I’m resurfacing after a few tough weeks! Teething (sleepless) toddler, first colds of the season, work travel, and some more serious medical issues for Vivienne… it’s all been a little too much.
Lately, whatever the particular day requires of me has used up all available energy, not leaving much for elaborate cooking or creative projects. Though, we did totally pull it together for supper club this weekend!
We hosted, so that meant coordinating the menu and preparing the main course… possibly the ultimate fall meal: pot pies baked in individual pumpkins!
I shared some of the preparation on Instagram stories, and a number of people asked for more info. I’ll say that the Martha Stewart recipe we used IS delicious and totally has that wow factor you may want for a holiday meal or other special gathering — great presentation, a surprisingly light, lemony sauce, and the pumpkin cooks just enough that you can scrape a bit off the sides with each bite.
Really, really good… but not quick and easy.
If you’re up for a challenge, check out Martha’s <a href="http://Martha Stewart’s Menus for Entertaining“>Menus for Entertaining and give it a go! You’ll find it in the Halloween menu. (We used pie crust rather than puff pastry and peas instead of haricots verts — both personal preferences — and we poached 1 chicken instead of 6 quail in order to simplify.)
For those who’d like an easier variation, I’m sharing this modified recipe below: our simpler go-to pot pie filling, pumpkin assembly instructions, and I might even go so far as to suggest pre-made crust (gasp!).
Though, I really do think homemade pie crust is the greatest — and not that hard! Would a post dedicated to quick homemade pie crust be useful?
Easier Pumpkin Pot Pies
Makes 4 (generous) pumpkin pot pies — easily doubled for a larger dinner! One rotisserie or small roasting chicken would provide plenty of meat for 8 pot pies.
3-4 cups shredded chicken (rotisserie chicken, or poach/roast your own)
1 medium onion
2 large carrots
2 large parsnips
2 celery ribs
1 cup frozen peas
1 tsp chopped thyme
2 Tbsp butter
3 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup flour
Salt & pepper to taste
2 standard pie crust rounds
4 2-pound sugar pumpkins (we found good ones at Trader Joe’s)
Prepare the pumpkins:
Wash and dry the pumpkins, then turn each one on it’s side and slice off the top two inches or so. Discard the top. Scoop out the inside, shaving down the sides a bit if they’re very thick.
Make the Filling:
- Dice onion, carrots, celery, and parsnips into 1/2 inch pieces.
- Toss chopped veggies and thyme, butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a 3-4 quart pot over medium heat.
- Stir until butter melts, then cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender — around 15 minutes.
- Sprinkle vegetables with flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
- Stir in the stock, scraping up brown bits, and bring to a boil.
- Turn down the heat a bit and simmer until slightly thickened — about 3 minutes.
- Stir in the chicken and peas (they can still be frozen).
- Adjust seasoning to taste, plus a little extra salt, because your pumpkins will absorb a lot of it!
Assemble the Pot Pies:
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Scoop the filling evenly into your prepared pumpkins.
- Lightly beat 1 egg and a splash of water to make an egg wash; brush egg wash around the pumpkin rims (so pie crust will seal).
- Roll out pie crust and use a bowl and a sharp knife to cut out rounds for each pumpkin (you should get two pumpkin-sized rounds from each standard pie crust); gently press around the edges of each pumpkin to make sure the crust adheres.
- Use your knife to slice a steam hole in the top of the crust.
- Fancy option: use a little cookie cutter to cut out shapes from the leftover crust scraps; stick on with egg wash.
- Pop your assembled pot pies in the fridge for a minimum of 20 minutes, or the freezer for 10 — this helps the crust to hold its shape. (You can assemble these a couple hours in advance and just have them waiting in the fridge).
- Do a final brush of egg wash over the whole crust (this gives that shiny, golden look when baked)..
- Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
- Turn down to 350 degrees for another 35 minutes. (Keep an eye on the crust – toss a piece of foil over them if they’re getting too brown.)
Standard Pot Pie
If you’re wanting classic pot pie sans pumpkins, this filling recipe fits nicely into 2 regular pie plates. You can pop a single pie crust on top of each and follow the same baking instructions, as the temp/timing are primarily about baking the crust well. (We always skip the bottom crust, as it just seems way too heavy.) Stick a cookie sheet on the rack below in case of bubbling sauce!
You can also freeze them assembled in a pie plate with the crust unbaked — just make sure your filling has cooled to room temperature, then stick the whole thing in the freezer; wrap in plastic wrap once it’s frozen. You’ll have to add 15 minutes or so to the bake time if you stick it in the oven straight from the freezer.