Thursday, May 20, 2010

Challenge update: pot pie with the world's best biscuit recipe

As some in our reading public may know, we have been really busy lately... and so many cooking/eating events have come and gone without making it onto the blob. We keep hope alive, and take photos, in case of having time, a little of which I have right now.

I wanted to let everyone know, the challenge has been going really well. Almost all of the weird, semi-abandoned containers of who-knows-what have been rescued from the freezer, and with a couple minor (best not to think about it) exceptions, eaten! I want to share one of these with you.

It was some kind of beef stew to begin with, made with onions and carrots, and maybe some red wine. I think I made it (unless our dad gave it to us) but I can't remember when, no idea actually. It was in the freezer in a quart container, but there wasn't enough there to make a good meal for three hungry people. I decided to turn it into a pot pie, since we always have flour for making biscuits, and all that biscuit topping makes for more food for everybody!

So I peeled and cubed up 3 potatoes and 3 carrots, and par boiled them with some edamame in salted water, until tender. I mixed them in with the stew (thus doubling the volume of stew!) and then made my biscuit dough. This is the only baked-good recipe I have memorized (I should be ashamed if I can't remember it, since it has nearly nothing in it) (I love recipes with nearly nothing in them, have you noticed?)

preheat oven to 450

2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable shortening or butter
2/3 cup milk

In a big-ish bowl mix the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the shortening or butter, and using either a fork or a pastry blender, cut the fat into the flour until most of it is broken up, some pieces looking about the size of a pea, but a lot of it can be even smaller. It should look like crumb topping.
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the milk. Use your fork to mix it around and get it evenly mixed in. Now here's the step it took me years of biscuit making to really get - even though they say you shouldn't over-work short dough like this, you also shouldn't under work it, did you know that?? So turn out your sort of shaggy looking dough onto a clean countertop and knead it - just maybe 5 times, just till it holds together. Then you roll it out, cut it into the shapes you want (I tend to cut it into squares these days because I hate re-rolling scraps), put them on a baking sheet and bake for about 12 minutes, until golden brown.
For the pot pie, I just laid it on top of the stew in a baking dish, and baked it all together for about 15 minutes. It was good.

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