Pot Piety

Probably the single best thing about a garden in summer is that if there are even a couple of pantry staples in the house the question “what’s for dinner?” becomes a reason to smile rather than worry. In this case, with some leftover lentil soup and half a recipe of pie crust in the fridge, a sumptuous and exalted pot pie was brought into being on short notice. I took a little hunk of salt pork- just to give the bacon a break, you understand; I can stop any time I want to- and sizzled it, then added garlic, then oil and flour for a roux, then more of the BBQ chicken broth, and then a host of gardeny goodness: turnips, golden beets, baby red onions, zucchini, pak choi, peas, carrots (in three colors) and a panoply of herbs.

Now if I had simply reworked the lentil soup with the extra veggies and broth, I could have expected a reaction from wife and child not unlike a that which a bucket of grilled weasels hoisted (grinning, if in a strained way) from the trunk of a stolen Chevy Nova would have elicited. But this is where the crust comes in. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: my Grandmother’s pie crust is the best in the business, period. Ask anybody who has eaten of my tarts (sweet or savory) and they will attest to the sublime, buttery, ne plus ultra perfection of this crust. I could stamp coins out of it and they would be worth more than money. Drape this crust over your half-assed leftover vegetable soup, throw it in the oven for 40 minutes, and all of a sudden you’re the MAN. Throw in a bottle of pink, girly, Raffault Chinon rosé- with its gorgeous balance of the red fruit and delicate grip against tart acid and reasonable alcohol (12.5%) and all of a sudden you’re not so much a man as a sensitive yet still masculine person who everyone can agree is worth having around, and also really really desirable.

5 comments to Pot Piety

  • cookiecrumb

    I don’t suck at pie crust… but
    “half a recipe of pie crust in the fridge”…
    you da man.

  • Heather

    Does your gramma’s pie crust have leaf lard? That’s the one thing that was missing from our pig. They kept the kidneys in there, but stripped the leaf lard! Those bastards.

    I’m almost ready to start my onslaught of cornucopic garden posts, but I’m still working through the greens after a very cold spring.

  • peter

    CC: Each batch makes enough for two tarts, so I was lucky to have it.

    Heather: It’s lard-free, and still perfect.

    Was your pig up on blocks when you found it? Didn’t it have an alarm?

  • cook eat FRET

    pie crust is the nemesis of my culinary universe.

    it’s too hard to get all the elements just right.

    if you were a standup guy we’d get the recipe. even though i doubt i’d take it on unless i was feeling particularly masochistic.

  • peter

    Claudia: I’m torn between my non-standupness and my desire to read an expletive-filled post from you describing your attempt to make it.

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I'm a painter who happens to also spend a lot of time growing, making, and writing about food. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of frugal peasant cooking techniques and haute improvisation. And I have a really great personality.

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