that I made from crab and shrimp shells. I cooked the potatoes until they were almost tender. Took them from the pan and added two tablespoons of butter. When the butter had just melted, I sprinkled in two tablespoons of flour and stirred until well mixed. I slowly whisked in a cup of milk and stirred that until it thickened up. Then I slowly added a cup of chicken stock, stirring until thick and finally finished with a cup of the seafood stock. It was slightly thick and smooth. I seasoned with kosher salt, white pepper and a healthy dose of Old Bay to taste. Once I got the taste I was looking for, I added my vegetables back into the sauce. Lastly I added some fresh parsley and thyme and set the mixture aside.
Now for the meat. You could use just about any sort of meaty seafood, shrimp, lobster and of course crab. The place where I buy my crabs did have blue crabs available....but it would have been a lot more work intensive to cook and shell enough blue crabmeat to make my pot pie. I chose the dungeness crab because it's much easier to handle and the meat can be extracted in nice big chunks perfect for my pie. I bought a two and a half pounder that gave me just the right amount of meat especially when you use the clawmeat. You want that meat to stand up in texture and flavor against your vegetables. So I put my vegetable and sauce mixture in my baking dishes, gently placed lumps of crabmeat down into the mixture and then topped it with the crust. Brushed the crusts with an egg wash, slit some air vents in the crust and baked it for about 20 - 25 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
Obviously not everyone is a crab freak like I am. But if you are, you would love this dish and by extension....me. The crust is incredibly flaky and buttery, the crabmeat is sweet, substantial and peppery from the Old Bay, the vegetables luscious with sauce but still fresh and savory with the taste of parsley and thyme.
Part of me is really sorry none of you can taste this amazing pot pie right out of the oven and an even bigger part of me is glad you're not here to fight me for seconds and thirds. I would like to say thank you to all past participants of Dim Sum Sundays and I look forward to many more years of culinary adventures with all of you.
HAPPY DIM SUM SUNDAY ANNIVERSARY!!!!!