Biscuit Pie

Sometimes I want to make something only to realize that I either can’t remember the recipe or I am missing something to make it. Sometimes that combination leads to to experiment and that experiment really works.

img_2138A few years back I became obsessed with savory pies, especially the chicken, ham and leek pie we had in England. I made a few versions of it and they always came out well, but not exactly the same. Since then I’ve reduced my meat intake considerably, to the point where I eat almost none. Every now and then, especially when the weather gets cooler, I kind of want the comfort food aspect that a lot of meat dishes can give. With that in mind, I decided to do a chicken, ham and leek pie again, but this time, I decided I wanted biscuits on it. Yes, biscuits.

img_2139I started this with a vegetarian base so I could split the filling and have a vegetarian version for later in the week. Leek, onion, shallot, garlic and carrot. Then I made the sauce because, as we all know, the sauce is the best part of any savory pie. A little wine, some heavy cream, vegetable stock and it became perfection. After splitting the filling, I dded the meat and topped with buttermilk biscuit dough (yes, homemade and darn delicious I must say).

img_2140The results were pretty fantastic. Light and savory biscuits with the rich sauce and you have comfort food heaven. I’m actually super excited to cook up the vegetarian version this week as I think it will be just as good without the meat. Maybe better.



  • 1 pat butter
  • 1 leek, white and light green parts
  • 1/4 sweet onion
  • 1 small shallot
  • 2 smallish cloves garlic
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1/4 cup white wine (I used a moscato this go)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 chicken breast plus one chicken thigh
  • 4 oz. ham
  • buttermilk biscuits (I used this recipe from Girl versus dough – incredible and easy!)

To cook the chicken, heat pan over medium high heat. Add chicken breast and thigh and enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Cover and cook until cooked through, about fifteen minutes. Remove from heat and leave covered for a few minutes then transfer to plate to cool. Shred chicken with two forks.

Dice ham.

Heat oven to 425 degrees

Chop leeks, onion, shallot and carrots into a small to medium dice. Mince garlic. Heat pan with 1 pat of butter (about a half a tablespoon) over medium heat and add vegetables and garlic. Sauté until softened and aromatic. Season with a little salt and pepper. Add thyme and cook for about one minute, stirring frequently. Add wine and stir. Let the wine evaporate a little then add 1 cup of cream. Add flour (or arrowroot or cornstarch for no gluten, but with the biscuits … just use flour) to vegetable stock, stir and add to vegetables. Increase heat to medium high. Allow to cook for a few minutes until bubbling, then reduce heat to medium and let thicken and slightly reduced. (This is where I split the filling, keeping half totally vegetarian and adding the meat to the other half). Add chicken and ham and stir to combine.

Pour filling into an 8×11 pan and top with biscuit dough. Place, uncovered, into the oven for 20-25 minutes until biscuits are cooked through (mine took 23 minutes). Remove from oven and let rest for about five minutes, then serve. I served mine with a kale salad and it was comfort food bliss.

Cranberry Curd Pie

I have a few days off and am caught up with school. Since this is a rare event, I decided to experiment in the kitchen a little and decided, as a nod to the holiday, to make a cranberry curd pie that I saw a recipe for. When I shared it with Val, she also got excited by it, but I ended up making it first. I didn’t follow the recipe exactly, but close enough that I will still say it is the NYT recipe.

I started with the basic ingredients – cranberries, oranges and sugar. Since I love clementines and they are now in season, I have a bag of the on the counter, so I used two for this recipe. I picked up some beautiful cranberries at the store and cooked the zest and juice of the clementines with the cranberries and some sugar to make the base of the curd. One review said to not cook them down much, but I was fussing with the pie crust and ended up cooking it a little long. It still worked. img_2133

I used the mesh sieve method and strained the juice to make a really smooth curd. Here is where things started to get tricky. It took a while to strain the cranberry mixture. Probably more time than the author of the recipe intended, so it was pretty much room temperature when I finished. This does not lend itself to incorporating butter into the curd, so I returned it to the stove and stirred in the butter, one pat at a time, over low heat. It worked. The butter didn’t melt, but it did incorporate into the curd just fine. I took it off the heat, stirred a little more then added the eggs. The whole thing went into an oil based crust that I made (decided to skip the rice flour crust as I couldn’t find hazelnuts anyway) and then I baked it – slightly longer than there recipe said, but it wasn’t setting so an extra three minutes were in order. I made some whipped cream (new secret for whipped cream – use powdered sugar instead of regular granulated sugar. Super smooth and it helps stabilize the peaks) for the top and that was that. My arm hurt after the straining part, but still easier than the French Silk pie. img_2135

The results were delicious and I don’t say something I made was really good often. I usually find fault with it, but I can’t really find fault with this pie. Yes, it was suppose to be a tart, but I don’t have a tart pan. Yes, it should have a different crust, but this one worked out fine. Yes, it could have been a little fuller, but it didn’t need to be fuller. With this pie you get the tart of the cranberry, an undertone of lemon (without any lemon in the pie) and a clean flavor that is really nice after a meal. This probably won’t replace cranberry sauce at the holiday table, but it should. It really should.

On the pet front … Tigger, Leia and Arthas are all doing well. Arthas is up to two miles for his morning walk, and he is starting to ask to go for walks. He doesn’t bounce around like Jessie did, but he goes to the front door or to where my shoes are and he gets a little excited when he hears his leash. He is getting better with the cats, and they with him. We had a point of contention recently where Leia was on the couch when he wanted to go to sleep, but other than that, they are wonderful. I stopped by the shelter to donate some food I had gotten for Gracie (the other two won’t eat it) and they were super happy to see how well he is doing. As one volunteer put it, he just needed a chance to be a dog.

They really are good babies. I still miss Jessie and Gracie and Gracie’s loss is still really raw, but we are getting there. Tigger has become very affectionate recently and Leia continues to be the puppy cat she is – greeting us at the door, laying on laps etc.

Recipe Cranberry Curd Pie:

  • 12 oz. cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • juice and zest of one orange (or two clementines)
  • 1 stick (4 oz) butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks

Use your favorite pie crust – it will be fine. I pre-baked mine for ten minutes, just to set it.

Combine the cranberries, sugar and orange (zest and juice) into a sauce pan and cook on medium heat until cranberries pop and begin to break down. Stir often to prevent sugar from burning.

Preheat oven to 350 if not already heated from the pie crust.

Once cooked down, strain the mixture through a sieve or use a blender/immersion blender, to puree. If not warm after straining, return to heat for a few minutes, stirring frequently, then add butter, one tablespoon at a time, until fully incorporated. If mixture is hot, temper the cranberry mixture into the eggs then add eggs into cranberry curd and stir well to combine. (I didn’t temper here because the cranberries were fairly cool at this stage) Pour into pie crust and bake at 350 degrees for ten plus minutes to set. I cooked mine for thirteen minutes until the outer curd was set, then let it cool on the stove to set the rest of the curd.

Whipped Cream:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon (heaping) powdered sugar

Mix cream and vanilla together and beat with mixer on medium to high speed until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar and continue mixing until stiff peaks form. Cover and chill until ready to serve.



Fall Fix Up

In Jersey, the big yard work happens in the spring. Spring clean up. I spent a number of years avoiding doing yard work each spring (and raking leaves every fall) but now I’m the homeowner and I can’t avoid the yard work more than every other year.

In part as a distraction from Gracie and school and work and part just because it was necessary and the estimate to pay someone to do it was way too high, I spent the last two weekends cleaning out debris from the bushes and mulching. A lot of mulching. 11 lawn and leaf bags of debris (leaves, twigs, etc) and 46 bags of mulch later it’s done. Yes.  46 bags.  All hauled in my little car. But I have to admit, it looks pretty good.

We did have someone trim and clean up the trees. Those I can’t do myself and they really needed it. But the yard is done and I think I can now ignore it again for at least a year.

My garden is having mixed success. The hot pepper didn’t make it, nor did the lavender plant. My thyme is trying to hang in there, but it doesn’t look good. The kale is great. The kale looks wonderful and I am anticipating a great kale pesto soon. The rosemary is good and the oregano also looks great. My tomatoes … well, two plants are clearly dead but and the other two look interesting, but I have baby tomatoes.

img_2053Last count there were twenty baby tomatoes on these two plants. I’m trying to make sure they get water, but not too much water and birds don’t get to them. I’m anticipating a nice little sandwich with kale pesto and garden tomatoes and basil. If I could figure our how to make my own mozzarella (I could but it looks like it takes the and precision so I’ll just buy that part) I’d have a totally home grown sandwich.

The pets are doing well. Arthas made it two miles on his morning walk today! He was a tired little puppy at about 1.5 miles, but he did meander back the rest of the way. Leia and Tigger are getting use to not having Gracie around, and they are still super cute. I love the picture above because it really shows the size differential, but they are still super cute.

I need a day off from my weekend, but there are two more weeks before the holiday. Happy November!