Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Pot pie with Sweet Potato Dumplings / Biscuits

File:SweetPotato.jpgWhen you want a chicken pot pie but are a) you only have one frozen pie crust (or don’t want to fuss with a top crust), and can’t even think of a b), why not make this EASY sweet-potato-dumpling topped version instead? 

(if you are enthused by this idea, see also this post about putting cornbread on top of chili)

You don’t even have to use meat! 

Putting a quick bread on TOP of a moist, savoury dish (whether it’s meat or dairy or even vegan, as I have been known to do with roasted root vegetables and tofu) compensates for all the downsides of quick breads – namely that they tend to dry out quickly and be less full-bodied in flavour, while lacking the exquisite texture of true breads.  Baked on top of a yummy filling – whether you have a bottom crust or not – the quick bread (dumplings, cornbread, beer bread or any quick bread you like) stay moist, absorb flavour, and add texture and substance to round out a meal.

(Technicality:  FYI, “quick bread” is the term used to describe any non-yeasted bread, including soda-risen breads, fruit/veggie breads like banana or zucchini loaf, coffee cakes and the ilk)

The only catch with this recipe is advance planning:  you’ll need to bake the sweet potato ahead of time.  To get two cups of mush, you could use one very large sweepo or two mediumish ones.  Scrub them up, poke them repeatedly with a skewer (save the skewer!), stick them in the oven at any temperature (350-400) and poke them after an hour, then every half an hour until they’re soft all the way through.  Allow to cool, then peel and mash.  If you haven’t planned ahead, you can microwave the sweepo – scrub, poke, place on a plate with a paper towel and nuke it for 10 minutes, then check every 4 minutes until it’s done.

Here’s the recipe for the dumplings.  It’s really just a quick biscuit dough, but I like the fact that it contains so much sweet potato – yummy and better for you that way:

Sweet Potato Dumplings / Biscuits on a Pot Pie

(recipe makes enough to put half on a pot pie and bake half as 6-7 freeform biscuits on the side)

What you’ll need:

  • 2 cups sweepoes, mashed (see above)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp table salt (don’t use kosher salt for small quantities like this, but if you must, cut it in half)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetable oil (you could use half or all butter for a yummy dairy version if you wanted)

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Fill a homemade or frozen pie crust in any way you like – veggies, chicken, whatever you want inside, with any sauce or seasoning you enjoy. (*see below)
  3. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl.
  4. Add oil to mashed sweet potatoes, then add dry ingredients and stir until mixed (don’t beat or overmix, but there shouldn’t be any white clumps left).
  5. Drop dough in generous tablespoons onto your pot pie, using another tablespoon to help.  Cover most of the surface, leaving some openings.
  6. Drop remaining dough by tablespoons onto a cookie sheet or baking pan lined with parchment.
  7. Bake biscuits for 15 - 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  8. Bake pot pie an additional 15-20 minutes until golden brown and sizzling.

I wasn’t going to include the pot pie filling recipe, because it’s not really a recipe, but I thought it might be helpful to somebody.  Please accept this in the spirit of “take it and run with it and play with it” rather than as strict, literal instructions.  :-)

* Pot pie filling – Meat or Vegetarian:

Here’s what I used last night:

  • Onion
  • Frozen veggies (any:  I had tail ends of beans, peas, corn, broccoli, spinach, and a bag of mixed veggies)
  • Cooked chicken or turkey (I had a frozen baggie of chicken saved from making soup over Pesach.  It was NOT a big baggie – you don’t need much.)
  • If you prefer a vegetarian/vegan version, roast a bunch of root vegetables along with some cut-up (extra-firm) tofu and substitute those (you can add beans, too) where I mention chicken below; use pareve soup mix or storebought veggie broth instead of chicken soup.
  • A few tbsp of flour
  • Wine (white is probably best, but I had zinfandel) – splash or more, to your own preference.
  • Chicken broth, leftover chicken soup, or water / soup mix.
  • Salt, pepper to taste.

What I did:

Fried onion until translucent, then added frozen veggies.  Stirred until veggies had just thawed, then added chicken.  Stirred just until chicken started to thaw, sprinkled with flour and stirred for a while.  Added wine, stirred it a bit, added soup, and simmered gently until thickened.  Seasoned with salt & pepper to taste – and it was done!  This was maybe 10-15 minutes minutes, start to finish.

(sweet potato image © Petr Kratochvil, c/o Wikimedia)

Wish I’d taken pictures, but you’ll have to take my word for it that this looked and smelled amazing coming out of the oven…

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