Week 4: Pot Pie-A-Palooza

The Week 4 box arrived containing strawberries, raspberries, sugar snap peas, turnips, red onions, fennel, cilantro, baby lettuce, and Swiss chard. We made a few simple salads out of the fennel and the baby lettuce, and being fairly exhausted, we were determined to pick simple recipes for the week for everything else. In a shocking turn of events for readers of this blog everywhere, that didn’t actually happen.

Beef Stir-Fry with Sugar Snap Peas

We chose a simple beef stir-fry for the sugar snap peas. It involves making a marinade and a sauce that are largely the same thing, but not quite. To make the marinade, You take 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp sugar, 1 tsp rice wine, 1/2 tsp sesame oil,  and 1/2 tsp cornstarch and combine it with a pound of flank steak, thinly sliced against the grain.

For the stir-fry sauce, you mix 2 TB dark soy sauce, 2 TB rice wine, 1/4 cup chicken stock, 1/4 cup oyster sauce, and 2 TB sugar, 1/2 toasted sesame oil, and 1 tsp cornstarch. Then you heat some vegetable oil in a wok, stir-fry half of the beef for about a minute, set it aside, and cook the other half of the beef.

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Then you wipe out the wok and add a pound of snap peas, follow by 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 tsp ginger, and a minced scallion. Then return the beef to the wok, and add the sauce and cook it until it’s thickened and everything is coated, about a minute.

We served it over rice and it was delicious. I’m not a huge fan of sugar snap peas, but covered in sauce and slightly browned they were exactly what I wanted.

CSA ingredients used: sugar snap peas

Other ingredients used: beef, soy sauce, sesame oil, oyster sauce, rice wine, cornstarch, sugar, salt, chicken stock, rice

Pancetta, White Bean, and Chard Pot Pies

While looking for creative things to do with Swiss chard (Andrew, for reasons incomprehensible to me, doesn’t like to eat it), we came across a recipe from Smitten Kitchen for little pot pies. This is a prime example of a recipe that I became completely convinced was a great idea, only to discover that it was in fact not a great idea at all. My reasoning was that after week of weather in the high 80s and 90, suddenly it was 60 degrees in Chicago and we should take advantage of this by using our oven. If it had been 40 degrees in Chicago, this probably would have been a great idea. Also, I was completely charmed by these cute pictures of little pot pies, and very excited that I happened to have baking dishes of the appropriate size.

Luckily, I had enough sense to break the project out over several days.

The first step was to make the dough. For this step, you mix 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon of table salt, and 13 TB butter together in a large bowl using a pastry blender (I was excited to discover we had one of these, although I’m sure I’ve tried to throw it out 1000 times on some kitchen purge or both before Andrew stopped me). You’re supposed to mix this all together until it looks like couscous (??). In another bowl, combine 6 TB sour cream, 1 TB white wine vinegar, and 1/4 cup of water. Stir everything together until it forms a dough, wrap it in plastic, and put it in the refrigerator.

The next day I made the filling. To do this, you heat 1 TB olive oil in a large frying pan. Add 4 oz diced pancetta and cook it until browned, about 10 minutes. Remove the pancetta using a slotted spoon and let it drain on a paper towel. Then add a diced onion, some diced carrot, and a few diced celery stalks to the pan filled with pork fat. After about 8 minutes, add a garlic clove and cook for another minute. Then add the thinly sliced Swiss chard and cook for about 3 minutes. Pour everything into a bowl, add the pancetta to the bowl, and put it all in the refrigerator for when you’re ready to assemble everything.

Having done all of that, it was starting to get warm again and we definitely did not feel like baking or eating pot pies. At a certain point it became clear the weather was just going to keep getting hotter, and I needed to just make them and put them in the freezer for October.

Saturday night I finally assembled the pot pies. First you make a roux: melt 3 1/2 TB butter in a saucepan. Add 3 1/2 TB flour and mix it around. Cook the roux for a bit until it starts to get some color. Then add 3 1/2 cups of chicken broth one ladle-full at a time, stirring to incorporate it before you add any more. Once all the broth is in there, you can bring it to a boil and let it reduce for about 10 minutes. Add the white beans and the bowl of vegetables and pancetta from before.

Now you split the mixture evenly between four oven-proof bowls. Then you split the dough into four parts, roll it out, and put it over the pot pies.

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I left them out while I was waiting for them to cool before putting them in the refrigerator, and when I came back into the kitchen I discovered that a cat had decided to help himself to some.

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Odin expressed an interest in the chicken broth, pancetta, butter, and sour cream specifically.

CSA ingredients used: Swiss chard, onions

Other ingredients used: flour, butter, sour cream, white wine vinegar, pancetta, carrots, celery, chicken broth, white beans.

Ultimately, I did end up making one and eating it, mostly because I didn’t have anything else to eat and I was ravenous. It was undeniably delicious, but also somewhat overwhelmingly rich – the sour cream in the dough along with the thicker-than-average homemade chicken broth made it so that I could only eat a few bites before I was full. I did have it for lunch for the next two days.

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Mojo De Cilantro

Amazingly, the cilantro (which we forgot about) survived an entire week in the refrigerator, something I have never known grocery store cilantro to do. As I was heading out to a party (my bridal shower, actually) I made a quick cilantro sauce to bring along (tacos were on the menu). The sauce is 4 cloves of garlic, a bunch of cilantro, 1/4 tsp cumin, 3/4 tsp salt, 1/2 cup olive oil, a few TB water, and a splash of sherry vinegar (I used white wine).

CSA ingredients used: cilantro

Other ingredients used: garlic, cumin, salt, olive oil, water, white wine vinegar

I couldn’t say what it tasted like because I ate it on tacos along with a bunch of other things, but it sure was beautiful.

Lime Pickled Red Onions

We were running low on our pickled onions from earlier in the summer and also vegetable drawer space, so I decided to make a new batch. For these, I used lime juice instead of vinegar. You slice up some red onions, cover them with lime juice, add 1 1/2 tsp of salt and let them sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour. When you take them out, they’re pink!

CSA ingredients used: red onions

Other ingredients used: lime juice, salt

Next: Week 5

 

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