Ya know how sometimes you can just surprise yourself at how good something turns out?

That is exactly how I felt tonight with the Beef Pot Pie!  It came out G-O-O-D!

Surprisingly good.  And made all the better because it wasn’t what I had originally planned for dinner!  Well…  mostly.  I had planned the pot pie, but I was going to go easy on myself and use frozen puff pastry for the crust.  Except…  when I got home and looked in the freezer, there wasn’t any puff pastry in there.  Oh well.

My first thought was to make a half-batch of pie dough and just do a top crust.  But I immediately threw out that idea in favor of a two-crust pot pie.  Two crusts really is the way Mother Nature intended a pot pie to be, after all.

I used a braising pan just slightly larger than the casserole I was filling because I wanted to try and contain myself.  Soups and stews and the like tend to grow under my tutelage.  They easily swell to the size of the vessel they inhabit – and can often require larger quarters.

Tonight, I just wanted to make enough for the pot pie.  And I almost succeeded.

I cubed about 3/4 pound of beef from a top round and dredged it in a mixture of flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  I then browned it all very well in about a tablespoon of bacon fat.  Yes, bacon fat.  Remember those BLT’s yesterday?  I save my bacon fat as did my mother before me and her mother before her.  I never throw it away.

But I digress…

After the meat was browned I deglazed the pan with a cup of coffee.  As I scraped up the bits of fond in the pan, I knew I was on to something,  It smelled great.  Into the pan went a quart of beef broth and I brought it all to a boil and then let it simmer for about 30 minutes.

Next into the pan went about a cup of chopped celery and 6 red-skinned potatoes that I quartered. mIt simmered for about another 15 minutes and then I added about a half-bag of frozen mixed vegetables.  Frozen mixed vegetables are the perfect soup, stew, and pot pie ingredient.  I always have a bag or two in the freezer.

When the potatoes were just about done, I made a paste of the leftover dredging flour and a bit of water and thickened the filling a bit.  No exact measurement, here.  I probably had a third of a cup of seasoned flour before adding the water and possibly used half of it to thicken.  It’s a judgment thing.  Don’t add it all at once.

I spooned it into the crust-lined dish, added the top crust, brushed it with egg, cut steam slits, and put it into a 425° oven for 45 minutes.

I used my favorite pie crust recipe but I didn’t add the sugar and used all all-purpose flour.  It was light, buttery, flaky, and just the perfect crust.  (Why I bought that frozen crust the other day…..)

The perfect dinner and Victor is now in the kitchen making macadamia nut-orange biscotti…

Life is good.