Sunday, March 13, 2011

Dim Sum Sunday Anniversary - Pot Pies

Two years ago we started a little thing called Dim Sum Sunday. It was a challenge really, to make something. We set a theme, you made it your own and shared the results with all the world. We grilled, we constantly explored the vast world of fruits and vegetables, we even entered the Land of the Peeps.

basket full of peeps

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.

Crab pot pie 1
(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.

Crab pot pie 4
(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.

Crab pot pie 10

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.

Crab pot pie 9

Obviously not everyone is a crab freak like I am. But if you are, you would love this dish and by 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.

Crab pot pie 6

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.



MakingSpace said...

I'm kind of speechless at the beauty and humor of this dish - and definitely wishing I could fight you for seconds...

I'm up too!

Big Shamu said...

I'm kinda speechless too but it's because my mouth is full of crab pot pie.

froggy said...

In the frozen north we used to run crab pots once in a while. We'd bring them in and give them to the guy who ran the boat dock. He had a big pot and cooked them for us. I'm sure my mom would have loved your recipe.

Big Shamu said...

Hmmmm crab pots. My mouth just started watering at the thought of a huge pot of hot dungeness crabs.

Intuitive Eggplant said...

Just spectacular, Shamy! If I had had time to participate this week, I was leaning toward a seafood pot pie myself. The ingredients in yours sound magnificent and as always, your photos are stellar. I adore that crab dish – a thoughtful gift from a special friend – and perfect for this recipe.

Off to check out everyone else. Happy DSS Anniversary!

Buzz Kill said...

You know, my first inclination was to go with a lobster pot pie and I actually had a recipe, but then I stumbled into the
Vegetable Beef Potpie and well, that was definitely cheaper and easier.

The crab potpie sounds great and looks like something you'd get from an upscale restaurant. Thanks for continuing the Dim Sum Sundays. I know everyone enjoys them - especially me.

Happy DSS!

Dani said...

I'm so making this!!!!!!

Happy Anniversary Shamy! It's been a great time cooking with everyone.

I'm up over at my place with chicken pot pie.

Big Shamu said...

Thanks Eggy. Sorry you couldn"t join in this weekend but thanks for your past participation. Maybe we'll see you at a future Sunday.

Big Shamu said...

Buzz, your pot pie is amazing. Thanks for being a long time participant.
Also thanks for the photography comments, I worked hard to match how wonderful that crab pot pie tasted.

Big Shamu said...

Avert you eyes Baby Shamy!!!!!!!

MakingSpace said...

I just wanted to come back and say that my children went NUTS over the photos and did a whole skit around the first one, the little crab dish full of pot pie. LOL They loved the pics. Thanks for today. Awesome, happy DSS Anniversary!

moi said...

Happy Anniversary!

I accidentally stumbled upon what I think would make an excellent pot pie crust when I followed a Julia Child recipe ( for galette dough. I didn't have cornmeal in the house, so I Cuisinart-ed a bunch of plain Doritos instead. The crust came out incredibly buttery/flakey, very much like a puff pastry.

Once I'm back on my regular feed, I'm going to try using it as a pot pie dough.

In the meantime, squirreling away the crab recipe . . .

Big Shamu said...

Happy Dim Sum Sunday Anniversary Moi!

That sounds like an interesting pot pie dough and since cornmeal is always somewhere in my house I can certainly give this a try.

Thanks for dropping by for Dim Sum Sunday.

Susan said...

I can't believe I missed this. Darn.
I love pot pie. Happy Anniversary to all and long live DSS xoxo Susan

Big Shamu said...

Hey Susan, it's ok, I'm sure you were busy painting lovely things. Thank you so much for participating in past DSS and we look forward to future dishes from the Great White North.

Dani said...

We are such a sweet bunch of friends.

MakingSpace said...

Agree with Dani!!

froggy said...

Dropping into the blog. Can you send me an email
I have some info for you but am taking it off the blog.


Big Shamu said...

done, froggy.

Boxer said...

I took my Nephew to real Dim Sum, but I was tempted to try a pot pie if I hadn't been gone all day. I hadn't thought of crab.... that's something I can actually eat and tofu just seemed too boring.

Happy Anniverary to your Dim Sum Sunday. I wish you many happy left overs.

Big Shamu said...

Hmmmmm real Dim Sum. What a treat. Hope he enjoyed it. I can totally see you using crab....but knowing your non-love for vegetables I'm wondering what else would be in your personal pot pie?

Happy Dim Sum Anniversary Boxer.