Pulled Pork Tamale Pie With a Polenta Top!

Pie for dinner, it just doesn’t get any better than that.  Well, ok, maybe it does: Mexcian style pie for dinner! With Pulled Pork! Today’s pie is a Tamale Pie with pulled pork and polenta. Today’s pie is awesome. Today’s pie also happens to be gluten free! Today’s pie is the best.

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I love pulled pork and I love cheese and I love salsa and polenta and beans so, obviously, I love this pie. And so did everyone else in my family, including my starting-to-get-picky 3-year-old.

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This is a great comfort food style pie. It is warm and hearty and filled with meat. And it heats up great as leftovers! Plus I made too much pulled pork so I had leftovers of that too, which is just fine by me. I’m already looking forward to BBQ pulled pork sandwiches and pulled pork tacos 🙂 Anyway, back to this delicious pie…

Start by making the pork. It needs to boil for 2 hours so start early.

First get all your ingredients for flavoring your pork while it boils.

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Pulled Pork:

3-4 pounds pork shoulder or butt

4 T Olive Oil

2-3 teaspoons Salt

2-3 Cups chicken broth

3 tomatoes

1 large yellow onion

1 large purple onion

3 jalapenos

8-10 cloves garlic

2 limes

oregano (dry or fresh) to taste (I put 3 fresh sprigs)

Cumin to taste (I put about 1 teaspoon)

Canned Chipotle Peppers to taste (These will make it spicy and smokey, I used 2 peppers from the jar so my 3 year old could eat it, but I would probably have liked 4)

I made 4 pounds of pork, you probably only need to make 3 if you don’t want extra… but who doesn’t want extra pulled pork?

Cut the pork into chunks about the size of a deck of cards, maybe a little smaller, and cut out the big chunks of fat.

Rough chop 1 yellow and 1 purple onion, 3 tomatoes, 3 jalapenos, garlic cloves

Add olive oil to a large sauce pan and all the chopped veggies and any fresh spices

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Saute your veggies until soft

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Add chipotle peppers and dry spices

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Add the chicken broth. Mine was frozen from a chicken I had boiled on a different day.

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Bring to a boil and add your meat.

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Add the juice of 2 limes or lemons limes ar best but if they are super expensive because of a drought in California feel free to use lemons.

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Bring back to a boil for 1-2 minutes and then cover and reduce heat to LOW. Simmer for 2 hours. At the end of two hours your pork should be SUPER tender. I pulled mine out with tongs and if I wasn’t very gentle while lifting it would fall apart!

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Once you’ve separate all your pork from the broth shred it up in a large glass baking dish.

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I added about 1 1/2 cups of broth to the pork after I shredded it so it wouldn’t dry out in the oven.

Place on a high rack and bake at 450 F for 20 minutes so you get those nice crispy tips.

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While your pork is baking you can make your Polenta!

Polenta:

6 cups of water

2 t salt

1 3/4 C Corn Meal

3 T butter

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Bring water and Salt to a boil.

Add the Corn meal, sprinkling it into the water while whisking constantly.

Reduce heat to medium low and cook until it gets as thick as pudding, about 20 minutes. (It will harden up quite a bit after it cools slightly.)

Remove from heat and mix in butter.

Tada! Polenta is done.

Drain 1 can of pinto beans and heat in the microwave, covered, until hot.

Mix the beans with about 2 – 3 cups of pulled pork and fill the bottom of your deep dish pie pan.

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Pour your Polenta over the top, I covered the pork with about an inch of polenta and had some left over which I put in a pan and will eat with a different meal; create the proportion that you think you would like best.

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Add about 1 cup of shredded cheese of your choice to the top. I used a Colby/Jack mix and it was very good, but I may use mozzarella next time.

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Here is a side view so you can see my proportions. I would have liked a little more pork, I only used 2 cups, next time I would use 3.

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Bake at 350 for 15 minutes until cheese is melted and slightly browned. You might have to hit the broil button for the last 5 minutes.

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Wow. That’s cheese.

Serve right away while piping hot!

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Eat with your favorite salsa and hot sauce!

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Yum. Yum. Yum.

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Yum.

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Pie Day 8 – Cabbage and Sausage Pie – Success!!

Cabbage and Sausage pie: Success!

This pie is a fun and delicious meal.

I was served a cabbage pie almost 10 years ago and when it was brought out I remember thinking something like: Eeeew! Cabbage pie?? And then trying it and dreaming about it in fond confusion for 10 years until I made this similar one yesterday.

It is a hearty pie full of sausage, cheese, hardboiled eggs and cabbage and wrapped in a butter crust… yet somehow it feels almost light when it hits your belly. The smell of it will make your mouth water while it is baking, it tastes heavenly when you eat it, it will confuse your friends and family when you serve it, it is a fun pie.

And the prep is fairly quick and easy.

I pieced the recipe together from a number of different recipes that I found on-line, some that had sausage, some that didn’t, some that had egg and some that didn’t. I basically put in all the stuff that sounded good to me, and it worked out.

Crust

First, as always, make a double crust recipe and put it in the fridge for 3 hours minimum. I made a full butter crust this time because I like a substantial crust with my savory pie, but you can do whatever you like.

The Filling

First boil at least 4 eggs and set aside to cool. (they don’t have to be completely cold, just manageable. Eggs are hard to slice when really hot)

I made four because I only had four. I would probably double it next time, maybe even triple it.

Ingredients:

1 pound sweet italian sausage (the good kind that you can take out of the casing)

1 head green cabbage

1 bunch of fresh dill (about 1/4 -1/2 c)

1 yellow onion

4 oz cream cheese OR 6 oz of feta cheese (or both, be crazy!)

4-6 T olive oil or butter

Salt

Pepper

instructions:

Heat oven to 375 F (you don’t have to do this right away, I just wanted to put this somewhere that it would be easy to find. I would turn it on while you cook the cabbage)

Remove the sausage from the casing, breaking into pieces, and cook on medium heat until well browned.

I chopped it up much more than this as it cooked – to about the size that you would find if you ordered sausage on your pizza.

Once cooked through remove from pan and set aside.

Cut up the cabbage into coleslaw size pieces. I have always done a horrible job cutting up cabbage, so I looked up the best way to do it. If you are already great at chopping cabbage than you can scroll on past this little cabbage cutting tutorial.

Holding the cabbage stem side down, cut in half. Then cut each half in half again so you have 4 pieces with the stem split in 4 ways.

Cut the stem out of each wedge at an angle.

Lay the wedge down on the flat spot you made when you cut out the stem and cut thin slices from the bottom to the pointy top of the wedge.

Once you have cut the whole wedge, cut those little slices down the middle so they aren’t quite so long.

Do that to all of your cabbage.

Next cut up your onion into small pieces.

Then chop up your dill. It doesn’t have to be tiny, just chopped.

Mix all these ingredients together.

Next you’re going to wilt/cook the cabbage mix.

In a large fry pan (I used the same one I cooked the sausage in) put 2-3 T olive oil (or butter). If you can put all your cabbage mix in the pan, go for it (and double your olive oil/butter), I had to do two batches. Salt slightly during wilting.

Once all the cabbage mix has been softened and lightly browned mix it with the sausage and add a healthy sprinkle of black pepper. If you decide to use feta (I didn’t, but only because I forgot, I will next time) then crumble it and mix it in now.

As you can see in the picture below, I didn’t kill the cabbage, it was soft but not completely mangled.

Roll out your bottom pie crust and lay it in a 2 inch deep pie pan.

If you decide to use the creme cheese then mix it up so it spreads easily and spread it in the bottom of your pie crust. I thought I had enough regular cream cheese but it turns out I didn’t and needed to use chive and onion. It was fine but I think it would have been better with regular.

Slice the eggs. I used one of those fun egg slicer made specifically for slicing eggs.

Layer them over the cream cheese.

I only had enough for one layer, I would have prefered 3 or three layers.

Pile on your sausage and cabbage mix.

Lay top crust over the filling.

If you want to you can brush the top crust with an egg wash (egg white with a little water mixed in) this will make the crust look really pretty.

Cut some wholes in the top crust.

Place the pie on a baking sheet (to catch any drips) on the middle rack.

Bake for 45 minutes at 375 F

Remove and let cook slightly (10-15 minutes)

Cut (it’s ok if it’s a little juicy), Serve, Eat, Share, Enjoy!

Pie Day 3: Fish Pie – Success!!!

So this week was savory pie week. And aallll week I searched for savory pie recipes that look delicious. And aaalll week I thought, “Nothing good today, but surely I’ll find a delicious savory pie recipe tomorrow.” As the days wore on my worry level increased.

Apparently there just aren’t that many savory pies.

Or at least not many savory pie recipes.

But one I kept coming across was “fish pie” which didn’t sound great to me but is apparently very common comfort food in Brittan. And it has mashed potatoes on the top… yum! So.. Fish Pie!

I couldn’t find one recipe that I thought looked just right so I kind of mixed and matched and came up with something I found to be absolutely amazing. I don’t know what fish pie is supposed to taste like, but I loved mine, so I’m calling it a Success 🙂

First of all I have to apologize. I forgot to take very many pictures of the process. Plus it was really dark outside while I was cooking and the yellow lights in my house were not very flattering to the fishy insides of this pie, so even the ones I did take are kind of gross looking. So… I’m not going to post those pictures. I’ll just post this one I took this morning because I feel it accurately reflects the deliciousness of this pie.

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Guess what? This pie was super easy to make! So Even without pictures you can totally do it. And if you have any questions feel free to ask and I’ll make answer edits.

“Crust” 

Make Mashed Potatoes, heavy on the butter. I used three average sized potatoes, peeled, 6 tablespoons of butter, and a few splashes of milk until they were the consistency I like. This will go on top.

Filling

1 pound white fish (I used Cod)

1/2 pound smoked salmon

1 C milk

1 C fish broth (I used Veggie because that’s what I had on hand) 

1 Leek 

1 medium carrot 

2-3 T butter 

1/4 c flour

1 bay leaf

1 T fresh Parsley 

1-2 handfuls shredded sharp cheddar 

Cut fish into large chunks (some say bite sized, I did that but kind of wished they were bigger because they fall apart in the pie, particularly the smoked salmon)

Bring 1 cup milk and 1 cup fish broth to a simmer and add fish chunks and bay leaf – let simmer 5-10 minutes until fish is just cooked through then remove fish and set aside. Save milk/broth in pan

Chop leek and carrot into small pieces (1/2 inch or so)

In a separate large sauce pan melt butter over medium heat. Add leek and carrot and cook until soft (5-10 minutes)

Add flour to veggies and stir for 1-2 minutes

Add milk/broth to the veggie mix and stir for about 5 minutes, letting it thicken.

Remove from heat and mix in fish chunks and chopped fresh parsley. Salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 350 F

Pour filling into a deep pie pan. Smooth mashed potatoes over the filling, sprinkle libraly with cheese.

Put in the oven for 25-35 minutes

Serve hot, Eat, and Enjoy!

Friday Pie Day 1: Chicken Pot Pie – Success!

Happy Dance!!  Friday Pie Day number 1 was officially a success!  I’m just going to start right away with this picture:

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Look at that crust!!!  If my only success was creating this amazing crust I would have been happy. Actually, that’s a lie. The filling for this pie took me about 6 hours, if the filling had been bad, I would have cried. But the crust would have been almost enough, that’s how good it was.

I decided to go with a savory pie because all the pies I have failed on previously have been sweet pies. Plus, pie for dinner is awesome.

First of all, let me say this:

To anyone who decides to make this pie: If you want to eat this pie around six or seven then start this pie at 9 in the morning. Better yet, start it the day before. There were so many steps in the making of this pie that even though I started at 2:30 it wasn’t ready to eat until 8:30, and even then I put the filling in warm when the recipe said it should be chilled (causing a mini but manageable panic attack: What If This Ruins The Whole Pie!!! But it didn’t, it was fine.) Or, just don’t make your own stock, that will cut your time down about 2 hours and the pie will only a tiny bit less awesome.

*Edit* One of my readers (sister) said that even with the two hours cut off 4 hours was still a daunting amount of time for a pie. I agree. And in fact I think that now that I have made it once, if I were to make it again and use a pre-made stock it would take closer to 1.5-2 hours, and that includes the 45 minute bake time. I took an extra long time the first time because I was trying to get it perfect and there were lots of things involved that I had never done before. Either way, if it had been bad, I would have cried *End Edit*

This time around I made the pie exactly as the recipe instructed (besides that “cool the filling” part, but let’s just pretend that it didn’t need to be that cold. I did let it sit in the fridge for 6 minutes while the oven heated up after all.)

So here we go. I don’t think I’m allowed to just write out the exact recipe I used from How to Build A Better Pie by Millicent Souris, (and it was super confusing the way she wrote it anyway, so I wouldn’t even want to) but many of the steps were pretty much classic things you can find simply by googling – For example googling “how to make chicken stock” gives This Recipe as a top result, which is very similar to the one I used. I’m sure any tried and true stock recipe would work.

The first thing I did was make the crust, because it needed to chill anyway – the colder the better. I did an all butter crust and it was delicious. It was a basic 2 crust recipe but it had 3 teaspoons kosher salt! I’ve never seen a recipe with that much salt. It was delicious and perfect for this savory pie, but next time I might only use 2.

But the real difference between this amazing crust and my usual crappy crusts (I think) came from how she explained to mix the ingredients. Well, Mix is probably the wrong word, more like “push” and “smash”.

CRUST

Mix the dry ingredients together with your hands.

Cut the COLD butter into 1/4 inch cubes.

Put the cubes in the dry ingredients and toss together gently with your fingers. 

Once they are coated in dry ingredients use your fingers to go around and smash the little cubes. Don’t totally demolish them, just smash them. And try to keep them cool, so don’t hold them for too long or handle them too much.

This is what my dough looked like before I added the water, see all the little butter balls still in there?

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Once you’ve smashed all the butter balls pour half the water (1/4 c) around the edge of the bowl and then use a fork to PUSH ingredients into the middle from the outsides. Just keep pushing, not mixing, not stirring, pushing. Add the rest of the water (1/4 c) and push the together again.

With crusts the less you touch and work the dough the flakier and better the crust will be in the end – touch it just enough to get the ingredients to stick together – no more than that!

Then add water by the teaspoon until it holds together and is not sticky but is not too dry. (haha, so simple right?) Sometimes this might just mean having wet fingers when you form your crust balls, that could be all the extra water it needs.

There should be big chunks of butter in your crust dough. Check mine out:

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All balled up and ready to go in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Next I made a chicken stock from an almost 5 pound chicken and all the usual chicken stock veggies: carrot, celery, onion.

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At this point I had taken the chicken out, pulled off the meat, and put the carcass back in. After I strained this, it was a delicious stock.

I then got to work on the gravy (a “dirty blond” rue of 6 T butter and 6 T flour, heavy cream, white wine, and stock)

Gave the rough chop veggies their initial stove top cook (onions first, then add the carrots, celery, potato, and peas until soft/warm)

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When the gravy was nice and thick I add all the veggies, chicken, and gravy together. -Tada! the insides are done!

Roll out the dough (roll 1, turn the dough 1/4 circle, roll 1, turn 1/4 until flat – hardly even push down, just roll over the top – remember, the less it is touched and pushed around the better) Then lay it in the pan. Place pie bird (This is the first time I’ve used one. I guess it helps release the steam, I think it’s supposed to make the bottom crust crisp. My bottom crust was perfect so I guess it worked! Also, pie birds are totally adorable)

imageCheck out those butter blobs! That sure made one delicious, flakey crust!

Add filling, put on top crust, image

Pinch the crusts together, cut slits in the top crust, and put in the oven for 45 minutes. Put some tin foil under, mine dripped and smoked.

Then take out the amazing pie full of delicousness and love and eat it! Yuuuum!

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It was perfect. I will definitely make this pie again although next time I will use a pre-made stock which will make it way more manageable time wise.

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Sorry I didn’t get a great picture of it cut open, we were so hungry and ready to start eating!

Over all I could not be more happy with the way this pie turned out. So much so that I’m already anxious for next Friday to get here! More Pie! More Pie!

I Love Friday Pie Day!!  You should do it too and tell us your pie making stories.

Next week will be a sweet pie! See you then.