In today's age of upscale this and that, nothing could be more old fashioned than a pot pie. Dullsville. Dowdy. Especially those frozen ones. Eating them is like a scavenger hunt. Find the carrots, find the peas.
It's time to resurrect, and improve, the pot pie, and this Express Lane recipe is a beginning. First, it uses scallops instead of chicken or beef. Second, it is chock full of vegetables (carrots and peas, so as not to break at least one tradition), and third, it uses the time-saving invention of frozen puff pastry for a top crust. In addition, it is enlivened with curry powder to raise the food from its bland reputation.
In fact, the puff pastry method can be used as a starting point for other quick pot pies. Along the same seafood theme, use oysters instead of scallops and substitute the oyster liquor for 1/4 cup of the milk. Or use cubes of veal or pieces of cooked cornish game hen. In the vegetable category, expand from carrots and peas to broccoli and red peppers or mushrooms and shallots. Depending on your choice of meat and vegetables, spike the mixture with cayenne or cumin, oregano or thyme.
Your Express Lane shopping basket need only contain seven ingredients to free you from boring pot pies forever. And all you'll need at home is flour, butter, salt and pepper.
EXPRESS LANE LIST: puff pastry, peas, carrots, scallions, curry powder, milk, scallops. SCALLOP PIE (6 servings)
17 1/4-ounce box frozen puff pastry
3/4 cup cooked carrots, sliced thinly
1/2 cup cooked peas
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup chopped scallions
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 cups cold milk
1 pound scallops
Salt and pepper to taste
Remove one sheet of puff pastry from freezer ( 1/2 pound) and allow to defrost for 20 minutes. Do not unwrap or unravel it. While pastry is defrosting, prepare filling.
Boil the carrots. Cook the peas. Melt butter in a saucepan. Add scallions and saute' until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Add flour and curry powder and cook until smooth, 2 minutes. Add milk all at once and stir until smooth. Cook over medium high heat until sauce reaches a boil and thickens, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, remove from heat and stir in cooked carrots and peas and uncooked scallops. Place mixture in an ungreased 9-inch pie plate.
Carefully unwrap the sheet of puff pastry. On a very lightly floured work surface, roll the pastry gently to remove fold creases. Place on top of pie plate. Trim the pastry by running a knife around the outside edge of the plate.
Bake in a 450-degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until pastry is lightly browned, crisp and flaky.